North Devon Strategies: Career Support

Katie Potter

One of our co-design groups in Northern Devon has been focused on designing solutions to the challenge: How might we inspire, support and connect young people to a diverse range of jobs, opportunities and careers?

You can read about the process we went through to get to these ideas in this blog about the magic of co-design, but here, we’re talking about the key challenges we identified as a team, our high-level recommendations in response to this, as well as the specific intervention the group have designed.  

Key challenges identified by the Co-Design group through deeper discovery: 

The co-design group found that there was:

  1. Ineffective delivery of career advice and support in schools for young people. The support and advice on offer were felt to be particularly irrelevant to the local area and were not young-person led.  
  1. A disconnected approach to supporting young people with career advice and guidance, lacking a coherent, consistent, and connected approach between schools/colleges, youth services, employers and other key stakeholders.  
  1. Lack of transport options supporting young people to access different opportunities.  
  1. Lack of inspiration, role models and awareness of different jobs, opportunities and careers in Northern Devon  
  1. A pattern of employers not valuing diverse skills and experiences, creating a barrier to young people accessing different types of employment.  

The Co-Design group’s response and high-level recommendations   

As part of the work of the co-design group, we wanted to articulate a vision. We decided that our vision was to create an approach and system that supports all young people to experience different opportunities, jobs and career possibilities in safe spaces, so that they feel comfortable to explore new things in the future and end up in a job they want to do, and that they care about.  

To do this, we need to:  

Below are some of these key areas which our co-design group believe to have the potential to positively impact young people to work towards this vision. Whilst we haven’t been able to design solutions to all of the challenges we have identified (due to time and capacity!) we have been able to highlight some of the key areas that require change across the system . We have identified that it is necessary for this to be a whole-system approach and commitment, to effectively change young people’s experiences and outcomes in this area.  

There’s responsibility from each part of a young person’s life to step up to help the vision come true – from the whole system stepping up to develop a connected and commited cross-sector approach, all the way through to schools creating more awareness of different opportunities and improving career advice and guidance to be person-led and more personal to the local area.

Key areas that have been identified by our co-design group as having potential to positively impact young people to work towards career improvement. These are: Whole system: Develop a connected and committed cross sector approach to inspire, support and connect young people into diverse jobs, opportunities and careers.* Youth Community: Create safe spaces for young people to explore interests and develop new skills related to careers and jobs.* Make mentoring available to young people to support them to reach their goals.* Parents: Can be given more support, awareness and education on different opportunities for young people and how they can support their children. Can be supported to break the generational cycles of attitudes and expectations put on young people with regards to jobs and careers Employers: Seek better connection between young people/schools and local employers.* Make more opportunities available and people more aware of local opportunities that are less visible and known about* Create different routes into employment are made available for young people (e.g. having more apprenticeships available) Schools: Create more awareness of different courses/opportunities at different colleges Change attitude/mindset in schools to support ‘non-conventional’ jobs. Better support young people with diverse needs. Improve career advice and guidance so it is person-led and relevant to the local area.*

Kailo Co-design Group: Youth-led solutions: 

The Kailo Co-Design group has worked to design an intervention for young people that focuses particularly on the areas starred* above – it includes:  

In this intervention, a young person would go through a very specific journey, designed carefully to help shape a positive intervention. These are highlighted below:

Career intervention journey

Above: Career intervention journey

Key design features for career improvement strategy

Above: Key design features for career improvement strategy

We are now working with local organisations and partners to be able to implement these ideas in Northern Devon. If you work in Northern Devon and would like to get involved/support with implementing some of the different aspects of this work, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with Katie: