National Careers Week

02 March, 2020Dominic Vallier

To celebrate National Careers Week 2020, Dominic Vallier – our Head of Financial Capability Relationship Managers – considers how the world of work is changing and looks at how we can prepare young people with the right employability skills.

Graphic with National Careers Week, learning from career and labour market informationIn the build up to National Careers Week, I’ve been talking to students in schools about my own career path.

Like me at their age, over 85% of young people do not know exactly what job they want. I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. Nor did I know that this was – and still is – perfectly normal.

The careers advice I received growing up was pathetic. I had a short interview. Completed a psychometric test and was promptly told I was terrible with words and that I should consider doing something practical.

In fact, it was suggested that I become a librarian. 

My career to date has involved working in education for almost 20 years – 14 of that in the classroom.

How the world of work has changed

Careers advice has come a long way since then. Jobs for life are a thing of the past.

These days we embrace the idea that a career encompasses lots of chapters. Our lives are long, and we have plenty of chances to try different things before we find something we love.

Picking a job is no longer a decision to be made in school, not least because so many jobs of the future have not even been invented yet. One popular figure often quoted, is that 65% of children starting school today, will go on to do jobs that don’t yet exist.

So how do we prepare our kids?

We need to focus on getting students ready for the world of work. That means giving them the employability skills that employers are looking for. Skills like:

  • problem solving
  • commercial awareness
  • leadership and influencing
  • teamworking
  • listening and communication
  • networking and
  • resilience.

This last one, resilience, is particularly important because – no matter how good you are, as a student or school leaver – you will be rejected for jobs. There will be some disappointments.

We need to manage expectations and give young people hope.

Young people need to understand that their future is a journey. They need to be supported to do what they are good at. And they need reassurance that they have a superb network of support from families, teachers, friends and careers advisers.

That’s why I support National Careers Week so enthusiastically because of its focus on hope and helping young people to deal with stress caused by pressure to succeed.

Supporting NCW2020

I’ve been involved with National Careers Week for over ten years. So I’m delighted this year, to have the opportunity to work with Nick Newman, the Chief Executive Officer of NCW2020. We have some exciting joint initiatives for the year ahead, so watch this space!

I’m going to be in schools talking about the different routes into the finance industry. I’ll be talking to young people in assemblies and classrooms about my personal experience, including the highs and lows, and giving them ‘real and practical’ tips to explore varied careers.

And I’m looking forward to hearing their questions and hopefully, being able to answer them!

Most of all, I’m keen to dispel the myth that a career in finance might be boring. Our sector encompasses so many different roles and needs to attract a range of people with varied skills and fresh thinking.

With one in 12 jobs in the UK being in financial services, I’m hoping to inspire young people to see what a great future a career in banking and finance could offer them.

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