In this article in FE News Deirdre Hughes highlights the new Digital Inventory of Career Gudiance Tools in which the Careerchat Ltd chatbot CiCi is featured. Deirdre was part of the team who recognised that a careers chatbot would be a major tool for careers practitioners to help support individuals to explore their career options.
This brand new inventory of digital career guidance tools was first conceived by the ILO to showcase European and international examples of tools aimed at supporting the career development processes youth and adults. It complements the ILO Policy guidance note on digitalising career guidance services. It contains 25 exemplary practices, which provide insight on the state-of-the-art and diversity of offers across the globe, at the time of publication.
The ILO sets out some major challenges for policymakers to consider:
- While the offer of digital and distance services, such as e-guidance, career information portals, personal portfolios and matching platforms, is steadily growing, their scope is not always clear, and their level of quality is not always as high as users might like.
- Careers services to youth and adults are, in many cases, weakly prepared for digital transition, having
difficulties in adapting methodologies, developing digital skills and positive attitudes towards technology, as well as accessing equipment and digital platforms.
- Best practices frequently are not widely known and do not have the level of exposure that they should.
- In addition, the current crisis has demonstrated that digital services do not necessarily increase access to career development support in an equal manner. Populations in geographically remote areas, individuals with low literacy and digital skills, people at a socioeconomic disadvantage and other vulnerable groups have been frequently unable to make use of existing services, often due to the absence of a comprehensive strategy for service implementation.
A move to highlight exemplary practices is welcomed and the new inventory shows a range of different approaches. Some international practice of interest to the ILO:
- National one-stop portal assists Singaporeans to make informed learning choice, become more
aware of their skills and upskill themselves to find jobs: https://://www.myskillsfuture.gov.sg/
- National directory of vocational education and training to support adults in finding the training that
- best suits their needs in Australia: https://www.myskills.gov.au/
- e-Guidance to provide individual and personal guidance to all citizens, via various virtual communication channels including focus on adult training and education in Denmark: https://www.
CiCi the careers chatbot (UK), one of 20 national prize winners in the NESTA CareerTech Challenge (2020-2021) features in the ILO Inventory. This is testimony to the significant progress made since 2020 on what was ‘a seed of an idea’ exploring the art of the possible to create a 24:7 personalised unique chatbot.
The CareerChat team has developed CiCi to help support individuals’ career exploration on their own terms e.g. relaxing, watching a Netflix video and simply using your mobile phone or laptop to find out what opportunities are out there. CiCi is learning to recognise the limits of its expertise and can now ask the user if they would like to speak to a human adviser and/or increase the search radius for learning and work opportunities. With the permission of the user, the practitioner can receive in advance an outline of what’s been covered so far and the key question(s) the person would like to discuss with an adviser.