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Careers Information and Advice

Career education in target language

Since September 2012 schools themselves have been responsible for procuring careers advice for their students. Many have done this well incorporating a wide range of work related activities into the densely packed curriculum; for others it may be more of an afterthought.

As language teachers, the World of Work has long been within the syllabus and we have dutifully taught the names of jobs and used (often no longer taking place) work experience as a welcome opportunity for a decent bit of conversation, it being one activity we could assume everyone had done, unlike holidays which in this part of the world are not a regular feature of young people's lives.

I have always found young people very open to discussing their potential careers and certainly the latest addition to the already excellent armoury available to French young people is one of the best pieces of multimedia I've ever seen.

Cité orientée provides a beautiful scrolling townscape interface peopled with young people carefully chosen for gender and ethnicity who talk about their dream jobs. On the interface you can also view what their parents and advisers think of their choices. The language of those I've listened to is challenging for lower grade GCSE but great for A level but so well presented a young person would want to listen to it.

The good thing about this is it that it gives the message that you do need to take other people's opinions into account when choosing your next step-but that ultimately you've got to be the final arbiter.

The excellent has also a wealth of video covering a few hundred different careers, also accessible through a graphical interface.

Planet-Berufe is the German equivalent with a snazzy Flash interface available for investigating career choices

I would emphasize here that giving information and advice is important for teachers of all subjects. Particularly younger teachers who have a big network and have ex uni colleagues with whom they are still in touch will have a good idea of what the labour market is doing;partners and spouses may be in a relevant job or career, parents with just graduated offspring will also be reasonably aware of what's going on. So we all form part of the possible information sources for the people we teach. Do find out who the careers co-ordinator or advisor is-not always that obvious! Refer on students who have confided what they would like to do and aren't sure how to go about it.

The main rule would be not to be dogmatic; the number of kids I spoke to who had been told "You'll never be a vet!" with no further conversation is frightening. The more appropriate response is "Oh so you're interested in working with animals are you. I know a good site where you can investigate that job family" eg Jobs4u (now dating but still useful) or

Ultimately talking about jobs with appropriate resources is the most authentic task you will carry out with students in the target language, especially if you manage to inspire them enough to continue studying it!

Cité orientée-interface for a specific job-clic on person to bring up video

Planet Beruf Flash interactivity for careers