Looking up: A pilot intervention to improve the alignment of career and education aspirations

Year: 2017

Author: Berger, Nathan, Hanham, Jose, Stevens, Kate, Holme, Kathryn

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Recent research has demonstrated the importance of good alignment between career and education aspirations in supporting the aspiration trajectories of young people during schooling (Berger, Holmes, Gore & Archer, 2007). Poor alignment has been associated with more volatile trajectories compared to better alignment. In this paper, we present findings from a pilot study that trialed a simple intervention designed to correct misalignment between career and education aspirations. Previous research has shown simple interventions can have a significant long-term effect on young people's behaviours, especially compared to more sophisticated and costly interventions (Rozek et al., 2015). A questionnaire-based intervention was implemented in careers lessons for students aged 16-17 years attending schools in New South Wales. Students were asked their career and education aspirations and took other attitudinal measures. Using a randomization procedure, students with misaligned aspirations were alerted to the misalignment and given information designed to correct the misalignment. A follow-up questionnaire examined the longer-term effectiveness of the intervention. In this presentation, we present results from this pilot study, discuss the implications for careers education, and explore directions for future research into the problem of misalignment.