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Institute for Employment Research GLACIER: Guidance, Learning and Careers at IER

Mountain range
Research and development activity on guidance, learning and careers at the Warwick Institute for Employment Research (IER)

There are three perspectives (or worlds) with which we engage in conducting research and development in this field.

Careers world 1: careers education and exploration

Aim: to help people understand WHAT the world of careers is about and HOW it is organised:

Work Occupation Learning Research and Development

  • Finding out more about how World of Work is organised and Common Pathways (Occupations) through it through Research (exploration and investigation) in order to inform individuals in choosing Broad Learning and Development Pathways (e.g. implications of different subject choices; value in developing certain types of experience).
  • Make broad plans for research (finding out more); learning (including using education and training pathways); and development (of skills, knowledge, understanding and experience) in practical, relational and cognitive domains; taking into account an individual's broad interests, intentions and motivation.
  • Preparing for transition and determining a broad direction – not detailed planning.
  • Developing understanding of context and developing adaptability (the ability to make multiple successful transitions in life including work rather than a single labour market transition to a chosen career).

Careers world 2: careers guidance

Aim: to help people understand WHERE they can get detailed information in order to inform career choice, job search etc.

Work Opportunity Labour Market Information (details of pay; jobs) Research and Different pathways (combinations of education, training, employment and other experiences)

  • Finding out about particular opportunities (and opportunity structures) available in particular labour markets, possibilities for work and different possible pathways to achieving career goals. Need to take account of the specific (work, family, cultural, relational) context in which they are enmeshed, but without accepting taken-for-granted life scripts. Aspirations need to be checked against current career realities (e.g. periodic collapses of recruitment in particular areas).
  • Looking for types of work people like me might do (because of opportunity structures, what is available, own qualifications etc.) and deciding on actions or projects to be undertaken. May wish to check out careers world 3 (understanding personality; reflecting on life-themes) before confirming a particular project or direction.
  • Recognising value in a deeper understanding of context as a prelude to informed action; helping establish motivation to action. Important to act and reflect and monitor changing opportunity structures. May need a variety of possible plans and ability to cope with uncertainty and change. Focus is upon development and support for a person in their context.

Careers world 3: counselling – exploring an individual's inner world

Aim: to help people reflect on WHO they are and what they want to be:

Identity Narrative Navigation Exploration Reflexiveness

Work Orientation Learning Reflection and Development

  • Supporting individual's search for meaning (sense-making; constructing narratives); can monitor where they are and have been and can energise future actions (cognitive and emotional dimension required to make it happen).
  • Finding out about individuals' biographies, narratives, stories, plots and themes as they seek to construct identities across work, learning and development trajectories across the life-span. Reflect on interests, actions and intentions.
  • Need to know your own story / biography / narrative in order to construct next scenario about possible change / transition.
  • Can deconstruct barriers, negative elements (breaking cycle of same thing over and over again)and build new visions.
  • Weave micro-narratives into new macro-narrative for those who feel they have lost or not found their way.
  • Looking to establish (or co-construct) a comprehensible, complex, coherent and connected identity narrative.
  • Clarifying projects and actions to be undertaken.
  • Ready to start a new episode as a bridge to the future.
  • Actions: self-making; identity shaping; career construction. Establishing life themes can help with motivation and commitment to take action. Examine past experiences in order to establish future perspectives.

There are four major sections to this section which focus on: 'national guidance research forum', designed to support the community all those interested in careers guidance practice; Career development research; research on learning at work; and research and development on qualifications.

Career development

This section highlights research findings in the are of career development.

National Guidance Research Forum

The overall purpose of the NGRF website is to bring practice and research closer together. This linked site enables you to join an online community which has the potential to make things happen in career guidance at all levels.

European Guidance and Counselling Research Forum

The project developed a network for guidance and counselling, supported by a linked website, to bring research and practice closer for the improvement of services to clients. The site hosted online collaborations among guidance practitioners, researchers and policy makers in six countries in Europe.

LMI Future Trends - Labour Market Information

LMI Futures Trends has labour market information on 30 sectors and broad occupational groups focusing on future changes in the labour market and skills. It has been developed in partnership with the Sector Skills Councils and brings together key research and information from leading datasets.

Joint work with ESRC TLRP to produce materials on Research Methods and Learning at Work

IER is working with the ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Programme (TLRP) in two areas: research methods and learning at work. TLRP has six distinct aims. They relate to performing and promoting excellent educational research and ensuring that it is used to enhance learning.

Comparing qualifications

This part of the site outlines work being carried out with the five qualification authorities in the UK and Ireland on Comparing Qualifications between countries. As well as containing links to national developments the site also references the European Qualifications Framework.

September 2009: TLRP / IER commentary published on Higher Skills Development at Work.