The career-learning network
The network links people who are developing and using new and useful
ideas-for-action to help people develop their management of career.
this work was known by the 'double-barrelled' term careers
education and guidance; but, in 1991 Bill Law coined
the term careers work
to refer to the help offered, and career
learning to refer its outcomes. 'Careers work' is
intended to replace the older concept, with ideas which are more
diverse, generic and inclusive. It refers to an increasingly diverse
range of informational, face-to-face, recording, curriculum and
community-linked activities. Developing Connexions
programmes will require the greater depth, breadth and dynamics
that this range of activity can enable.
Furthermore, this range is also necessary to enable the management
of roles other than 'worker'. The network will, then, prove useful
to people seeking useful ideas for helping people in their 'partner',
'parenting', 'householder', 'consumer', 'voluntary' and 'citizen'
roles. All are, in people's real lives, interdependent. Indeed -
in an important underlying sense - all are aspects of a person's
'career'. In our schools and colleges all will increasingly come
into focus in Education for Citizenship
Careers-work thinking and practice, therefore, needs constantly
to be reviewed and repositioned, to keep it in line with contemporary
conditions and the changing needs of its users. Government help
- through its publications and programmes in careers work, Connexions
and citizenship - is useful. But these ideas and regimes cannot
provide sufficient bases for action; because they cannot reach to
the depth and detail of understanding, required by able and thinking
professionals, engaged in developing specific local action.
Like so much of importance in our lives, this work cannot be scripted
from the centre.
The network therefore offers a more flexible and responsive way
to develop useful ideas for action, and to support their use. Participants
in the network have - so far - been mainly providers of helping
services and their managers and consultants.
The network was instigated by Bill Law, the author of several open-learning
packs for careers workers. Notable among these is the DfES's influential
multi-module Careers Work. Other material developed by Bill
includes How to Coordinate Careers Education with Curriculum
and New Thinking for Connexions and Citizenship. This material
has been published on behalf of the network .
But the plan
now is continuously to introduce more of this kind of material into
the network - free of any charge. Information and copies of free
material have - until now - been distributed by e-mail and post.
The career-learning café
The Internet provides an accessible and flexible means of exchanging
and developing good ideas, and of turning them into appropriate
and effective practice. In particular it opens up possibilities
for a 'conversations' between the people who are professionally
engaged and other stakeholders - notably the clients and students
who careers workers seek to help. There are, of course, other stakeholders
- in government, academia and the business world. It is important
that the exchange is maintained by all these 'constituencies'. The
'cafe' concept was developed by Bill in order to realise this need
for an on going and lively exchange, which takes account of all
valid points of view.
An early version of the café - called The Global Careers
Work Café - was set up in 2001. It was introduced to
a site first developed for an on-line international academic careers
journal. However, it has not been possible to agree a partnership
with the owners of the site . The developing concept - now called
'The Career-Learning Café' - has, therefore, been transferred
to this new web address.
Although the café welcomes all valid points of view, it needs
a clear focus. That focus is on the professional helper - whether
teacher or adviser. But - in the café - the helper is addressed
in relationship with his or her clients or students. They are respectively
referred to as career workers
and career makers. There is
- as the term 'careers work' expresses - a range of activities at
that 'point-of-delivery'. Those activities are at the heart of café
conversation. Academic, professional, policy and business points
of view are there to help develop the usefulness and effectiveness
of that central exchange.
this focus the network's open-learning and support material will
be progressively introduced to the café. Included in this
will be material listed as 'game for career'. This is an interactive
learning process, in which careers workers and career makers can
use - together, individually or in groups.
Key features of all the cafe's 'point-of-delivery' material
are that they will be:
- including suitability for use in individual, large- and small-group
based on informed ideas and understanding of ongoing developments;
- with ideas and, where useful, with commissioned consultancy concerning
how the material is best used.
Career-Learning Café develops ideas for careers-work action
which are relevant to contemporary conditions, are well founded
in theory and ideology, are independent of dominant business, professional
and political pressures, and are sound enough to attract the interested
attention of the most able careers workers in our schools, colleges
and Connexions companies.
The Global Careers-Work Café and The Career-Learning
Café are the intellectual property of Dr Bill Law.
© Dr Bill Law, 2002