DOING IT RIGHT
Here is an email sent to the head of careers at a school I work in from a parent. “I would like to thank you, the school and Mr Gordon Collins from ceslondon after our interview. He was so kind, patient and encouraging. Niamh felt really inspired and uplifted after the session. It did wonders for her confidence and gave us real food for thought.” Many thanks Yasmin Delargy

MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICES IS VITAL
For year 10/11 students you need to choose what to do post 16. For most students this will be staying on at school, but there are also other options, such as apprenticeships and college courses. There are also huge choices to be made about what to study and what options it opens up in the longer term. Most of the students I see want to go to university but there are an increasing number of other options, including the exciting development of degree apprenticeships, which will offer a very real alternative to the traditional full time degree option.

For those who aspire to go on to higher education, there are over 140 universities and thousands of different courses available. Degrees can be single, joint, mixed, sandwich, straight and masters. You can also spend part of your course abroad, or indeed take the increasingly popular option of studying in another country. You can also break degrees down into four distinct categories; training, vocational, science and non-vocational academic. Over a third of students say they wished they had taken another course or gone to a different university, but by then it is too late.

Giving appropriate, knowledge based advice to year 10/11 and to sixth formers (and their parents) is thus vital to help them in their decision making. For those intending to go to university it is vital to plan and to understand the implications of choice, because going to university for most people will be the second most expensive venture of their life.

About

Background
What is careers
education?
The services I offer
The benefit of using
careers and
education services
Services Offered

Careers advice
to years 11-13
Helping year 12-13
to years 11-13 choose between higher education and career options
Training days
for teachers
Testimonials

"Overall an excellent report. The interview was also very good and emphasised on selecting the right subjects to get the required grades. Very pleased with the outcome"
Schools Worked In

Schools

Gordon Collins Careers & Education Services
For further information please contact Gordon Collins on e-mail: gordon.ceslondon@gmail.com

No. of visits:  

BACKGROUND

I started Careers and Education Services in 2001 after working for various schools, careers services and Local Education Authorities since 1987. I have always specialised in the more able client and since the mid 1990s had primarily worked in grammar schools. I saw that there was a need for a specialist careers adviser working across the state and private sector, who was able to work with able students and their families, helping them choose between the options available. I also knew that a lot of careers provision in the state and independent sector was fairly poor.

I have subsequently worked in a wide variety of schools, running a range of careers services. I enjoy the variety of working across many different schools and dealing with a range of students, their families and school staff. I genuinely think that I have made a huge difference to the schools I have worked in, by bringing a professionalism and focus to careers work.

I stress to schools the importance of getting parents involved wherever possible, this is because even in the most prestigious schools, a high proportion of parents would not have been to university and will have limited knowledge of the current higher education system. In addition, parents who have been to university often give advice to their children based on their own experience, which is inevitably outdated, and the advice given can be dangerously wrong in the current situation. There is also a wide range of options apart from university, such as apprenticeships and the newly created degree apprenticeships. As well as a range of vocational courses at specialist colleges.

WHAT IS CAREERS EDUCATION

The term ‘careers and careers education‘ is fairly dull and I know that it is not the 'Coolest' of areas. A better description would be 'futures' and 'futures education' but I fear we are stuck with the label careers. From my experience in many schools, careers work has a low priority. However, if we accept that a prime aim of education is to produce the next generation of productive workers, then futures work with students and their families. Good futures work should:

  • help students discover what their strengths, aptitudes and interests are
  • help them to find out about the opportunities available
  • help them gain the skills, experience and qualifications needed to move on effectively
  • help them set short, medium and long term goals
  • help them choose the next stage that will advance their interests


How this is done will vary from school to school, but in all cases I believe the role of an outside specialist is essential. Careers teachers and tutors simply do not have the time to develop the expertise and are too close to the pupil to have a dispassionate perspective. In addition, it is more cost effective to employ specialists to do certain tasks and free up teachers' time to do what they do best 'teach'. I also know from my own experience, that parents appreciate schools bringing outside specialists in and that when done effectively, it increases the bond between the family and the school, enabling them to work together for the students’ best welfare.

WHAT SERVICES DO I OFFER

The advantage of running my own agency is that I can be very flexible and adaptable. The main services I offer are:

  • running Morrisby tests for years 10-12
  • giving careers advice to years 11-13
  • helping year 12-13 choose between higher education and career options
  • running the coursefinder service with follow up interviews for year 12
  • helping students produce effective personal statements for their UCAS application
  • I can also run training days for teachers and help organise careers conferences and events.

THE BENEFIT OF USING CAREERS AND EDUCATION SERVICES

  • I know how to work with parents/pupils in independent schools, what their aims and ambitions are, and how to help them achieve their longer term goals.
  • I enjoy working with parents and always ask schools to invite them to interviews. Most careers advisers are scared of parents because they ask awkward questions but I find having them involved makes the process far more effective and lessens the chance of poor and outdated information being used as the basis for decisions.
  • I have organised work experience for many years and know the problems, concerns and difficulties and how best to overcome them and achieve a safe and valuable programme.
  • I keep up to date with what is going on in the world of higher education and careers. If you receive my newsletters you will know I put a great store in information and being up to date with everything I say.
  • I am cost effective in that I free up teaching time, bring in expertise and can offer services such as Morrisby, at very competitive rates because I have low overheads.
  • I use three very experienced careers advisers to help me when I am busy. I only use people with many years experience and who are used to working in my market. My agency is thus small enough to care and offer a very personal service but with the capacity to run larger contracts.

NEXT STEP

  • Please look at the services I offer, as well as the testimonials from parents/pupils and the list of institutions I have worked with.
  • I am happy to send references and further testimonials should you wish.
  • If you would like to discuss potential careers work with me, please get in touch by e-mail.

DO YOU USE THE MORRISBY TEST?
www.morrisby.com

If yes, it is likely that:

  • you are paying too much for it
  • you are not making use of all the benefits
  • you are not feeding it back in a thorough enough manner


If you are not using it, you are missing out on:

  • a good way to boost your students' confidence
  • a good way to increase their motivation
  • a good way to increase their awareness of the career options open to them
  • a good way to identify their particular strengths and how to plan for the future
  • very useful information on which students are underperforming and the an overall analysis of the aptitude level of the year group
  • a good way to get parents involved with the school and increase their awareness of the careers and higher education options available to their child.


Better informed parents help prevent poor decision making on the behalf of their child.

THE MORRISBY TEST

The Morrisby test has been around since 1967and is widely used in the independent school sector and to a lesser extent in state schools. It is primarily used as a basis for careers guidance in year 11 or 12 but can also be used for personal counselling and selection with adults.

To find out information on the test it is best to look at the Morrisby website www.morrisby.com. In summary, it is a series of written tests that take around 3 hours to complete. Students are tested on their aptitudes and personal characteristics, as well as completing a detailed interest guide.

A comprehensive report is produced which, analyses the results and gives career suggestions. Individual scores are also produced which when interpreted by an expert in a thorough feedback interview, are a very powerful guidance tool. It is this interpretation, in a structured interview that is the key to making the best use of the Morrisby Test, but it is often done badly. I am an expert at interpreting the results and giving maximum benefits to the student.

COMMENTS

"The quality of the advice given was first rate with Mr Collins having an encyclopedic knowledge of university, career options etc. His advice has certainly helped X in preparing for option choices and the long term plan for his career".
( Parents comments )

"I was most impressed with the exercise. X has found the process very helpful and it has assisted him considerably in choosing his options and longer term career planning. The feedback was excellent at the interview. This is a valuable addition to school support in career planning".
( Parents comments )

"Before the interview I was not sure what career path I was going to follow. Now I am quite content and aware of what career I am likely to enjoy. He helped with planning for the future and made things clear. I think the Morrisby Profile has helped me a lot with my career choice".
( Pupils comments )

MY METHOD

I strongly believe in making full use of all the information given in the Morrisby test, in order to ensure the maximum benefit for the individual and the school. I am one of the most experienced Morrisby users and give over a thousand feedbacks a year.

The first thing I do is analyse the scores and produce a spreadsheet for the senior management showing individual aptitudes and averages across the year group. This is very popular with schools and often indicates students who are not achieving their potential. A sample copy of this can be sent if requested.

I then give a 50 minute interview, to which I always invite the parents, in the interview I:

  • discuss the aptitude and personality profile with the student/parents
  • discuss the results of the interest questionnaire and compare them to the aptitude and personality profiles
  • discuss the suggested careers options
  • finish by discussing the short, medium and long term career options and decisions to be made.


I produce an interview summary for the student/parents who can seek further advice by e-mail if they wish. This service is ongoing throughout the time in school and university and is particularly appreciated by parents, who like the opportunity to seek ongoing guidance on progression routes.

ALTERNATE METHODS

  • In many schools no feedback is given and the scores are often thrown away. The student will in most cases just look at the career suggestions in the report and ignore the rest of the information.
  • In some schools feedback is given by a teacher who has many other tasks to do and may not be an expert in Morrisby interpretation. They also will not have time to keep up with changing higher education trends and labour market information.
  • In some schools a short 20 minute feedback is given, this is much too short to make full use of the Morrisby results.
  • In some schools group feedback is given which tends to focus on how to read the report and little else.

PRICES

I have kept my prices the same for the last four years but over that time my costs have risen considerably. I have thus decided to rise my charges slightly for the 2015-16 academic year. See below for details.

The testing charges for 2015/16 are (2014/15 charges are in brackets):

10-29 students £63 (£61) each
30-59 students £60 (£58) each
60-99 students £57 (£55) each
100+ students £54 (£52) each

The feedback charge is £365 (£350) per day and I normally see 8 people per day.

Thus the cost for the full service is around £100+ vat (depending on numbers). Which you will find is very price competitive and I honestly believe the service is of a higher quality than any competitor. I also offer Coursefinder feedback interviews to year 12, which is a good way to introduce your pupils (and parents) to the HE options available and help them make more informed decisions. Coursefinder is my fastest growing service and many schools use it as an introduction to their work on higher education with students. If you would like to find out more about my services to year 12/13, including talks and mock interviews, please contact me.

BENEFITS

  • Realistic prices that make it affordable for the student body
  • The production of useful management information
  • A thorough feedback interview by an expert
  • The chance for parents to attend the interview
  • Ongoing advice throughout the students' education

SERVICES OFFERED

I have a huge range of experiences and can offer a bespoke service to best meet school needs. I have colleagues who work with me, and thus can undertake both small and large contracts with equal professionalism. I am BPS accredited and am very experienced in using the Morrisby testing service as a basis for an effective guidance interview. I am also happy to run a guidance interview process without psychometric testing, and am very experienced at giving talks to parents and pupils on all aspects of careers and higher education.

I am very experienced at working with year 10/11, when the focus will be on choosing year 12 options, with an eye on the longer term implications of choice. I am similarly experienced at working with year 12, when the focus is on higher education (in the UK and abroad) and other options, such as degree apprenticeships.

My prices will vary according to the work required and the numbers involved. To get a quote simply email me to discuss your needs.

CES Interviews Feedback


Interviews at Parliament Hill School feedback: -   A
Poor -   0
Satisfactory -   0
Good -   2
Excellent - 25
What Did you Particularly Like? -   B
Practical advice based on opportunities for choosing A levels, Degrees and Career options - 13
It was clearly explained and I understood everything really well -   3
The evaluation, results and options were very helpful -   4
Very clear and detailed explanations, feedback and masses of food for thought -   5
The detail of the interview and clear explanation for my future -   5
Detailed explanation of my daughter's abilities, strengths and weaknesses -   3
It was a great experience for my daughter -   1
What would have made the experience better? -   C
Nothing - I was not expecting such wonderful help. Thank you! - 20
Could not have been improved -   3
It was great, I enjoyed everything -   5
Maybe give their own opinion on what the person should do from the result -   1
More time to discuss different universities and courses -   1
Giving a list of recommended subjects that isn't based on interests -   1
A quieter interview room -   1

 
 
The Morrisby Interviews at Parliament Hill School feedback:

 





Poor
Satisfactory
Good
Excellent

 
What Did you Particularly Like?  
It was a great experience for my daughter -   1
Detailed explanation of my daughter's abilities, strengths and weaknesses -   3
The detail of the interview and clear explanation for my future -   5
Very clear and detailed explanations, feedback and masses of food for thought -   5
The evaluation, results and options were very helpful -   4
It was clearly explained and I understood everything really well -   3
Practical advice based on opportunities for choosing A levels, Degrees and Career… - 13

 
 
What would have made the experience better?




Nothing - I was not expecting such wonderful help. Thank you!
Could not have been improved
It was great, I enjoyed everything
Maybe give their own opinion on what the person should do from the result
More time to discuss different universities and courses
Giving a list of recommended subjects that isn't based on interests
A quieter interview room

 
 
 

TESTIMONIALS

I genuinely do not get any bad returns and my schools are always pleased with the outcomes. I am happy to send hard copies of testimonial returns from parents and pupils and printed below is just a sample.

"Overall an excellent report. The interview was also very good and emphasised on selecting the right subjects to get the required grades. Very pleased with the outcome"

"We all found the interview and report which came from the aptitude tests extremely interesting. I found the interview particularly interesting in terms of the directional advice given and we were all impressed by the time taken and the depth of knowledge. I am sure Thomas will find the process useful in choosing the course of his A levels, degree and future career path"

"David had an idea of the type of career he wanted to develop before the process. The process confirmed David had the skills and was going in the right direction. It was comforting for me as a parent, who has forgotten much about education, that his choices fitted his skills. We also received advice on alternative careers which is also comforting. I thought it was a worthwhile process for David and for me. I am relaxed about his immediate future as a result. Thank you."

"Having been fairly sceptical about the value of the profile, I must say I was most impressed. I thought the evaluation of Calum's personality was incredibly accurate and I was most impressed with the way this was explained. I also found the advice given was useful and beneficial and the whole process to be very worthwhile"

"The arrangements were clear and efficient. The output from the profile was consistent with other indicators. The interview itself was very useful. The Morrisby Profile was explained well and the advice about university, gap years and career was excellent"

"The quality of the advice given was first rate with Mr Collins having an encyclopedic knowledge of university, career options etc. His advice has certainly helped Daniel in preparing for his option choices and the long term plan for his career"

"I was most impressed with this exercise. Sam has found the process very helpful and it has assisted him considerably in choosing his options and longer term career planning. The feedback was excellent at the interview. This is a valuable addition to school support in career planning"

"Before the interview, I was not sure what career path I was going to follow. Now I am quite content and aware of what career I am likely to enjoy. He helped with planning for the future and made things clear. I think the Morrisby Profile helped me a lot with my career choice"

"The methodology is well thought through and seemingly validated. It has been very helpful and correlate well with my general opinion about Andy"

"We all found the interview was very helpful for Darran. It has given him a boost and made him feel a lot more confident about himself and his future"

"In my view this was a very well organised and extremely valuable exercise. It has given my son (& his parents) ideas on future possibilities & options as well as greater insight into his abilities. Many thanks for taking the trouble to organise this"

"I was very pleased with all aspects of the process. The interview was particularly helpful in confirming my sons option choices and the analysis of his abilities and aptitudes was accurate"
"Generally, this was a very thorough interview and mostly very true. It has greatly opened our career opportunities for our son"

"The whole Morrisby exercise has been very worthwhile in my opinion. My son's personality and aptitude were very accurate. The results have given my son a tremendous boost and he has self belief in his abilities. I feel it was better than any school report"

"The advice given was relevant and sensible. The profile seemed to be a fairly accurate reflection of Matthews abilities. It has helped Matthew focus on what he needs to do to follow his preferred career choices"

"We received very helpful advice on careers and A levels. Everything was well explained and understood. The interview was of good length and full of useful information. The interview has helped me to choose what subjects to do at A level and what career path or area I should consider"

"Lucas enjoyed the assessment and found the feedback interview helpful. I found the subsequent report and feedback clear, concise and illuminating in some instances. All of the content of the profile was interesting and clearly presented. The report has led Lucas to evaluate his options and consider career routes that he wouldn't otherwise have thought about"

"I certainly think the interview was helpful and the advice and explanations were clear and concise. The exercise was more than useful"

"The quality of advice was good - in particular the details of A levels and implications for university choices"

"We found the interview excellent and surprisingly accurate for our son and will take on the suggestions made in the report and interview"

"The interview was useful. Thomas was included and indeed was central as he should have been. He was advised regarding A level choice and was given advice - none of us had considered. He felt the process to be useful and will consider it more in the future"

SCHOOLS WORKED IN

  • Bishop Challoner School, Bromley
  • Bolton School ( Boys Division )
  • Bolton School (Girls Division)
  • Dwight School
  • King Edward V1 School
  • Mill Hill School
  • New Hall School
  • Our Ladies Convent School
  • Parliament Hill School
  • St Georges School, Ascot

THE FAMOUS NEWSLETTER

CES produce a fortnightly newsletter for schools and everyone interested in education, covering current topics in schools, universities, the world of work and general trends affecting young people. It has a mailing list of over 800 people, mainly teachers and educators. The cost is only £80pa plus vat. If you want to receive a free sample copy send an email to gordon.ceslondon@gmail.com

Based on demand from parents to give telephone or email advice to a sibling of the pupil I am working with (I always invite parents to the interview), I have introduced a new service. This entails parents receiving a bespoke fortnightly CES newsletter as well as being able to contact me by email, or by telephone to discuss any career/higher education concerns they may have for their children.

The cost of this service for one year would be only £25 plus vat per parent.

The newsletter will be around 6 pages long and be based on the existing very successful CES newsletter that already goes out to schools, but tailored for the parental market, with articles relevant to those with children in years 10-13.

There is no limit to the number of times that parents can contact me and if the parent wants to talk on the phone they can email me, and I will contact them to arrange a suitable time. If you want to sign up to the service, simply email me at gordon.ceslondon@gmail.com.

CES Newsletter 016.docx
CES Parents Newsletter issue 05.docx

MAKING HIGHER EDUCATION CHOICES

The choice of what to study at university and the implications of the choice are of prime importance to students, their parents, and schools. The cost of going to university is second only to buying a house and the decisions made will influence what they will do for the rest of their life. Given the implications of the choice it is important that students have the opportunity to discuss their choices with a careers professional who has an in depth knowledge of the area.

Higher education is an area that I have an expertise in and I have been working with sixth form students and their parents for over 25 years. Personally, I feel that the careers interview is better if students already have had ideas suggested to them via some form of interest guide. This gives the interview a focus and gets the students to consider options before they engage with a careers professional. Even if they do not like the suggestions, it has still forced them to consider the options available.

There are a number of cheap (and free) tools to achieve this. My favourite is the Coursefinder interest guide, which take about 30 minutes. It can be done online or via a paper questionnaire. For large groups it is easier to do the paper version. The other advantage of the paper version is that a professional booklet is produced which gives course and university suggestions alongside a wealth of other information on higher education. I then use the results to form the basis for a feedback interview with the student and their parents. The interview explores the choices available, the different formats of study, where to study, what to study, and increasingly options in other countries. I also look at the graduate job prospects. I write up a detailed report on every interview for the school and the student/parent.

In order to give good advice on higher education you have to be up to date with trends and follow the educational news. This is something I pride myself on and believe that my newsletter shows my knowledge in this area. No matter how good your guidance staff are, they do not have the time to keep up to date with everything that is going on with higher education, given their teaching and other school commitments. I also believe that it is important at key stages to have an outside expert in to build on the programmes already running in the school.

I stress students and parents, because I know from experience that having parents involved makes the discussion more valuable and brings them into the process. Parents are the single biggest influence on choice and yet often their knowledge of higher education is limited. If they went to university, they give advice based on their experience, which is very out of date, if they did not go, they have no experience of a sector they are advising on.

If you would like to know more about how I can help your school please email me. The best time to run interviews are February to June in year 12. The timing depends on whether you want them to start your higher education programme with students or to be built into the programme at a particular point. Clifford Coultart, the head of Careers at Bishop Challoner’s School in Bromley, said; “I just wanted to let you know that we thought you were excellent. The casual feedback from students was all good and the parents who we spoke to were also positive. You made a great impression so thank you. You have transformed the experience of careers interviews in our school”.