Last week I attended the ‘Introduction to Guidance Interviewing’ residential at Warwick, delivered by AGCAS*. This does not form part of my PG Diploma, but is a good introductory session prior to enrolling (hopefully!) onto the Advanced Guidance Skills module towards the end of my CEIGHE, and AGCAS deliver many of the residentials within the CEIGHE.
I found this introductory course to be an incredibly positive learning experience, and a great opportunity to explore and reflect on how I currently support students in my work.
The course was split into two days. We were a group of six, all engaged in different HE Careers service roles. The first day covered a range of information, such as career theories and models of guidance interviewing. Through role play in the group we were able to start putting new skills to the test. On day two we then each carried out a recorded, and group observed, one-to-one 30 minute guidance interview with a current University of Warwick student, bringing their real concerns and questions to the conversation.
The course was beneficial for reflecting on my current support to students, for testing my interest in more in-depth guidance interviewing, and for the opportunity to network with others involved in HE Careers work.
The course made me reflect on how I currently speak with students, and my dominant focus to give information, a drive to provide practical steps for a student to take in securing a placement. This can be helpful for placements, as students often request suggestions on how to improve their placement prospects, and they have a time limit within the year on securing a role. However, it may not always give a cautious or less confident student time, or the sense that it is a space in which they can, unravel deeper concerns or questions surrounding work experience. It becomes easy to view the placement year as a short-lived early experience of working life. However, at that time in a student’s journey a placement year can be a very big decision. Some students have never worked before, some may have never experienced a world outside of home and education. Jumping into a full-time role where their degree knowledge is put to the test, the student is faced with the learning curve of work etiquette and culture, and a whole new routine. Whilst some students throw themselves into the recruitment process and their subsequent placement experience, it can be easy to overlook that a student who seems less engaged about applying for placements may have deeper worries about work experience that they feel nervous to express. Some students may also find it hard to see the placement year in isolation, placing pressure onto themselves about what it means for the bigger picture of their graduate hopes, rather than seeing it as a positive opportunity to gain experience, and learn about the working world.
The course has made me consider how I can approach differently these interactions with students, and not rush straight into information giving. I hope this will enable me to put some of the skills from this course into action, and better develop my support for students in the placement process.
In relation to my CEIGHE, the course was a confidence boost that I am interested in guidance support to students on their career development and awareness. Spending time around students who are looking at placements to gain wider insight and understanding of an area of work, I feel in turn this two-day course provided me with a similar opportunity to gain some insight into different ways of working.
*The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (www.agcas.org.uk)
About the author
Rose Leek is a paid blogger for CLL.
I relocated back near my hometown last year in Surrey, after a decade living near the sea in East Kent. I work in a University Employability & Careers Centre, assisting engineering and science students onto a placement year as part of their degree, and providing administrative support to their academic tutors.
I started the Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Education, Information and Guidance in Higher Education (CEIGHE) in October 2017 and am looking forward to developing a wider awareness of the service I work within, and increasing my confidence and understanding.
I have experienced a year with lots of change, and it is both exciting and daunting to be adding studying back into my life. I have never written a blog and my reasoning for doing so is the hope that it will help me to better reflect on, and share, my experience as a CEIGHE student. My course is mainly distance taught, with a few residential workshops per year. I wanted to also try to share the perspective of being a distance student, and how I will (hopefully!) learn to juggle the balance of study, work and home.
I look forward to the journey ahead!
And if all else fails, maybe the cat can do some of my studying for me?