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Making the right career choice

19 January 2012

Careers advisers in Wales and England are embarking on a pilot course held at Cardiff University to help improve advice for young people in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Funded by the National Higher Education STEM Programme in Wales, the course has been developed in response to the need for more support for people advising on careers in schools and colleges. Following a recent shake-up of school level careers advice in England, schools are now also required to develop their own systems to deliver impartial careers advice.

18 careers advisers and 6 teachers will take part in the course which consists of guided online study and will be held at Cardiff University’s Careers and Employability Service. Content has been developed by Warwick University while Sheffield Hallam University and Babcock Careers Management have designed assessment tasks for modules.

Other partners along with Cardiff’s Careers and Employability Service include Cesagen - a collaborative research centre between Cardiff and Lancaster universities, the Wales Institute of Mathematical and Computational Sciences (WIMCS), the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) and the National STEM Centre.

Speaking about the course, Alison Braddock, of WIMCS and Director of the Wales National HE STEM Programme said: ''There seems to be wide agreement that STEM careers advice for young people on the careers available to those who study STEM subjects and the appropriate combination of subjects to take at school and college is not as effective as it needs to be. Working with the National STEM Centre and other partners, this pilot course provides the opportunity to develop an accredited masters level module open to those who advise young people in the UK."

Julie Hepburn, Deputy Director of Cardiff University’s Careers and Employability Service added: "It is vitally important that students considering studying STEM subjects at degree level should be well informed about the possible career options following the various degrees available. This course for careers advisers will help to ensure that both knowledge and guidance about STEM related careers are available to students when they are making these important decisions."

The course has also been welcomed by Michael Grove, Director of the National HE STEM Progamme: ``I welcome the initiative as an example of HE-led cross-national co-operation to help address the need for informed STEM career guidance at appropriate level in both countries," he said.

Following the pilot, the programme could be implemented as an accredited masters-level module.

Notes to editors:

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University President Professor Sir Martin Evans.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Three major new Research Institutes, offering radical new approaches to neurosciences and mental health, cancer stem cells and sustainable places were announced by the University in 2010.

WIMCS (Wales Institute of Mathematical and Computational Sciences) was originally set up by the Welsh Assembly Government through the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales in 2006 and aims to enhance the standing of mathematics and computation in Wales, to foster links with industry, commerce and business, to generate substantial research funding and to provide a forum for education and public awareness of the mathematical sciences. WIMCS is a collaborative partnership of the universities of Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff Glamorgan and Swansea based at Swansea University.

The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) is the learned and professional society for mathematics. It promotes mathematics research, education and careers, and the use of mathematics in business, industry and commerce. Amongst its activities the IMA produces academic journals, organises conferences, and engages with government. Founded in 1964, the Institute has 5,000 members. Forty percent of members are employed in education (schools through to universities), and the other 60% work in commercial, industrial and governmental organisations. In 1990 the Institute was incorporated by Royal Charter and was subsequently granted the right to award Chartered Mathematician and Chartered Mathematics Teacher designations.

For further information contact:

Victoria Dando,

Public Relations Office,

Cardiff University

Tel: 02920 879074