11th March 2016

Nicola Newman interview

National Careers Week 2016

Nicola Newman

National Careers Week 2016

We picked the brains of National Careers Week advisor Nicola Newman and asked her a few tough questions regarding the future of careers.

What is the best thing about National Careers Week 2016?

It raises awareness of the importance of Careers Guidance. Guidance is often confused with advice.  Advice is about providing information and signposting to sources of help.  But a careers guidance session will help an individual to explore in detail their options and opportunities.  They will be helped to see how their skills and attributes link to career areas and how to make their future happen.

How important are vocational degrees?

Vocational degrees are a vital first step for young people and job changers who are clear about their career aims.  They give students the skills, experience and contacts necessary to kick start their career.

Has the landscape of vocational degrees changed at all in recent years? Is a young person better off choosing something more career-specific now than ten or twenty years ago, for example?

Vocational degrees are on the rise, including Foundation Degrees.  These are a relatively recent development, they are two years with the option of a top up year to a full degree so can be a quicker, cheaper option.  Foundation Degrees are designed in close collaboration with the relevant industry so equip students with the necessary skills.  But, the world of work is changing rapidly and a key skill for all young people is adaptability.  It is important to learn career management skills and to develop the employability skills which all employers require.  These include being able to communicate and work with others, the ability to learn new things, IT skills, literacy and numeracy.

But, the country and the economy still need graduates with non-vocational degrees.  Careers guidance is about finding the area where you will flourish.

How important is it for a young person to choose a career in an industry that is growing rather than shrinking?

It’s important for young people to be realistic about opportunities and where they are likely to be.  A career management skill is being aware of and using Labour Market Intelligence and Information to inform their decisions.

How important are work placements and the experience they bring during a course?

It is vital for all students, regardless of subject, to get work based experience, particularly in competitive areas like law, the media or design.  Graduates from all disciplines must be able to show potential employers that they can be effective in the workplace.   

How much of an advantage is it to have experienced industry professionals as lecturers and tutors?

It’s important for lecturers and tutors to have an in-depth understanding of their discipline and the related industry, and to have the skills to pass this knowledge on to students and to help them make effective contacts and gain the right experience.  Vocational degrees are developed with employers and have strong links with industry which will include seminars and lectures delivered by practitioners from the relevant field.


Would you like to study for a degree whilst gaining outstanding work experience opportunities allowing for a smooth transition from education to the world of work? Backstage Academy’s courses are taught by industry leading professionals both in the form of course leaders and visiting professionals delivering regular master-classes to our very lucky students.  Find out more at our final Open Day for 2016 entry.

Planning ahead and hoping to find out more in the future? Contact us to be added to our mailing list.