Sarfraz Ahmed, Careers Advisors, Leicester College written for Promote-Ed

In the last ten years there has been a considerable shift in the role of Careers Advisers along with being expert career planners, and advocates. Careers Advisers today play a significant part in raising aspiration. Good careers advice is integral to supporting young people’s mental stability and helping them become more resilient. Although not trained as mental health professionals, I believe there has been a shift happening that has had an impact of the work that careers advisers do, that is relevant, current and necessary in this day and age.

With the raise of awareness of mental health in the public our clients are more likely than ever to discuss their mental well-being. As practitioners we really need to know and indeed acknowledge the importance and impact your state of mental health can have on your career aspirations. In recent years career authors, coaches and activists, such as Beth Benatti Kennedy, (2018), has put well-being as an integral part of the ‘Benatti Resiliency Model’ which through a combination of physical, emotional and spiritual health helps to boost an individual’s capacity to manage change and boost resilience.   Working as an international career coach, she believes that ‘Wellbeing…nourishes your spirit finding occasions to love, have fun, take vocations, and indeed she speaks of being awed by what is around you and getting involved in fulfilling activities and expressing gratitude.  Career Recharge – Five Strategies to Boost Resilience and Beat Burnout’ (2018)

Other career coaches such as Liane Hambly and Ciara Bomford in their book Creative Career Coaching 2018, have also highlighted the importance and recognition of our clients mental well-being, as this could be a deciding factor on how clients perceive the advice you give and how they react to it. Indeed we need to be more aware than ever as issues such as anxiety, depression and panic attacks can be major issues when embarking on a journey that may involve you making decisions that could have an impact on your life.

I feel Careers Advisers have the capacity to raise aspirations and help widen our client’s mind-set. Having an awareness of their clients mental well-being can help them to think differently and provides them with new perspectives especially when discussing their career choices. Raising aspirations is not just about giving our clients an idea about what they might want to do in the future but encouraging them to aim high and supporting them to manage their ideas holistically and effectively. Taking into account their mental health among other aspects of their lives. Carers Advisers can help you connect with something that clients are passionate about and want to communicate with others about help them instil confidence in themselves.

Effective careers advice can help you to succeed and help you to believe in yourself and if you don't believe in yourself then you're not going to succeed it can also push you to work harder to achieve your goals, thus becoming more resilient in the process so you can manage transitions effectively.  Career coaching can help you to expand your horizons and raise aspirations and to be realistic and if you have aspirations you have to plan to achieve those goals and good careers advice is integral to this process.

The challenge for practitioners remains ever increasingly to raise their awareness of mental health through continual professional development, these could be simply as attending a well-being workshop, through undertaking a more formal qualification such as a distance learning course, or a formal qualification to help raise their understanding of mental health and well-being, For those that are training to be Careers Advisers it is important that mental health and well-being modules are included in the training of careers professions, through their Level 6 training or through an academic route at university. It is important to get a better understanding of the needs of clients, so we can support them to move forward in their career plans and to raise aspirations effectively.

Sarfraz Ahmed, Careers Advisors, Leicester College written for Promote-Ed

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