A software firm with ambitions to revolutionise the way school students access careers advice is launching a new app on GCSE results day.
The GoCareer app lets school students read reviews about further education courses, which have been left by other students. The aim is to create an electronic guide to where to study, based on peer-to-peer feedback. School leavers benefit from the most up-to-date careers guidance available, with insights about both the courses on offer and the student experience at any given college.
In addition to student reviews, the app utilises FE Choices Data – itself compiled from student feedback – to provide an accurate assessment of colleges across the country. Year 10 and 11 students will be able to search for courses, apprenticeships and training options.
The app has been developed in partnership with two education providers: Sunderland College and Castleview School. Students at both institutions have been encouraged to leave feedback and engage with the app as part of the pilot phase, and Sunderland College students, including Ebonny Cavanagh who is completing a NextGen course with the college, even helped to design the app as part of a live project that a number of students took part in.
Dominic Murphy, Managing Director of Geek Talent, the software firm behind the app, said: “We set out with a mission to improve careers advice nationally and to help our young people be better informed when making career decisions.
“As the power of technology increases, people turn to it for support with decision-making. However, careers advice and guidance remains something that is offered face-to-face, despite the fact that today’s school leavers are a generation of digital natives.
“Offering an easy-to-access source of credible information about courses on offer and the various education providers offering them, we can ensure that every student finds the right place for them. That’s really powerful.”
Vikkie Morton, Assistant Principal at Sunderland College, said that the app had the potential to turn school careers advice on its head.
She said: “Students who choose to come to study with us often do so on the basis of strong recommendations from their peer group. GoCareer effectively creates a platform for students to share their experiences with those who may be considering coming to the college, and ultimately, there can be no better judge of Sunderland College and the work of our fantastic team, than those who study here.”
In addition to providing school leavers with information about further education, GoCareer will also offer an insight into the skills required to work in different industries. GeekTalent has worked closely with the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) during the pilot phase of the app, to populate the platform with information about working in the automotive sector. The NEAA has helped by providing career profiles, created by real people, to produce a job-DNA capturing the skills that potential new recruits must develop to pursue specific career pathways.
Paul Butler, chief executive of the NEAA, said: “We have seen an increasing focus on STEM in schools, which has been a huge step forward in meeting the skills needs of the automotive sector, but we still must do more to encourage young people to pursue what is a highly-rewarding career choice.
“The GoCareer platform will allow us to reach a huge number of young people and provide them with vital information about the route they can take to a successful career – something that is essential if we want to develop a strong workforce for the future.”
The GoCareer app was developed with the support of the Fresh Ideas Fund and a second charitable foundation. The Fresh Ideas Fund is run by the Northstar Foundation.
Students will be able to download the GoCareer app for free on August 24, GCSE results day, by visiting the Apple Store or Google Play Store. Schools or colleges wishing to find out more should contact the Geek Talent team on 0191 562 3173 for more information about the options available to them.