Address the Needs of Each Student
1. What good looks like?
Career and life development programmes should be tailored based on the needs of each and every student, with addressing diversity and equality throughout.
- School’s career and life development (CLD) programmes should actively seek to challenge stereotypical thinking of parents, teachers and students (e.g. in terms of gender, religious background, ethnicity, family background) and raise motivation and aspirations.
- School ensures that opportunities, advice and support given are tailored to the needs of each student (including students with special educational needs, and at-risk students).
- School enables and facilitates students to discover their interests and needs toward making informed choices by means of career exploration activities (e.g. career assessment) and career tools to identify students’ values, attitudes, skills and build up their individual profiles.
- School should keep systematic records of the individual advice given to each student1 and subsequent agreed decisions. All students should have access to these records to support their career development.
- School should collect and maintain accurate data for each student (including S.6 graduates and school leavers in other forms) on their education, training or employment destinations for at least one year after they leave school.
2. Why this matters?
- Schools offer careers programme to broaden students’ understanding of careers, in order to facilitate students to make decision with awareness of their stereotypical thinking (in terms of gender, religious background, ethnicity, family background, etc.), and maintain positive attitude and the momentum to adjust their career choices (in terms of career-development direction, interest-development direction, etc.) with reference to their needs and preferences.
- Schools can also develop specific careers provision for groups of students with special educational needs (Yang, Yuen, Wang, Wang, & Sin, 2020) and students who are alternative path seekers2 so as to foster these groups of students to obtain personalized advice and support for their career planning.
- Through accessing to the personalized results and analysis of different career assessment tools (e.g. online engagement platform, VASK3 cards), students can identify their own interests, strengths, values, attitude, skills and knowledge, to develop their individual profiles and an individualized career roadmap for making better choices to plan and manage their own life journey.
- Keeping accurate records and data systematically for each student enables schools to trace students’ career choices and update students’ status after graduation. Meanwhile, students can modify their career roadmaps in accordance with these updated records.
3. Top tips for schools*
- Consider and address the chosen stereotypical thoughts (in terms of gender, religious background, ethnicity, family background, etc.) at the year plan meeting.
- In any stereotypical situation consider to integrate the elements of challenging stereotypical thinking and raising students’ aspirations whenever appropriate. Communicate and work with relevant functional committees to get the data of students belonging to vulnerable groups (e.g. students with special educational needs, alternate pathway seekers) in school and plan the tailored programmes which are specifically designed to cater for the targeted students.
- Choose at least one career assessment tool and prepare the relevant worksheets, individual profiles, and career roadmaps to identify and debrief students’ interests and strengths through the perspectives of values, attitude, skills and knowledge (VASK). To facilitate students’ exploration of personalized choices or targets about further education and work.
- Set up a mechanism to keep students’ profiles including the career roadmaps and developmental experiences, which would facilitate students to build up their student learning profiles (SLP).
- Set up a mechanism to keep exit data, including education, training or employment destinations after they leave school.
- Liaise with various stakeholders (e.g., alumni, serious interest devotees) to arrange CLD programmes with the elements of challenging stereotypical thinking and raise aspiration.
- Collect the list of students with special education needs and who are potential alternate pathway seekers from relevant teachers and communicate with SEN Co-coordinator (SENCO), social workers, parents directly to address their expectations to organize the tailor-made follow-ups. Involve students in the discussion process.
- Conduct briefing or discussion with relevant teachers to remind them to adjust the expectations and make accommodations based on the characteristics of targeted students who have special educational needs and/ are alternate pathway seekers.
- Arrange form-based briefing and debriefing to support students to formulate, review and revise their individual profiles and career roadmaps (e.g., using designated websites / links such as SLP, CV360). Remind students to formulate and update their profiles and roadmaps before deadline(s).
- Evaluate the support effectiveness with different stakeholders (e.g. functional teams/ committees).
- Use questionnaires to collect students’ feedback about the programmes. Arrange a short meeting among teammates to review the impact and implementation, and make recommendations.
- Collect qualitative feedback from other functional committees (e.g., other teachers, SEN teachers) and other stakeholders (e.g., service providers).
- Collect qualitative feedback to review and understand the use of career tools such as career assessment to understand if the tools are appropriately chosen to support students’ development of individual profiles and career roadmaps based on their needs (e.g., gather teachers’ feedback through a meeting).
- Evaluate the record-keeping system of students’ artefacts such as individual profiles or career roadmaps.
- Review the more effective channels of collecting information from students (e.g., emails, WhatsApp, telephones) to understand their destinations, to ensure the data is accurate and complete.
- Evaluate the increasing variety of career choices and trend of modification of choices.
4. Working with partners
- Alumni: Invite alumni to share her / his career experience in order to actively challenge students’ stereotypical thinking.
- Serious Interest Devotees: Invite people who devote in developing their serious leisure from the community, business, or school network to share their career stories (e.g., how their interests are built on their personal qualities), so as to facilitate students to reflect on serious leisure development and different notions of work.
- NGOs: Accumulate the list of NGOs that are capable to co-work with the school to provide tailor-made service for students with special
educational needs and students who are at-risk. Align the mutual expectations of the school and the organization on how the tailored programmes can be organized.
- Other Schools: Learn from other school practices, exchange practices on how to provide specific programme for challenging stereotypical thinking and raising the students’ aspirations.
5. Insights gained from the pilot schools
- Network with different functional committees to understand the needs and background of the students.
- Encourage teachers to attend training to update their knowledge on how to read and interpret the career assessment reports or briefing/ debriefing materials.
- Set up a mechanism that experienced teachers can coach or transfer the knowledge to other teachers on how to interpret the tools or materials or understand the updated development of relevant tools or resources.
- Work with SENCO to make use of the objective quantitative data (e.g., APASO II) to understand their social and affective needs and personal reflection.
- With SLT’s support, composition of career team should involve SEN-related teacher or assistant, to address the targeted students who have special educational needs.
- Use appropriate Knowledge Management tools (e.g. story circles, knowledge cafe) to enable practice-level sharing of good practice among teachers and personnel in promoting CLD among different types of students.
Dwyer, P. (1996). Opting Out: Early School Leavers and the Degeneration of Youth Policy. Hobart: National Clearing House for Youth Studies.
Task Force on Promotion of Vocational and Professional Education and Training (2020). Task Force on Promotion of Vocational and
Professional Education and Training Review Report. Retrieved from https://www.edb.gov.hk/attachment/en/edu-system/other-edutraining/
Yang, L., Yuen, M. T., Wang, H., Wang, Z. Y. & Sin, K. F. (2020). Assessing career life skills self-efficacy of students with special educational
needs: A comparative study in Hong Kong. In M. Yuen, W. Beamish, and V. S. Solberg (Eds.), Careers for students with special educational
needs: Perspectives on development and transitions from the Asia-pacific region (pp.313-326). Singapore: Springer.
1 In terms of school self-improvement process, schools are encouraged to set their own interim target (%) if appropriate and predict the
timeframe to achieve the BM standards.
2 Alternative path seekers: Refer to the youth who seek pathways other than the traditional academic tracks. A more positive toned name
of “early school leavers” (Dwyer, 1996).
3 VASK: Refers to Values, Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge. More information is available at the CV360® User Guidelines (p.11): https://www.