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Young people are entering the labour market more educated and with greater ambition than ever before, but in many countries, they still struggle to find good employment. So how can we help? Our research has confirmed that students who are able to explore, experience and think about their future during their years at school, can typically expect lower levels of unemployment, higher wages and to be happier in their careers than adults of the same gender with comparable levels of academic achievement and from similar social backgrounds. Exploring, experiencing and thinking about future careers can be summed up as career guidance but this area is broad and there are many different approaches in different countries. The OECD Career Readiness team studied longitudinal datasets in ten countries to see what career guidance activities, called “Career Readiness Indicators” helped students in their longer term outcomes. We found 11 Career Readiness Indicators that in general were shown to benefit students. These indicators include participating in workplace visits or job shadowing, having part-time work experience and career alignment where students’ education plans are typically sufficient for their desired careers. However, findings from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) shows that very many students are not engaging in guidance sufficiently.
Also on the Forum Network: School-to-Work Transition: Wrong skills, wrong choices—whose fault? by Francesa Rinaldi & Giulia Monteleone
Navigating the school-to-work transition presents youth with significant challenges, from unequal information about opportunities to rapidly transforming skills. To help young people thrive in the workplace, governments, employers, NGOs and education institutions need to bridge these gaps.
So, the question then is how can we make career guidance opportunities more efficient, effective and/or equitable? One way could be the use of digital technologies. During the pandemic, countries around the world turned to digital tools to maintain guidance for young people. Now, it is easier for people to engage, we are seeing continued growth of these resources as technology makes them more accessible. In response, the OECD has just launched ODiCY (the Observatory on Digital technologies in Career guidance for Youth) which is an open-access repository that shows how digital technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, gamification and online video conferencing are helping to make career guidance more accessible to a wider range of students.
Accessing the same virtual reality tools used by professionals who operate heavy machinery in the skilled trades, students get a taste of work in high-demand careers without leaving their classrooms.
At ODiCY you’ll find many different case studies and you can filter by the Career Readiness Indicators or by technology or age group or country. For example, in France, JobIRL’s E-mentoring programme has been set up to virtually connect students (or mentees) with trained mentors. This breaks down geographical disadvantage as the participants don’t need to be in the same space to be able to connect. Mentees can get help in searching for an internship and are linked with mentors in the professional area that they are interested in.
In Canada, Virtual Reality Career Modules get new insights into careers where work-visits and work placements are very difficult due to safety considerations. Accessing the same virtual reality tools used by professionals who operate heavy machinery in the skilled trades, students get a taste of work in high-demand careers without leaving their classrooms.
Online platforms are becoming ever more advanced as technology improves. CiCi the careers chatbot supports personalised career exploration for young people and links with up-to-date labour market information as well as artificial intelligence to help to guide students to the most useful resources. Career Portal Ireland also provides students with a base to explore their futures, get access to opportunities in the labour market and build their own career portfolios. It is a comprehensive resource developed closely with the community of guidance practitioners in Ireland.
Video streaming often makes exploring careers more manageable particularly for volunteers that might live further away and gives more access to students to see and explore different career options.
Video streaming technology is utilised in many systems to link students with employers or other experiences in the labour market. In Finland, Virtual TET is a virtual work experience programme that is available to school students. This week-long online programme allows students to experience different career paths across Finland. For younger students, Primary Futures is a programme in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland that links volunteers from the workplace to schools so that those in the world of work “enter” the classroom and provide an opportunity for children to expand their outlooks and explore the world of work over video links in a fun and engaging way. Video streaming often makes exploring careers more manageable particularly for volunteers that might live further away and gives more access to students to see and explore different career options.
Now, these are just a few examples of the ways digital technologies are being used in career guidance, you can find even more on ODiCY. And, ODiCY is an evolving repository. We are gathering more and more case studies and we invite those who are developers or users of digital technologies in career readiness to submit their case study for review. It is important to note that digital technologies alone are not the answer to career guidance. Often digital technologies need to be used in conjunction with guidance counsellors, teachers and other people to provide effective guidance. What’s more, it is important to better evaluate how the use of digital technologies in career guidance has impacted their effectiveness, efficiency and equity. The Observatory marks an important first step in bringing together digital tools designed to achieve similar goals in order to compare approaches. We invite you to come and explore ODiCY to see what is happening in career guidance using digital technology.
The OECD helps countries to improve skills governance & ensure both VET programmes and learning systems are responsive to changing skill needs. Learn more about the OECD's work on Skills!