Careers Adviser – Laura Peisley
Previously a Careers Teacher at Macksville High School, Laura is now a Careers Adviser and Career Development Manager at Career Tools.
Tell me a little bit about yourself – who are you, and what does your role at Career Tools entail?
I started off PE teaching, and then I filled in for careers teaching in a temporary role and thrived on helping students in that way, so I retrained and became a qualified Careers Teacher. I did that role for 6 years. I used Career Tools when I was working in schools, so when an opportunity came up to work for that company, I jumped at it. My professional philosophy is being able to help students all around Australia with careers education and development. Being part of the Career Tools team means I can help school career practitioners nationwide to help their students and raise the profile of career education in schools.
What are some of the key issues that you have observed around youth employment, especially on the Mid North Coast?
Disconnect between school and industry, with both sectors wanting to connect but speaking different languages. Something that contributes to that issue is the changing roles of people – for example, a careers teacher will develop great connections in industry and then either the teacher or the industry contact will change and that industry knowledge is lost.
Knowledge about careers can be described as hot or cold, with cold knowledge being the hard facts, and hot knowledge experiences and feelings. A combination of the two are needed – schools tend to deliver more cold information about careers and work pathways, and parents and employers tend to give more hot information. Research shows that students in regional areas especially, need access to hot information – emotional, experiential – before they can respond to cold information – facts and data.
What are some of the solutions as you see them?
Schools must help to facilitate the hot knowledge. When I was at the school our careers network worked really well together – it covered the schools from the Clarence and Coffs Harbour area. Collectively we worked together to facilitate experiences with students that we couldn’t have done individually.
We need to connect students with industry in a more meaningful and targeted way, such as guest speakers from people students know, work experiences and Careers Expos. Personalised approaches that explain the actual pathways to an individual student are really effective. Work Experience can be a great opportunity to deliver ‘hot’ knowledge, and either way it will be a useful experience – whether the student likes it or not, at least they will know.
What is some advice you would offer parents/employers?
Parents: Often parents don’t get to have that conversation about a career with their child. If that’s the case, tap into your school careers advisor – you can call them and make an appointment, which activates that discussion – use that resource. Over 1200 schools across Australia have a one stop website powered by Careers Tools which is a great resource for parents to find up to date information and links. Parents can also tap into their own friends and networks to provide work experiences and opportunities. Parents have more influence than what they think.
Macksville High School Career Tools page
Nambucca Heads High School Career Tools page
Bowraville Central School Career Tools page
Employers: Employers expect to students to be work ready as soon as they walk in, but they are unlikely to be. Sometimes they need to be a bit more understanding and accepting that training from scratch is part of the process of taking in a young person, whether it is work experience, work placement or a more permanent role such as an apprenticeship or traineeship.