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Careers advice – did yours hit the wrong note?


5 January 2012

3M  has launched an online national survey to explore the careers guidance that British adults received at school.

It follows an internal survey at the diversified technology company that revealed that many of its current employees had once been advised to follow very different paths – including fish farming, undertaking and piano tuning.

“We ran the survey across the UK and were amused and astonished by the results,” explained John Klee of 3M.  “In almost all cases, the guidance bore no relation at all to the careers they eventually chose.

“The number of people recommended to be fish farmers or undertakers indicated their schools must have all used the same careers software. But there were many other strange examples as well.”

These included a formulation scientist advised to become a bowling alley engineer; a technology engineer guided to be a shepherd; and a sports-hating sales executive steered towards becoming a PE teacher.  A would-be piano tuner preferred to become a product design specialist instead.

The company’s internal survey followed the creation of a free online careers resource for schools – www.3Mcareerwise.co.uk.  By answering a series of simple questions, students receive a personal profile and are introduced to video interviews with 3M employees who discuss their lives and careers.

“Our aim was to give students selecting which subjects to study for their exams a better idea of some of the careers within industry they might never have heard of otherwise,” John Klee explained.

“It’s difficult for students to know what careers they might like to follow when they have little or no exposure to the world of work.”

The national survey has launched this week. To share your experiences of the careers advice you received at school go to www.3M.co.uk/careersurvey



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