Review of Careers4u.tv
Created by professional filmmakers, Careers4u.tv, a new web resource aims to provide the best ‘balanced careers library in the UK with good representation of all skill levels, industries and company size.’ The company makes videos using employees, apprentices and entrepreneurs under the age of 30 talking about their working lives with the intention of helping young people make better informed choices about education and future careers.
The site is very easy to navigate with clear labelling on the home page and submenus. An introductory video recommends that you start in the Explore section. Exploring is facilitated through a number of categories: Favourite subjects, Qualifications, Industry Sector, Lifestyle and Personal Strengths. Having chosen a video to watch there is a short written introduction with, in many cases, an earnings guide, qualifications of the person concerned and useful links to find out more about the career. Most of the videos are between 4 and 7 minutes long, which is just about right. The format involves a young person speaking quite naturally in response to questions about career choice, for example a commercial underwriter. This particular video offered glimpses on the workplace, a typical day and the skills and attributes required to do the job. The enthusiasm of the young woman is captured as is her ambition to take the next step in career progression. After watching this video three related and three random careers are suggested for viewing and clips can be saved to watch again, if required. All videos are streamed rather than downloaded as stated in the licensing arrangements. A search box will allow users to go directly to videos by keyword.
Teachers have a separate area which offers downloadable notes to assist in incorporating clips into lesson planning for academic and vocational purposes. Careers4u.tv also has information relating to DVDs with similar content in this area, which does not come within the scope of this review. Guidelines from the Association for Careers Education and Guidance are also available to advise teachers on the contextual information need to allow pupils to evaluate the information that they are getting and to emphasise that the videos are an initial source of ideas which require further consideration. At the time of writing I found one broken link in this area (Work Related Learning) and the odd stray bit of html code which suggests that a little tidying up is necessary.
The concept for this resource is good and the videos are current, appropriate and appealing. The interviews provided unexpected insights into dress codes and how the young people present themselves which could provide interesting discussion points.
Apprenticeships, professions and entrepreneurship are all in evidence here with a balanced gender mix. The creators of the site have stated that they will be adding new videos monthly and additional lesson plans: this should help to fill gaps that are inevitable as the range of potential job titles in all sectors, is vast. For that reason this resource will fit well alongside directories and databases in the careers section to be used as an opportunity to breathe life into careers research. In expanding the number of videos there is also an opportunity to include more diversity in the backgrounds of the featured young people. Furthermore I also felt that this resource provided a useful gateway to information about participating companies, professional and trade organisations.
Careers4u.tv can be paid for as single household access (currently £14.95)*, but it is designed to work with leading VLE providers and an annual site licence can be bought for £295 plus vat. Overall, this is a useful and attractive resource which would enhance the careers provision in any school.
Reprinted courtesy of the School Librarian Association
*Price update : A single user licence is now £24.95 for 90 days
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