Bill Law's Career-learning Café

Update for the Career-learning Network

20th August 2004

Changes since the last up-date

The magazine

The main news this time is about the games section. It is Chris's very successful programming of Game for Career no.2 - 'Getting to grips with careers-work priorities'. It will take you into comparisons between a range of 'basic', 'consolidating' and 'integrating' approaches to this work. Some are more necessary than others; some are safer; some pay more attention to changing conditions. No right answers - just a challenge for new thinking. Bill developed the ideas from some work he did work for the NACGT. He has now melded that thinking with Ruth Levitas's analysis of policy priorities. The game is currently available as a trial version. Back-up material, setting out the thinking and ways of interpreting the scores, will appear with the final version - in a while.

You'll find a new case-study-based account of contemporary theory - 'Using theory in Connexions' - in making it work. It uses a familiar Cafe analysis of theories, but in a form prepared for a recent Connexions conference. If you want it in this form, grab it now; because it will shortly be restructured to accord with other material, shortly to appear on the site.

The in touch section now has an article grappling with issues for the relationship between theory and practice. It points to an announcement about the National Guidance Research Forum, which features in the underpinning section (see below).

The most recent upload is also in in touch. It asks 'Who says guidance is such a good idea?' It uses the publication of David Peck's new history of careers services to wonder how open-minded and imaginative we now need to be, in re-thinking what to do with careers work.

Moving on

Re-thinking is a response to changing conditions. The Cafe, over coming months, will be systematically showing how this re-thinking can work out in practice. It starts with how to maximise the chances that learners will recognise the usefulness of career learning, and be motivated to actually use it. The re-thinking appears in the 'post-DOTS' analysis of careers work. (An earlier version of this came attached to the last of these e-mailings). The Cafe's moving on section now has an account of these coming developments, and how they link to other Cafe features.

The underpinning

The National Guidance Research Forum is to be launched on the 8th September. (You can get information from Ann Ruthven at: ). And so this is a good time to ask questions about who controls our research agenda, whether that agenda represents enough of the issues, and whether it does so in credible terms. The ways research is set up, carried through, and reported are critical for the future of careers work. Like earlier work on quality standards, the research agenda will shape the way we think about this work. Both projects acknowledges some possibilities and neglects others. These selections must not be allowed to become arbitrary. It is essential, then, that research attends to all the possibilities that this work now holds out. And, in turn, this means, attending to the full range of legitimate stakeholder interests in careers work. In particular, if we really mean to develop evidence-based practice, then we are going to need practice-based evidence. Information about the forum, and the issues it raises, now appear in the underpinning section of the Cafe.


As always, Bill wants to hear from people who share the Cafe philosophy, and can spare some time to help. Just say in what way, and we can talk about it.

Chris, Sara and Bill continue to be grateful for your support and help.

Bill Law
August 2004
The Career-learning Network


Chris Bosley
Sara Bosley