"All the world's a stage"

Securing human roles in an AI future

January 2024



Introduction   (2 mins)

Imagine a world where we all have fulfilling roles. What a world that would be!

Such a world might only be a dream, but this section of my website at least suggests some new ways to develop career pathways through alignment with our individuality and our humanity.

It downplays the traditional approaches to job categorisation. It looks instead at our underlying human motivations for work, identifying eight 'nutrients' that can sustain our lives in very satisfying ways if we recognise and prioritise them. This approach is especially valuable for adapting to the AI-fuelled changes in the landscape of employment and opportunity.

It is primarily aimed at:

The content is wide-ranging and thought-provoking. It is not designed to be a 'quick read' all at one sitting. I have indicated the reading times in the headings.

Each of the three sections ends with a suggested  activity (highlighted in red) to help you process your thinking. The last step of each activity is to discuss your thoughts and feelings openly with someone you trust. I cannot stress enough how important such discussions are to your self-development. It is tough to find your pathway on your own. 

Contemplating the future and setting your self-development priorities require time to think and reflect deeply. So consider breaking it up into sessions and returning to it when you are in a reflective state of mind.🙏 

Structure of this webpage

a) lists some things I would like to have known when I was young. 

b) explains how the most sustainable pathways are the ones aligned with your personality and sources of energy. 

  It also explains why your 'voice' and your spoken language skills will be more important than ever.  

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a) Things I would like to have known when I was 17   (1 min)

All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts.

As You Like It (Act II, Scene VII) William Shakespeare (c.1599) 

As I approach the beginning of my seventh decade, I am reminded of how I felt when, as a teenager, I first heard Shakespeare's 'seven ages of man' speech. 

The prospect of finding one's way through life seemed overwhelming. I had no clear passions, and I was not confident that I had any special talent. I had no idea what part I would play on the vast 'stage' of life. I remember feeling very depressed by the idea of 'the workplace' - a word that suggested decades of drudge.

These memories are triggered whenever I talk to, or read about, young people who are struggling with similar emotions today. It has prompted me to create this section of my website because I wish someone had explained some important things to me when I was at school or university. 

My messages are positive

The secret is to find your own sustainable pathway. This webpage is designed to help you with that process.

b) Finding your pathway and your voice   (5-10 mins)

This section is a little bit intellectual, but please bear with me, it is important.🙏

In this century, we are regularly told that we can be whoever/whatever we want to be. To be clear, this mantra refers to opportunity, not to entitlement. A career, i.e. a person's progress or general course of action through life, is a  lifelong learning project that requires imagination, hard work and some risk-taking.  It is difficult to identify and to sustain a career without at least some degree of alignment with our natural skills, our neurodiversity, our values, and our personalities. 

Much is written these days about the importance of a growth mindset in education. For me this means not being constrained by the academic measures and labels we are given as children. We should have faith in our limitless capacity to grow, if we make the effort. Such faith is well-placed as long as we find the right pathways that are sustainable for us personally.

In previous generations it was not unusual to join one organisation and spend your whole life there. There were pros and cons to this model. By contrast, in the 21st century people will experience many more changes over the course of their lifetime: changes in direction, in demand for their skills, and in their model of employment. They may split their time between jobs, including being self-employed. Well over 4 million people are formally self-employed in the UK (2023).

The landscape of skills and jobs is changing more quickly than ever. Artificial intelligence (AI) has been impacting our lives for decades, but recently there has been more focus on AI's social consequences.  What does it really mean to be 'human' in a world where the historically dominant knowledge-producing methods of homo sapiens are looking a bit obsolete? 

AI raises questions about which human skills and careers will be most relevant for the future.  Some predict that the majority of children born today will end up working in job types that do not yet exist.

A new age of oracy* 

Technology can (where it is permitted) improve learning, communication and productivity. It also disrupts some long-established and embedded attitudes about education, skills and sources of wisdom. Rapid change can be a threat to those who cannot, or will not, adapt. 

Humanity's relationship with text (in its widest sense as the medium for learning and for communication) is evolving in quite fundamental ways. Due to the overwhelming volume of digital media 'traffic' in our lives, our capacity for concentration and reflection is certainly changing, and may be diminishing.

In his 2021 book Stolen Focus, Johann Hari argues quite convincingly that we need to fight hard to rescue our focus from the potentially devastating distractions of living our whole lives online.  This concern about living in the shallows and avoiding deeper thought was captured very well by Nicholas Carr's 2011 book, The Shallows: how the internet is changing the way we think, read and remember

Whichever way you look at it, our reading and writing habits are changing. A growing preference for listening has led to a massive increase in podcasts and audiobooks. We are moving away from long-form texts (like the one you are reading right now) and towards shorter texts, bulleted presentations and audiovisual media. Generative AI is transforming our sourcing, editing, reading and understanding of text. It is also transforming the way information is disseminated and targeted to influence readers and listeners. 

Sooner or later, the devices we currently know as mobile phones will be replaced with solutions that are more wearable, or implanted, and will be more seamlessly interactive and conversational. As a result of all this, we are entering a new age where the relationship between literacy and oracy is being redefined

Oracy is the ability to articulate ideas, actively listen, develop understanding and engage with others through spoken language. In the school curriculum, oracy is a skill which has long been 'the poor cousin' of literacy and numeracy, or as we used to call them: the three 'R's of Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic. In the future, as generative AI colonizes the education sector through large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT and Bard/Gemini, oracy is going to matter a whole lot more

In a nutshell: what we say will be a more authentic and reliable indicator of what we understand (and what we can contribute) than what we writeAnd thanks to the impressive progress and ubiquity of voice-typing, even when we do produce written output it will increasingly be sourced from what we speak

These are profound shifts in the production and distribution of knowledge and in what it means to be an effective communicator. Those who adapt and develop the related skills will thrive. 


Voice-typing alone could do much to transform education and productivity in the workplace. There is already evidence that voice-typing helps children take pride both in their speaking and in their writing. Self-editing tools stimulate engagement to really take care and read what we write and raises standards of literacy more generally. All of these things promote inclusivity, levelling the educational playing field for those who are challenged by handwriting or typing from scratch. 


The decline of the 'linear literary mind'

Thanks to social media, 'having a voice' in the 21st century is already very different from what it meant to previous generations. For centuries, the desired outcome of a 'good' education has been judged to be what is sometimes called the 'linear literary mind'. This means a mind attuned to learning, developing and communicating ideas through long-form written texts: books, essays and journals. Mastery of these formats and channels was the pathway to power and influence throughout your career. 

However, the linear literary mind is not a timeless or universal attribute of humankind. It is a particular phenomenon of primarily western culture and institutions. Originating with Gutenberg's invention of the printing press in the 15th century, the linear literary mind has dominated knowledge production for the past 500 years. 

Despite this powerful legacy of the printed word, it is likely that through the 21st century we will see a decline in both the appetite and the capacity of humans to source and re-produce their wisdom efficiently through long-form texts

This has profound implications. It will likely usher in a new age of oracy as the primary domain where humans can differentiate themselves from machines. The spoken word will regain its pre-Gutenberg status as the more compelling medium to express indvidual human character, integrity and authenticity.

Traditional literacy skills will of course continue to be very important. This is especially true in order to exploit the possibilities of generative AI. And to challenge or edit its output, because AI is only as good as the data it feeds off. There is so much more that we need to do to assure the quality and integrity of AI, and literacy is a critical element of this process.

But however this plays out, oracy (in its broadest sense) can no longer be treated as the 'poor cousin' in education and personal development. 

Our uniquely human contribution

All of these developments create opportunities. In some ways they make life more flexible. They can also make life feel less secure. They require us to be more proactive and/or reactive in developing our skills and our self-awareness. To be clear, self-awareness includes awareness of where society is most in need of our uniquely human contribution**

We cannot rely upon schools, universities or other people to align our career for us. We have to figure this out for ourselves. Across the UK there are well over 1 million job vacancies and there is a worrying skills shortage***. The good news is that young people with the energy, disposition and adaptability for self-development are in high demand. 

Even so, the decisions on the what, where and how of our learning and working are not always easy. They have a big impact on our motivation and happiness. There are many different possibilities in learning and career pathways and they evolve over time. Few people make optimal decisions consistently throughout their lives. For many people, the first big decision is whether to pursue Higher Education. If you are at that decision-making stage, I have four key messages for you in Appendix 1 below. 

Of course we do not all have to become experts in the latest technology and AI. But we do need to be broadly aware of technology's evolution and its impact. How might we harness it? Where do we (individually and collectively) fit into the new ecology? This web page tries to address that second question by focusing on the more permanent and enduring aspects of human motivation, skills and values. These are the things that are less likely to be rendered obsolete by AI.

We should not get too alarmed by so much talk of change. Humans have been adapting to huge technological and industrial changes for centuries. But our education sector is not agile. It is conservative (some might say this is a good thing) and has always struggled to keep up with technology-driven changes in our culture and the economy.  This is why each of us need to take responsibility for our own learning pathways and to discover where we can get help. Appendix 2 below has some useful links to online resources for career and skills development.  

Key things for young people to think about

We often learn the most from our mistakes, so trial and error are essential experiences. Pursuing opportunities outside our comfort zone is important. This might involve moving away (at least temporarily) from the people and places that are familiar to us. 

Jobs will rarely (if ever) tick every box on our wish-list. So we have to prioritise and be realistic about what is sustainable for each of us in the longer term. Adaptability and sustainability are boosted if we can align our choices to our values, skills and personalities. So with that objective in mind, I find it helpful to think about jobs and careers with reference to the following three important things:

These things are explained in the three sections below. 

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Footnotes

* To understand more about what I mean by 'a new age of oracy', follow this link to an extract from my book. Also see Voice21 - an impressive organisation that has been championing oracy in the curriculum for almost 10 years.

**There are many free online reports predicting future skills requirements, e.g. 

*** See the UK government's current list for Skilled Worker Visas for Shortage Occupations

Part 1 - Eight career-sustaining nutrients   (20-30 mins)

Most young people find it difficult to imagine the world of work. 

From a distance, many jobs can look boring. As a result, career aspirations sometimes get quite fixated on the more glamorous sectors, e.g. 'I really want to work in the creative industries'.  But beware: their attractiveness can be deceptive. And don't be fooled by film and TV representations of certain jobs, they are often very misleading stereotypes.

Career aspirations also focus too much on identity and on 'being' something generic, e.g. a psychologist, chef, scientist, nurse, coach.. etc. The more important focus should be on why these roles appeal to you. We should explore work that fits with the stimuli or nutrients we need to feed our personalities and passions. Nutrients can often be found in unexpected places, and are spread across different sectors. 

There are many different ways to categorise sources of motivation, but in the table above (expanded in the eight headings below) I have tried to distill some enduringly human nutrients that illustrate key differences between people: differences in where we find our energy and motivation to pursue and to sustain a career.

Some skills within each category will continue to be enhanced, and in some cases replaced, by technology and AI. But underlying human priorities, values, idiosyncrasies and ingenuity will prevail. 

Try to avoid being fearful of technology. It's not all about geeky technicians and computer scientists. Most of those who are doing great things with generative AI applications (such as Chat GPT and Bard/Gemini) are those with strong traditional skills and dispositions such as literacy, problem-solving, collaboration, project management, creativity, UX design, and critical or systemic thinking. 

Ranking your nutrients

The eight nutrient labels in the table above are not listed in any particular order. Nor are they mutually exclusive, i.e. you may find several that apply to you. So think about which are most important to you.  

Please note that I have excluded the career motivators of money and status/prestige, sometimes described as reward and recognition. These can be very powerful stimuli. They  are usually linked to how much responsibility people have in their jobs, how much pressure they are under to perform and to deliver good results, and/or to the expectations we develop in childhood. They are universal and well-understood stimuli and can apply across all eight categories, so they are not particularly useful differentiating criteria for my purposes here. 

To be clear, my intent is:


Please take the time to read each of the dropdown sections below carefully.

Here the career focus is on becoming a specialist, a highly proficient expert, and upholding recognised standards in any one of many fields: technical, creative, administrative, sporting.. etc.

Traditional professions include medicine, law and accounting, but the professional label can apply much more widely e.g. teacher, sound engineer, climate scientist, management consultant, psychologist, sports scientist, set designer, architect, structural engineer, dramatherapist.. etc. 

The list is very long and includes trade professionals. These are careers that often do not require a university degree, and include specialisms such as electricians, plumbers and many new types of technicians and operators in engineering, healthcare, construction, maintenance, and in advanced aspects of technology.

Professionals take pride and comfort in their expertise. Many (but not all) feel a strong sense of a vocation (i.e. a calling or sense of destiny) towards their profession.

The main thing to consider is that it is usually a long-term commitment. It requires several years to master your craft and this may involve passing professional exams. 

Given how quickly things evolve, professionals need to stay abreast of changes through a commitment to CPD (continuing professional development). This can be quite onerous and is often formally regulated by a professional body. 

Most professions will see an acceleration in the impact of technology due to AI. This is most likely amongst the more routine functions and junior roles. It presents a training and development challenge. Professional organisations need to identify where uniquely human skills are most valuable and productive, and to adapt their businesses accordingly. This does not necessarily mean they will employ fewer people, only that their 'product' or 'client offering' will change. Young people who are in tune with the changing landscape for professional skills and services will thrive as they will be the ones shaping the future. 

Professionals can work for themselves (e.g. as private contractors with clients), or as part of public service organisations (e.g. NHS trusts or schools), in partnerships (e.g. firms of lawyers or architects), or be employed in private or public companies. 

Financial rewards vary quite significantly, but are generally very good. Once qualified, professional careers can provide good job-security. 

2. Managerial-administrative

The focus here is on organisational effectiveness. This means getting the best out of individuals, teams, systems and processes.  It includes some very human and social skills such as  inclusivity, encouragement, persuasion and collaboration. 

Most of us work in organisations and, sooner or later, most people end up with some form of managerial responsibility

Promotion into management positions is often a way of rewarding people for their good performance. It can be marvellous for some, but disastrous for others, especially for those who regret moving away from the 'real work' they previously enjoyed, and especially for those who are given no management training. 

Management roles can be very satisfying if you find an organisation that suits you. The UK has historically been very strong in management science, education and training. This is why it is so disappointing to see UK productivity fall in recent years. We really do need good managers and administrators. 

Management skills are highly transferable between different sectors and types of organisations. This provides a wide range of employment opportunities.  If you are good, management skills can be very well rewarded. You might be surprised how poorly organised some environments are, even in large and well-known companies. This is often related to the pace of change in the world around us, and to the difficulty organisations have in adapting to that change. 

Technology has been a persistent source of change over decades and this is showing no sign of slowing. Navigating the management implications of new technology, and generative AI in particular, is a skill that is already in high-demand and will only increase. Similarly, changes in working practices, away from the office and towards flexible remote working are one of the biggest management challenges facing organisations. 

The general skills required for a career in management include:


There are a wide range of specialised areas of business management . These may overlap with the professional category above: 


Large organisations have in-house management training programmes, but there are many other sources of independent training. Courses are much more valuable if you can do them alongside work experience. The MBA (Masters in Business Administration) used to be thought of as the gold standard in management training, and still is for many of the elite business schools who work hard to stay at the leading edge. But the explosion in the number of MBA providers has rather diluted their reputation. 

Even so, an MBA is still a valuable thing to do, especially when undertaken after a few years of work experience. i.e. where you are in a position to research and apply ideas and practices that are relevant to your organisation. Above all, it teaches you the language of business and provides a good overview of how organisations create value. 

In summary, jobs in management can be much more interesting than they sound. Be aware that the culture of an organisation will have a big impact on whether or not you fit in and enjoy working there. Organisational cultures vary enormously, so do not read too much into your first experience. If you find yourself working in a place that doesn't suit you, look for another opportunity. When you've found one, move on.

3. Entrepreneurial

Entrepreneurs are the people who make new (and often better) things happen in the world. The term is sometimes used to describe anyone who has their own business, but that usage is too broad.

Entrepreneurs see gaps, needs and opportunities in life. Sometimes these are driven by technological possibilites: e.g. the internet, social media, AI, scientific research break-throughs in any sector. Or they could arise from social and community needs where government policy and/or philanthropic resources (corporate or private) make funding available, but it requires individuals to recognise the opportunities and make things happen. 

Entrepreneurs either start new projects or businesses themselves, or they bring together people with the right skills and connections to bring new solutions or ventures to life. Once the venture is well-established, they often move on to new ideas leaving the more routine day to day management and operation of the business to others. 

Key characteristics of an entrepreneur are: 

World-famous entrepreneurs include Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, James Dyson, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos. To be clear, entrepreneurs are not defined by being white male industrialists. Beyonce, Oprah and JK Rowling are perhaps even more famous people with an entrepreneurial drive. 

Don't be overwhelmed by the success of people on this list. There are huge numbers of entrepreneurs doing impressive things everywhere on a much smaller scale. It is possible for many more of us to be entrepreneurial with more realistic aims. Some organisations and roles explicitly ask for entrepreneurial qualities.

See Appendix 2 below for some useful links to organisations supporting young entrepreneurs.

4. Creative

Creative stimuli can include self-expression, interpretation, design, innovation and public performance. 

People in this category tend to be described as artists in a generic sense, e.g: musicians, writers, film-makers, designers, architects, painters, sculptors, illustrators, actors, comedians, choreographers, performers, craftworkers, make-up artists..etc. 

Some 'purists' and romantics might think that technology is not a central part of the creative process, but that would ignore over a century of progress in most of the creative functions I've just listed. Most careers exist in the creative sector precisely because of technological evolution. 

There is a long history of resistance to technology in the sector, especially in the USA. The musicians union in the early 20th century tried to block recorded music being played on the radio, later striking to prevent any kind of recording. More recently (2023) the Writers Guild of America strike caused massive disruption as the union made its case to prevent producers using AI to source scripts for TV and film. I'll leave you to make your own mind up about the future and the risk of AI replacing artists and human creativity. Personally, I am not even remotely persuaded.

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Most of us can be creative in some ways in our working lives, but it is quite another thing to explicitly make a career out of being creative

Some people pursuing a creative line may have jobs within organisations (at least for a time), but they are more likely to work for themselves, sometimes supported by a manager or agent. In the last decade, the phenomenal growth of social media influencers have provided new opportunities for those with a creative-drive, especially when combined with an entrepreneurial spirit. 

The so-called 'creative industries' (music, film, broadcasting, performing arts, publishing, journalism, fashion, gaming,  immersive experience, augmented reality, etc.) can seem very attractive to young people. The evolution of technology and media has repeatedly disrupted these industries for centuries and AI is just the latest example of disruption. The fact that the creative industries are thriving as much as ever is a testament to their dependence upon enduringly human demands, skills and values. The cultural industries (as they are also described) are as necessary today as they ever have been. They help us interpret our complex and contested world, reinforcing or disrupting our perceptions of what is good and bad, right and wrong, fair and unfair. Reassuringly, the UK continues to punch above its weight in many areas of innovation and cultural influence.

 However there are some important risks to be aware of (in at least some parts of the creative industries):

With all that said, the creative industries can provide rewarding opportunities to develop a career. They also employ plenty of non-creative professionals and managers who just want to work in an environment with artists and other creative folk. 

Summing up, my advice to creative youngsters is:


5. Service-oriented

Humans are social animals and most of us get at least some energy and satisfaction from serving or helping others

For some people, serving their community or looking after individuals is what drives, or even defines them. For these people there are some obvious career choices: nursing, social & welfare work, teaching, fire & rescue, therapy & counselling, customer-service, religious ministry, human rights & legal aid law, hospitality, etc. 

Service also includes civic duty in a more abstract way, and many people choose careers in the police, the armed services or in politics because the principles of service, public safety and justice are important to them.  

The ageing population means that the service and care work which requires empathy, social interaction and sensitivity to the differing needs of human development are likely to be in ever greater demand in the future. 

Of course being service-oriented does not mean that your whole job has to be defined by it. For example, if you are not a natural 'people-person', you might focus your energy on organisational, technological and AI solutions that will have the most impact in the care sector. In any event, there are many ways to satisfy the service-orientation stimulus without choosing an organisation in the service or care sector. 

Equally, if you do not feel especially service-oriented, this does not preclude you from choosing these sectors. They employ so many people in such a wide range of functions that all eight nutrients can be satisfied somewhere in the service sector. The important thing is to reflect upon how important the service stimulus is to you.

Service-oriented jobs rarely produce the biggest financial rewards. This is why it is so important to make sure that the service-orientation 'nutrients' in your job provide sufficient non-financial rewards.

Many people get their service-orientation nutrient through volunteering which can also help develop skills and network connections for paid work in your chosen career.

Leadership

An exception to this generalisation about lower pay, and one that often gets overlooked when thinking about service-orientation, is leadership

Leaders are not just ambitious bosses who like to be in-charge. Good leadership includes an element of humility.  Leaders need to see beyond their own ego and tap into a collective wisdom. The best leaders are often motivated by a profound sense of service, duty and responsibility. They unite people by:

Leadership requires people to dig deep, going beyond what others are prepared to commit to. We are not all cut-out to be 'the boss', but there are many ways we can develop leadership qualities and opportunities and to 'take charge' throughout our lives.

6. Influencing others

The main stimulus under this heading is the satisfaction we get from influencing other people and/or having an easily observable impact.

The motive may be driven by a variety of desires:

All sectors and organisations require at least some people with a flair for influencing and persuading. These are traditionally known as rhetorical skills whose ancient principles were well described by Aristotle (4th century BCE) as comprising three essential components:

In more recent times, data collection and analysis have also become essential components in the world of influencing. AI is transforming productivity in this field. 

The traditional career and job choices most obviously aligned with these stimuli include:


Social media influencers

In the last decade, as young people move away from traditional channels of mass media, a new career has emerged: the social media influencer. Influencers intuitively see the opportunities (social, cultural or commercial) in YouTube, Instagram, Tik-Tok and other applications, and build a huge base of followers.

Initially considered to be a self-indulgent pursuit, it has evolved into a more robust career choice which has taken 'old-media' by surprise, forcing companies to engage with influencers as marketing and promotion agents or partners. This BBC Worklife link captures this phenomenon well and explains the skills-set. 

Success in influencing generally occurs when combined with other stimuli such as creativity and entrepreneurialism (see above). The barriers to entry to this career are quite low (minimal investment in technology, no formal training) and as a result there is enormous competition. 

Success requires a certain mix of passion, authenticity, commitment, self-discipline and intuition to  generate followers, but the rewards for those who excel at it can be impressive. Although typically self-employed, social media influencers can often balance their activity alongside other careers. 

7. Research-driven

A career in research is driven by curiosity, the desire to understand and to make things better. This is achieved by exploring new ideas and possibilities and by solving problems through discovering new solutions.

Research broadly falls into two categories: natural sciences and social sciences. Over the past two centuries the natural sciences have generally been regarded as having more status than social sciences. This is perhaps because of so many spectacular technological achievements that have transformed human lives, e.g. in healthcare, industrial production, media and communications, transportation, housing..etc. The commercial potential arising from scientific progress generates considerable funding for research.

In the 21st century things are changing. The concept of 'progress' is more frequently challenged in the light of concerns about things such as social injustice, crime, mental health, climate change and other environmental damage. There is now much wider recognition of the critical role of the social sciences in finding new ways to address  the world's problems.

Research careers can be pursued in any sector, e.g:

The UK has an impressive history of pioneering research and development, and is still a global leader in many fields. 

Most scientific research takes place in universities or government-approved research organisations of which there are many hundreds across the UK, including all NHS trusts, hospitals and Higher Education institutions. Research also occurs in the private sector, often in partnership with research institutions. 

Think-tanks provide another source of employment for people who are research-driven. Think-tanks are research institutes that often play a key role in converting scientific research into national or international government policy. Whilst each think-tank serves a specific purpose, they all share a common vision to improve their respective sectors, as well as being sources of new ideas and research. Wikipedia lists almost 200 think-tanks in the UK.

Despite the huge diversity in research pathways across all sectors, there are some common requirements that young people should be aware of when considering a career in research. These include:

Scientific breakthroughs often steal headlines. This can make research careers sound glamorous. Rarely is it explained just how many thousands of hours of painstaking and often monotonous, repetitive processes have been followed to get to the point of discovering something which might capture the public imagination. This aspect of a research career should not be underestimated.

8. Serendipitous

Serendipity: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for (Dictionary.com)

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade  (proverb)

The reason for including serendipity as a label is that so many of us, at some point in our lives, find ourselves wondering what to do and hoping that fate will smile on us. Surely  something good will happen eventually: a lottery win, an unsolicited job opportunity, or a chance encounter with a stranger that changes the course of our life. It is a concept nicely captured by the 1998 movie Sliding Doors.

I am in two minds about serendipity as a career strategy. On a good day I see being 'happy-go-lucky' as embracing some of the most positive aspects of life: creativity, hope, imagination, openness to possibilities, generosity of spirit, finding the best in people and situations, keeping one's options open…etc.

On a bad day I think of the naive and hopeless dreamers; the starry-eyed victims of the promises of TV talent shows or movies with happy-endings; or of the implausible expectations planted in our minds by lifestyle and brand marketing. Or I might think of the age-old figure of the dissolute wastrel, wandering aimlessly and reluctant to commit to any goal.

To be clear, it is OK to base a career on serendipity, as long as it is understood that you have to 'cultivate' it. Expressed another way: people tend to make their own luck. According to Dr Christian Busch, author of The Serendipity Mindset (2020), serendipity is 'smart, active luck'.  'It’s when you see something in the unexpected and connect the dots. It’s different from blind luck, which you can’t really influence.' 

Many of the great scientific breakthroughs and product innovations of the past have been attributable to unexpected outcomes, but these things do not 'just happen'. They tend to arise because of the effort that has been put into creating the conditions where the unexpected can happen. For individuals, this typically means putting ourselves 'out there': meeting as many people as we can, letting them know what we are about, and taking action when opportunities arise. It's not easy. It helps if you are an extrovert.

So much of our lives are influenced by the unplanned and the unexpected, and we have to be ready and know how to capitalise on those moments. It requires spontaneity, positivity and an openness to taking risks. It also requires resilience, i.e. coping with disappointment when an opportunity you have pursued turns out to be fruitless. These things do not come naturally to those who are shy, timid, risk-averse or who like to meticulously plan their lives.  

In short, a serendipitous mindset can be a wonderful thing, but be careful not to make it your only career strategy.

Other impactful preferences affecting job choices

In addition to the eight categories listed above, there are many other practical considerations in the ways to differentiate job and career choices based on individual preferences

You should make your own list of things you care about, but here are just a few examples of preferences:

These are all preferences to reflect upon when contemplating what kind of work is likely to be sustainable for each of us in the long-term. 

We can rarely, if ever, tick all of the boxes for a perfect fit. Compromises will have to be made, so it is useful for you to have a clear idea what are the most important elements, and to prioritise. 

The dangers of job stereotypes

What do you want to be when you grow up?

This is the traditional question we ask children, to which the answer might be astronaut, firefighter, doctor, teacher, chef, scientist, footballer, popstar..etc, or more worryingly: investment banker, lawyer or accountant.🫢

It is understandable to focus on the ‘what’ of jobs as described by their function, particularly those that are very visible roles in society, or ones that are regularly portrayed in film and TV. The downside is that the jobs can be perceived as stereotypes, i.e. having the same responsibilities, management structures and personality types. Amongst the most extreme of these cultural stereotypes are:

Many such representations of jobs are terribly distorted. In general, anything to do with ‘corporate culture’ or ‘management’ (especially in hospitals 😧) tends to get treated quite harshly by screenwriters. I understand and respect why they do it, but it can be very unhelpful and discouraging for young people who are trying to get a balanced view of the working life. Trust me, business, finance and management can be fun and morally worthy! 😃

The reality is that jobs, even those with the same title, can vary hugely depending on the organisational context. Also, people can enjoy the same job, or jobs in the same sector, but for very different reasons. This is why you should not let a job stereotype define you or constrain your choices.

For example, being a lawyer can be a very different experience depending on whether you are a barrister or a solicitor, and depending on the field of law in which you work, e.g: family law, corporate law, criminal law, human rights law..etc. A state-employed lawyer helping someone get justice and supported by legal-aid is a world away from commercial lawyers with large corporate clients.

Let me give another example. Referencing some of the eight nutrient labels above, someone might be attracted to the education sector for any of the following reasons:

This list does not capture all of the reasons people pursue careers in education, but my point is that you should not leap to conclusions about jobs and why people choose them. Do your research, talk to those who are doing the roles you are interested in, and try to get some work-experience.

Once you’ve completed all that, think deeply about why you want to pursue that pathway. 

Dreams, ambitions and expectations

I am finishing this section with arguably the three most important questions that will determine your career path: 

In recent years that second question seems to provoke frequent arguments between the younger and older generations. Amongst the Baby Boomers (those born 1946-1964) and the subsequent cohorts, known as Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z, the debate rages:  who is the most fortunate, the most entitled, and who is having to work the hardest? 

These are interesting debates, but they are distracting. They rarely contribute to positive thinking. Young people today are challenged in all sorts of ways that differ from 1985 when I graduated and entered the workplace. I am very sympathetic to the new challenges. I understand the frustrations and disappointments caused by:

a) the over-optimistic promises of the benefits of a university degree which justified the taking on of student debt,

b) the peer pressure and FoMO caused by the unrealistic and unsustainable 'have it all' lifestyle dreams sold by media and consumer goods companies,

c) the seeming impossibility of owning a home and attaining the living standards of an older generation. 

I can testify, if it is of any comfort, that life felt neither easy nor affordable for many of my generation at the same age. We felt lucky to have a job, and we did pretty much anything our employers asked of us: sometimes in ways that would be judged unacceptable today. Financial support from parents beyond the age of 21 was much less common. We had low expectations of a life outside of work, at least for most of our twenties. 

Were those days better or worse than for young people today? Who can say, but it is really not that relevant. 

The changes over the 40 years since that time are a result of many economic, political and cultural factors. These changes have redefined expectations about:

Despite such changes, one ancient truism is as applicable today as it has always been: 'you can't have it all.' 

Only you can determine your priorities and decide what trade-offs and sacrifices you are prepared to make in order to 'live your best life'.  

I emphasise the word 'your' because it helps to be realistic when managing expectations. Whatever dreams people try to sell you, and whatever others may expect of you, just make sure you are clear about your dreams and expectations.

 Activity 1 

Identifying your career nutrients

Considering the 8 nutrient labels above:

Part 2 - Choice of economic sectors   (5mins)

The table above presents a highly simplified picture of the public (not-for-profit) and private (for profit) sectors. It includes some generalisations in order to distinguish features that are relevant for career choices. 

There are some prevailing and unhelpful myths about the sectors, e.g:

These are inaccurate and misleading biases. In my experience all aspects of human behaviour (good and bad) can be found in each sector in equal measure.

It is worth reflecting on the information in the table above to consider which aspects fit best with your attitude to risk, goals, preferences and priorities.

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The table below (courtesy of Oak National Academy) presents a common categorization of job sectors. 

It is over-simplistic to try to capture the whole UK economy in one table, and some of the headings (e.g. sales) describe skills rather than economic sectors. It is important that you do not limit or define yourself by one sector. There are varied and interesting opportunities in every sector, and most skills are transferable across sectors. 

There are many possible combinations. For example you can be a graphic designer working in an environmental science organisation,  an accountant in the film business, or a media specialist in hospitality. The permutations are endless.

You should therefore avoid agonising about which sector to choose. The career journey is long and can take many turns. 

 Activity 2 

Exploring the jobs market

Part 3 - Psychometrics

 discovering what drives you, and how you interact with others   (20-30 mins)

There is a branch of psychology known as psychometrics. It refers to the testing, measurement and assessment of things that are difficult to observe and to capture systematically. These include the measurement of personality and motivation

Psychometric evaluation is not straightforward in a school context, but it is another thing I would like to have at least been aware of earlier in my life. It holds the key to understanding relationship management which in my view is the most important skill we can develop over the course of our lives.

One of the best known models of psychometric assessment in organisational science is illustrated below. 

The diagram above (courtesy of The Washington Post) is one of the many illustrations of the model known as MBTI - the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The thinking behind it dates back to the 1940s and is rooted in the work of the influential Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung (1875-1961). 

NB - this diagram has a 20th century bias in its view of famous figures. So if you are under the age of 40 you might want to type 'MBTI famous people' into your search bar and find some 21st century celebrities who may be more familiar to you. 

Like many psychometric models, the scientific credentials and reliability of MBTI are contested. I include it here because it continues to be highly influential. Many newer psychometric models can be traced to the principles of MBTI, including the UK government's Skills Assessment tool - see link in Appendix 2 below. 

MBTI is a very helpful framework for developing self-awareness, and for teasing-out and optimising relationships and team interactions. It enables us to get the best out of each other by revealing and respecting our different stimuli, preferences and priorities. As long as you understand the limitations of such models (i.e. don't assume that they capture 'the whole person'), they can be a very rewarding exploration of human nature.  If you want to understand more, the model is explained under the heading below - The four psychometric binaries of MBTI.

Usefulness in optimising job or career choices

Personally speaking, MBTI was instrumental in giving me the confidence to change direction half-way through my career. Even so, I hesitate to raise expectations that psychometric models can tell us simply or precisely what jobs we should be doing. 

You may find online products that promise to do exactly this, but be careful. The AI they are using is only as good as the data they feed off. There are so many contextually variable components that contribute to why people thrive in particular jobs and careers. Making reliable connections between personality and job compatibility still has a long way to go, so for now the more reliable method is:

Usefulness in job interviews 

One particularly useful application of MBTI (or other psychometric models) is in the context of job interviews*

In interviews we invariably get asked the awkward question:

In the next sections you will see how our strongest personal characteristics can be both strengths and weaknesses, i.e. they are two sides of the same coin which emerge depending on the circumstances, or on a 'good' or 'bad' day. 

Your ability to describe your strengths and weaknesses with references to one or more of these models can be an impressive demonstration of maturity, professionalism and self-awareness.

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*Link to my Q&A template for job interviews.

The four psychometric binaries of MBTI (5 mins)

MBTI questionnaires are designed to find where an individual sits on a continuum between each of four binary oppositions. It then assigns one of 16 four-character labels, e.g. ESTJ, INFP.. etc. 

In my experience, the key to interpreting MBTI meaningfully is to focus on those areas where a person does not sit near the centre of each of these polarised oppositions, i.e. where we lean strongly one way or the other. This is especially enlightening when you realise what it means for interactions with people that lean the opposite way. 

The labels are explained below. 

Extroversion   -   Introversion  (E-I)

This is about where you get your energy from and where you turn to for comfort, or when under pressure. 

When developing ideas or solving problems, do you prefer to start by:

Being an Introvert does not mean that you do not enjoy the company of other people. It often just means that you can find interacting with people quite exhausting and need to balance it with time on your own to process and reflect.


Extroverts might accuse Introverts of being too reserved, or of not contributing to the group. 

Introverts might accuse Extroverts of being too loud or demanding to be the centre of attention.


Sensing   -   Intuition  (S-N)

This is about the preferred sources of evidence that you choose to rely on. 

Sensors (S) are highly observant. They either love or need data. They are pragmatic and like to draw certainty from clearly observable and recordable information. They like explicit facts and details. They prefer things to be described in a literal way. 

Intuitors (N) are more comfortable with uncertainty, contradictory sources of evidence and ambiguity. They prefer theorising and exploring ideas and implications through abstract concepts and by making 'big picture' connections. They are sceptical, critical and more likely to question data or challenge dominant views. They may often re-frame the question being asked. They often like to describe things in a more poetic or metaphorical way.

Sensors might accuse Intuitors of being overanalytical, unrealistic or of being dreamers. Intuitors might accuse Sensors of not seeing wider possibilities, or of accepting too easily the prevailing structures of knowledge and power.


Thinking   -   Feeling  (T-F)

Thinkers (T) prioritise the merits of an uncompromising, dispassionate, principled and objective 'truth'. They are more likely to be cruel to be kind, or to put the needs of the group above the needs of the individual. They value fairness and justice very highly. 

Feelers (F) are empathic and prefer the benefits of seeking harmony through reconciliation, negotiation, compromise and forgiveness. For feelers, when conflicting choices have to be made, individual people are more important than principles.

Thinkers are often described as cool or cold; Feelers are described as warm. 


Judging   -   Perceiving  (J-P)

This is the binary that tends to confuse people. 

Judging (J) means a preference for making decisions, acting on them and getting closure. J's like to have matters settled. They like step-by-step plans and think timelines should be respected. They may not like surprises.

Perceiving (P)  means keeping one's options open to accommodate new information or developments. Ps are reluctant to close down options in case more optimal solutions might be found. They like flexible plans and thrive on the opportunity to improvise as circumstances change. 

Js might see Ps as over-thinking possibilities, or as being indecisive and unstructured. Ps can see Js as impatient or unimaginative. 



These MBTI preferences are positively described in more detail on this web-page. It is equally important to understand the negative aspects of our MBTI profile, i.e. how we tend to behave when we are under stress, or in environments that don't suit us. This web-page explains a bit about these negative aspects with some useful labelling of the 16 MBTI types.


In summary 

These preferences in our personality do not typically change very much over the course of our lives. They might become either more developed or suppressed by certain career choices or organisational cultures, so it is valuable for all of us to consider how well-suited our personalities are to our working environments. 

There is no simple and rigid way to map the points of alignment and friction between MBTI indicators and the eight nutrients and career choice preferences above, but hopefully you can start to see how they are relevant. The key is to be self-aware and to explore certain aspects of roles when researching or pursuing job opportunities.


There is no ideal career for each personality type. The better way to think about it is that there are compatible careers for you. Knowing your personality type will help you discover them.

The other important thing to note with all of these approaches is that the types (or roles, colours and animals used in other models) are non-judgemental, i.e. none of them are wholly good nor wholly bad. Nor is one better than another.  The point is that all of them are capable of manifesting positive and negative aspects in different situations. 

The more we can understand, accommodate and celebrate these differences in each other, the happier and more productive we will be.

Personality types expressed as animals (2 mins)

Psychometric tools in a school context can be problematic. Using animals can be a more accessible way to promote discussions about personality types, especially for children.

Other measures of personality and team roles (5 mins)

There are many sources providing benefits to organisations and to individuals through a better understanding of our cognitive differences and personality types. I mention just three below: Insights Discovery, the Belbin Team Roles and the Margerison-Mcann model.  

If you are interested in exploring others, I suggest looking at the following two links which are explained in Appendix 2 below:

These links are also worth a look

To be clear, my purpose is not to provide expert insight, but simply to make young people aware that these are powerful tools of self-development that may be valuable to explore more deeply at the right time in each of our development journeys. 

Psychometric assessment of personality and motivation is not a one-time, fixed snapshot of who we are. Just as skills change over time, so can motivation and personality, especially with experience, and in different roles. 'Situation-specific behaviour' describes where we think/act differently in different contexts. For example, one may be chatty and outgoing with friends, but quiet and reserved in the workplace. This illustrates that any description of a person should be understood in context.

When we are young it can be really hard to identify our own values, strengths and weaknesses. The way we see ourselves may not be the way others see us. But this is where self-assessment measures that are linked specifically to the workplace can be really helpful.  Whatever you learn from such measures should be just the start of an opportunity to pause and reflect. This is the primary value of psychometric models, together with highlighting areas for learning and development.

I would encourage young people to explore psychometric models. It is best done in conjunction with a colleague, teacher, family member or friend, as it is in the process of discussing with others that much of the learning and self-awareness is created.  

There are plenty of self-assessment measures available online. They vary widely in their scientific credentials, but most at least afford the opportunity to reflect upon what you learn. Even if you disagree with the findings it can be helpful to think about why that is. There are several tools that can be accessed online for free, although you may be asked to allow the test developers to incorporate your anonymised data into the evaluation of their tool.

The 4 Colours of Insights Discovery

Dr Meredith Belbin and his research team developed the team role model in the 1970s at what is now Henley Business School. It has been hugely influential in organisational science around the world ever since. 

It is valuable for all of us to understand our contribution to the teams and the organisations we work in. By developing this kind of contextual self-awareness it is common for people to recognise as strengths things that they had previously understood (or been told) were weaknesses. This is hugely empowering and reassuring.

The Margerison-McCann Team Management System (below) is another example of the many management consulting products built on the basic principle that we tend to perform best when we have roles that are suited to our personalities. 

 Activity 3 

Self-assessment

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*This simple test might come up with some odd suggestions, but don't worry about that. Think of it as a starting point and be reassured that AI still has a long way to go in understanding the complexity of human beings.

The outlook for better planning and alignment of learning and career pathways

This web page merely scrapes the surface of the challenges faced by schools and young people in preparing for life. My intention is primarily to pique interest in a field which requires much more research, development and reform, and to encourage young people to explore aspects of their learning and career choices that they might not have thought about before.

There are plenty of stakeholders in the education sector who are campaigning on the related theme of 21st century skills. In particular they are rethinking assessment in order to recognise skills and talent more broadly, productively and equitably. 

Compared with when I left school in the 1980s, some good progress has been made, especially through careers education initiatives such as the Gatsby benchmarks established in 2013 which have raised the bar on pupil awareness of careers.

Sadly there is still much to be done to move beyond the constraints of our change-resistant educational model. It is a model that struggles to understand and to adapt to a social and economic world which is scarcely recognisable from the one in which the current model was originally designed. 

In the meantime, I hope my piece has prompted you to think more about developing self-awareness and about aligning your skills, stimuli and personality in your exploration of career choices.

Appendix 1  - Are you ready for university? - Four key messages   (3 mins)

Higher education can be a wonderful development opportunity for many people. Even so, it is important to understand the risks of going to university. It does not guarantee you a job, and many students drop-out before completing their degree (42,000 students abandoned their degree courses in 2022-23).

There are four key messages I like to get across to young people who are thinking about university:

1. Timing

Your learning and career pathway will evolve over decades. Study does not need to be all front-loaded, i.e. completed by your early twenties. 

For many school pupils there can be a high expectation to go straight to university after school. Government policy has promoted this expectation since the late 1970s. Back then less than 15% of the population went into higher education. In 2021 it reached almost 40%, but it now looks like that the trend may be downward*. Even so, peer pressure and fear-of-missing-out (FOMO) continue to be powerful (but unreliable) motivators.

According to UCAS, about a third of university students are mature students, meaning that they have spent some years doing other things before focusing on higher education. 

It is worth remembering that universities have become highly competitive businesses. It makes sense for them to exploit the front-loading concept. This is especially true when promoting what has become known as the 'panic' masters degree. i.e. postgraduate study undertaken to postpone the anxiety of entering the jobs market.

To be clear, your opportunity to go to university does not disappear as you get older. For many people it is better to wait some time before proceeding to more full-time study.


2. Reliable and unreliable reasons  for going to university

I believe that there are just two reliable reasons for going to university:

i) you love learning, have a strong interest in your chosen subject and can cope with the assessment processes (e.g. exams and essays), and/or

ii) you have a clear focus about what you want to do after university, and it explicitly requires a university degree.

Universities have no responsibility to nurture either of these motives in you. So if neither of them resonate with you, think very carefully about whether now is the right time to pursue full-time academic study for three years or more. 

You may hear from some people that  the main reasons for going to university are:

These may well be additional benefits for many students, but they are not sufficiently reliable reasons on their own. Universities are not accountable for delivering these benefits. Like everything else in life, it's up to you to take advantage of them. They won't just happen automatically by you being there. 


3. Return on investment

Investment in study and training is generally more rewarding when it is targeted and linked to experience, curiosity and ambition. This requires you to know yourself and what you want. By 'rewarding' I mean not only financially, but also impacting  your confidence, self-knowledge and wellbeing. 

Financial rewards are of course an important consideration. At the end of a university degree you will end-up with debt (current UK average £45,000). The government will never force you to repay this other than through a kind of deferred taxation, deducted from your future earnings for many years. Only 25% of students are expected to ever pay-off their debt in full. 

In the UK, the long-term salary premium of a degree has fallen** as employers look for skills which are not necessarily provided by university degrees. In any event the graduate salary premium is not evenly distributed. Many people who go to the best (or most prestigious) universities get a huge premium. Many others end up feeling that they have wasted their money. 

It therefore really matters that you go to a university that has a good reputation for your subject, or that you are very clear about what outcome you want from your studies, and that you really commit yourself to learning. 


4. Skills

The subject-specific knowledge you'll acquire by 21 is generally much less relevant to employers than the skills you have, and your potential for further learning and its application in their organisation. 

Broadly speaking, there will continue to be an increase in demand from employers for interpersonal and collaboration skills such as teamwork and communication skills, including oracy. Much is written about the high-demand for higher-order cognitive skills. These include planning (imagining future scenarios), brainstorming (including creativity), problem-solving, systems thinking and systematic decision-making, concept acquisition, and critical and evaluative thinking. On a more practical level, there are some really valuable aspects of applied learning which are generally under-developed in most schools, such as using spreadsheets to plan and optimise projects, or designing and building web-pages or sites focusing on user experience (UX).

These are the kinds of skills that may give you a greater advantage than your academic knowledge. But not all universities (or degree subjects) prioritise these aspects of learning. You may find that you develop them through other pathways and extra-curricular pursuits. 

There are many other learning and development options that young people and parents are not sufficiently aware of: higher-level apprenticeships (HLAs***), foundation degrees, sponsored degrees, vocational qualifications, employer programmes, gap years, starting your own business or getting a job. There are some useful links in Appendix 2 below, and I would encourage you to explore them. 

Taking into account all of the above, please think carefully about the timing and your reasons for going to university. The views of teachers and parents are valuable, but they are not always entirely rigorous and objective. Make your own mind up, and be aware that lifelong learning does not depend on going to university at 18.

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Footnotes

*To understand the historical perspective in more depth, see my summary of Peter Mandler's excellent book, The Crisis of the Meritocracy (2020).

**There are several sources for this view including: Is a degree worth  it? (Financial Times, August 18th, 2023). 

*** HLAs offer the opportunity to gain quality training and a recognised higher qualification while in paid employment. Opportunities are growing as well-known and prestigious organisations are increasingly looking to hire young people straight from school and give them high-quality training pathways. Link here to explore this option.

Appendix 2 - Useful links for career and skills development   (3 mins, without following links)

National Careers Service  - nationalcareers.service.gov.uk

This is a very helpful government website. 

In the Explore Careers section, there are 25 categories, each linking to dozens  of job titles, so in total there are hundreds of jobs described. 

Browse through them. It will trigger your imagination and introduce you to jobs you've never thought of. 

The site also has two questionnaire-based tools

*This short and simplistic questionnaire is a very light psychometric test, so don't expect a miracle solution. It might come up with some odd career suggestions. Just treat it as a starting point to prompt your thinking, and a lesson in why AI has a long way to go in understanding the complexity of human beings. 


C&G is a 140 year-old Royal Chartered Institute and charity 'helping individuals and organisations identify and develop the skills they need to thrive, recognising the ever-evolving links between skills development, social mobility, prosperity and success'.

You can search many vocational qualifications across many different industries to find out about the courses and apprenticeships offered by C&G. With everything from animal keeping to wind-farming, you can see the practical skills and theory the courses cover. Over 2 million learners gain a C&G qualification each year and vocational courses are highly rated by employers.

C&G sponsored the book Guide to Not Going to University, by Andrew Shanahan (published by Pearson, 2012). It is an excellent resource for young people and one which I certainly would like to have read when I was young.  A related website notgoingtouni.co.uk was created in 2008 to showcase the alternatives to the standard university route. 


Multiverse - multiverse.io

Multiverse believes that 'to build the diverse, equitable and inclusive workforces of the future, we believe there are three key areas organizations must focus on: widening access to apprenticeships, creating an inclusive learning environment and designing inclusive programmes.'

My knowledge of Multiverse is limited to what I've read online. I've included it in this list mainly because of its spectacular market success which says something significant about the positive cultural shift in attitudes towards apprenticeships by providing compelling opportunities for focused and ambitious school-leavers. 

It was awarded the coveted 'unicorn' status for start-up businesses, being valued at £1.4billion in 2022 despite its losses. 

It was founded by Euan Blair in 2016 in ironic opposition to his father Tony's policy (when Prime Minister 1997-2007)  of encouraging as many people as possible to go straight from school to university. 


Amazing Apprenticeships - amazingapprenticeships.com

This is an organisation tackling misconceptions and promoting the benefits of apprenticeships and technical education.


Office for Students - Guide to Degree Apprenticeships

This site provides a number of sources for those looking for Higher-Level Apprenticeships (HLAs)

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Starting your own business

This can be a very smart way to develop skills and to explore the world of work.

Much more could be said to school-age children about the option of starting one's own business. Unless an entrepreneurial family member encourages them, this will feel like a very scary option to most children. But with support, it can be easier and lower risk than one might imagine. 

The Prince's  Trust has helped over 90,000 youngsters start businesses and has a good advisory service: princes-trust.org.uk/how-we-can-help/support-starting-business

There are many  more online resources advising and supporting young entrepreneurs. Here are just a few:

Launch It  - launchit.org.uk/what-we-do

Youth Employment UK - youthemployment.org.uk/careers-advice-help/choices/starting-your-own-business

Fusion Accountants - fusionaccountants.co.uk/blogs/young-entrepreneurs-business-startup

10 top tips for young entrepreneurs

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Skills

Skillsbuilder  - skillsbuilder.org/benchmark

The Skills Builder Universal Framework claims to be the world's leading tool for measuring and building essential skills. Freely available, it is backed by 15 years of research, and developed with leading businesses, academics and educators. Their 2023 Impact Report claimed that participants made 2.7 times more progress than their peers.

Follow the link above to assess and develop your skills across the eight different categories.


This is a simple model I developed to promote the idea that competence in the 3 Ps (Planning, Participation and Presentation) has as much impact on succeeding in life as the traditional 3 Rs (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic). 

Jonathan Wheeldon (2024) 

Email: jofftherecorduk@gmail.com

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International