Why are things never as easy or quick as you think they will be? A few months ago, I took on ‘responsibility’ for updating the occupational pages on the career development pages. These are meant to be a starting point for exploring career options.
This came about because my colleague Vicky changed roles slightly and it was agreed that I was probably the most suitable person to pick it up.
So initially, all I’ve been able to do is check the links are working and remove any that aren’t. Links are shared via EMJIG (East Midlands Joint Information Group meetings (I have my first meeting at Loughborough University on Monday).
These occupational pages have been (and still are!) a great resource, don’t get me wrong, but I feel that we might be ready for a change. At the minute, I think they are far too long and I worry that students might be put off by the sheer amount of information on there. Have a look at the existing information for Administration.
Administration alone is split up into five sub sections. I’m just not convinced that’s necessary when you bear in mind that these resources are meant to be used for the first steps in career planning.
So, I thought I’d have a look at giving them a makeover. Matt and I met about it and started brainstorming what we could do. (Sorry, should that be ‘thought shower’ now!!) It was then I realised that to really make a difference with how these are used, it wasn’t going to be a quick job.
Matt and I talked about re-defining the sectors. The way we have it split up does have it’s downfalls. We have an industry sector for ‘Scientific Services.’ Would most students know what that includes? Another example is having different categories for ‘Finance’ and ‘Insurance and Pensions.’ It would seem more logical, to me, to have an industry sector for anything related to banking and/or finance.
However, every system of classification I have seen has its downfalls. Prospects for example have ‘Hospitality, tourism and sport’ and a separate ‘Public Sector.’
Surely there must be roles which could be considered to fall into more than one sector? The way I decided that we need to look at it is ‘where would a student look first?’ So, for example, working as a gym instructor in a council owned gym, could be described as ‘Public sector,’ but the point is that most students would probably look under ‘hospitality, tourism and sport’ first of all.
As we were talking about this and how we could cut down on the number of resources under each sector, Martin Pennington, (#martinwhoisnotontwitter) our Executive Administrator, who has previously worked in career development, said something along the lines of ‘Tell me to butt out, but why are you re-inventing the wheel? Graduate Prospects already has this information, all clearly defined, with industry information and further resources.’ We went silent for a minute and then said ‘yes, yes they do.’
Then we sat and stared at the screen for a bit.
So, what we’ve decided is that we don’t just want to link to Prospects and do nothing else. I don’t feel that would be any real improvement. What we’re currently thinking is to have a page for each sector (as defined by Prospects) and link to them for information on industry insights etc, but also make the page much more interactive and push traffic back to the Student Development pages. So we’re thinking about including links to the Alumni case studies for that particular sector. We can also link to relevant volunteering opportunities. We’re even thinking about having an RSS feed of relevant jobs posted on JOBSonline.
So we’ve done a mock up which looks really good (sorry I can’t share it yet!) and we’re going to spend next Friday morning working on this.
These pages could become much more interactive, engaging and interesting. Which has got to be better than a list, no matter how comprehensive the list might be.