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01 Jul 2021

Could technology be the answer to career apathy?

Could technology be the answer to career apathy?
Emma Gaukroger, BTEC Quality Nominee, careers co-ordinator and music teacher from Greenwood Academy discusses how technology can help students with careers guidance.

It’s been a hard year for students. And some would argue that the future is not looking so bright for them either.

The economy is in bad shape. Unemployment levels are set to rise, with an expectation that around 2.2 million people, or 6.5% of all workers, could be unemployed at the end of the year.   

It’s no surprise that young people are feeling far from enthusiastic about their career choices at the moment.

At my school in Birmingham, technology has been key to offering students engaging careers advice that gets them feeling positive about their future.


A tailored approach

Our first step was to explore our students’ interests using an online platform.

Careers advice is often focused on exposing children to different professions and pathways. But a visiting engineering speaker may only appeal to the five percent of students who had thought about that career anyway.

An approach more tailored to the individual will deliver a more engaged conversation with that young person.

The student may want to be a musician, like someone famous they admire. This aim may be viewed as too lofty or broad as an ambition, but we find it provides an excellent starting point to explore what would need to happen to allow the student to follow their dream.

We can then examine what courses are available, what salary they will earn and whether there are other jobs that they could consider that would also help them explore their love of music. The lofty ambition then develops into a pathway to potential careers they may enjoy.


Gamification for engagement

Technology helps in this process too.

We started using a career search and discovery platform which hooks children into the career journey using methods employed successfully in video games.

Children start by donning a VR headset and completing questions on their personality to examine what sort of careers would appeal to them. This is the hook.

They are then assigned a spirit animal guide and are provided with career options they may want to consider based on their personality and their own interests, whether that is sport, working outside, business or something else.

They are submerged in an immersive career journey, watching videos, finding out how much they’ll earn or what qualifications and skills they will need to get where they want to go.

Using the VR headsets has been a gamechanger.

Teenagers may be embarrassed to reveal they want to be a doctor or work in the theatre in front of their friends, but with the headsets on, they have told us that they feel able to explore all options without worrying what their peers will think.

They see what the next steps will be in terms of their studies which helps them engage in the classroom too. This is incredibly important when so many older children are thinking ‘what’s the point of school?’ thanks to the pandemic.

This process helps students to not only feel more excited about their career options, but also more committed to working towards achieving their dream job.

Useful links: The careers personality quiz is available free to all students at, who are also providers of the VR technology.

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