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The many faces of student futures

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When we were planning Reimagining Careers Education 2022, we asked our community what they liked from the past two years of live, online sessions.  

Did people want guest speakers and leading academics talking through their research? Did they prefer examples, stories and case studies from schools that lead the way in student futures programs? Or is the great part the group discussions about topical concepts or common challenges?  

The community feedback was passionate, vocal and most unhelpful!

We can summarise it best with one phrase:  

‘Keep doing all of it, really.’ 


So this year, each month, starting during National Careers Week in May, we’ll bring you a great panel or guest speakers on topics, ideas or research that we think are the most interesting and important to progressive educators involved in student futures.  

Schools that do student futures or careers programs successfully are supporting so much more than the transition from school learning into paid work or further learning. The many faces of careers education includes so many more than those who have the words ‘futures’ or ‘careers’ in their job title. 

A career is often defined as the full journey through life, learning and work. Tristram Hooley describes the remit of careers as ‘lifewide and lifelong.’ 

At school we’re preparing students to thrive through that journey.  


Careers and Complexity

Doing this work properly in a way that has real impact needs to be embedded school-wide and school-long. That is, it needs to be a continuum of learning to think, explore and experience. Once we accept that doing this work well is far more complex than one person supporting a single decision, we start to see the many faces of careers education.  

The all-encompassing acronym, CEIAG (Career Education, Information, Advice and Guidance) amalgamates really distinct areas into one neat package.

But it’s not simple and neat in real life. It’s a big messy field because we’re dealing with humans and their complex, messy lives.

The focus and resources allocated to this area in most education systems around the world in schools are clearly still in favour of the neat, simple model of inputs and outputs. 

But let’s be honest here! Students are humans with all the expectations, background distortions, disadvantages, interests and influences of any complex individual. Teaching each one of them to thrive throughout their life, learning and work is not a simple exercise. To go beyond a tick box exercise, futures education has to go deep and wide. 


a student futures strategy has many faces

A student futures strategy often encompasses many areas: explicit careers education, integrated careers education, coaching, counselling, assessment tools, information and advice, guidance, industry connections and work experience. These are just some of the many faces of careers education. 

Now overlay subject selection, social and parental influence, a rapidly changing labour market, the evolving tertiary landscape and global social change. 

What do we risk when we simplify all of this complexity to a linear ‘Student A, Pathway X’ approach?  

Policymakers around the world increasingly recognise that the area of student futures is massively oversimplified. The distortion created by linear solutions thinking under-prepares young people for the most precious thing they have in their hands: their future. 



Our series of community and virtual meetups explores these many faces (or facets) of careers education. We introduce you to the many faces who can help. 

The Reimagining Careers Education online session series aims to make it easier for schools and those responsible for student futures programs to deliver contemporary best practice.

Here are just a few of the many faces you’ll be hearing from in 2022: 

Liv Pennie, Dr. Jim Bright, Matt Dolan, Nick Keskinidis, Dr. Jo Gleeson

Have an idea for another face you’d like to hear from? Let us know! 

NEXT SESSION:  Thursday May 19, 4pm AEST.

(That's 6pm if you're in New Zealand and 2pm if you're in Western Australia)

Sign up for Reimagining Careers or watch videos of past sessions.

Reimagining Careers Eduction 2022 Session 1 Matt Dolan


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