Here at Aspire-international we have long been involved with the Academia programme, which allows careers advisors from across Europe to take part in week long study visits to another European country. As part of this, we welcomed 13 professionals to Yorkshire last week for the UK visit.
The advisors came from Latvia, Germany, France, Finland and Portugal and worked in both schools and public labour offices. The agenda for the week was designed to provide participants with a wide ranging overview of careers guidance in the UK. However at the same time we are proud of the fact that Aspire-international is a Yorkshire-based company, and so the visit also provided us with an opportunity to showcase the best which the region has to offer (not that we ever need an excuse!).
After an introductory day in Leeds hosted by our very own Mick Carey (Director of Specialised Guidance at Aspire-igen), the group spent Tuesday at the University of Huddersfield. In the morning Trish Whittle, who is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Education and Professional Studies, introduced the group to the different qualifications the University offers in careers guidance, as well as the different career paths course alumni have followed. We were then welcomed by Stephen Boyd and his team at the University’s careers centre, as the group heard about the different programmes and provisions provided to both current students and graduates of Huddersfield.
Wednesday was spent in Bradford as the group learnt about different initiatives which look to provide guidance, support and training for younger people. This included hearing from Tricia Farren about Aspire-igen’s Shine service for schools, as well as learning more about the engagement and training activities of the aspire2work programme. The day was completed with a visit to the aspire2work motor vehicle maintenance centre to see the training in action.
No trip to Yorkshire is complete without visiting York. Therefore Thursday was spent at the National Careers Service in the city. Participants heard about the work of the National Careers Service across Yorkshire. They were also introduced to the unique challenges and needs facing the team working across North Yorkshire. The afternoon was then spent exploring the city’s sights (and cafes!).
The close of the visit on Friday allowed everyone time to reflect on what they had seen and how this compared to their home systems for careers guidance. Many were shocked by the growing privatisation and commercialisation of the UK system, fearing the impact such a move could have in their own countries. Yet at the same time participants agreed that they had all seen interesting and innovative work throughout the week which was making a difference across the region.
We were glad to hear so many positive views about both Yorkshire and the careers guidance sector in the region and look forward to welcoming next year’s cohort of advisors…