Bill Law's
career-learning café

learning-for-living - life-long & life-wide
on work-life & well-being
for professional and volunteer helpers
in public service & social-enterprise

latest update

bill at facebookooooooo @billaw on twitter

e-mail Bill

Magazine - articles and activities Underpinning - basic ideas for the work Memory - key articles archive Moving on
stay in touch

café careers magazine

getting to grips with career issues in today's world
probe deeper

the underpinning

thinking & research supporting useful action
find your bearings

the memory

how we got here & what we should not forget
make progress

moving on

new & useful ideas for future careers work

bill law's

three >>> scene >>> storyboarding









under interrogation...

concerning his
involvements with
career-management theory,
careers-worker expertise,
the use and abuse of narrative,
what we should be doing
about curriculum,
& why he's pushing
critical thinking




Bill on theory...

about careers work as
matching & expanding,
innovating & deepening,
reviewing & reforming







Julia Yates
looking for meaning in
career learning


Tony Watts - the DOTS model


Rachel Mulvey - employability


Anne Chant - career learning


Emmy Anon - enterprise


Tristram Hooley - online career learning


Tristram Hooley - social media


Tony Watts - career-development theory









have your say
on the café
& its programme

































resources, articles & monographs

ten propositions in search of careers-work professionalism
monograph - pdf: fully-referenced defence of careers-work professions - the personal commitment and the organisational frameworks which support it - explaining disappointment with twentieth-century progress - offering a basis for an independent new start - enlarged thinking for negotiating funding, for research-&-development & for gaining the interested attention of clients-&-students - & of partners-&-stakeholders - no more postponements of recurrent fear - a new basis for sustainable hope - supports day-long participative workshop - key features, use in guidance & curriculum, & programme possibilities - new section on enabling questioning of narratives & on learning outcomes - designed to build a community of careers-work practice

careers work - distinct or extinct?
monograph - pdf: details how public-sector careers work will thrive alongside private-sector career-coaching - doing what only it can do, & not re-hashing C20th answers to C21st questions - we need a new start, from scratch - with stakeholders and clients the narrative is for navigating a changing, disputed and confusing journey - from careers workers the thinking is broader on psychology, more critical on economics, wider on social forces, sharper on ethics & closer to both curriculum and community - credibly defending careers work, re-imagining it, and evaluating it - organisations like the UK's Career Development Institute cannot escape the challenge -
you should have your say

change, politics & education
monograph - pdf:
takes a hard-headed look at how neighbourhood, culture, education and policy feature in how people manage work-life - it starts a new conversation, reflecting stakeholder rather than shareholder interests - it considers who shall be heard and who must be heeded - it re-defines the big society as civil society, acting independently of both political positioning & commercial lobbying - it asks what must happen if careers work is to be a useful public service - & that means building partnerships between educator-expertise & community-experience - it also means questioning dependence on doubtful psychology & economics - & it means making good the claims of social sciences & narrative thinking - it calls on the few educators who are ready for this, rather than the conscripted many who are not - the evidence-based argument is that the sheer complexity & unpredictability of navigating citizenship's and work-life's journeys makes a root-and-branch curriculum development urgent, even more so than trying to rescue what's left of face-to-face careers work - it confronts the evidence that neighbourhood, culture, education & policy are changing, even if some careers-work leaders appear not to have noticed

career management:
place, space and social enclaves

journal article - pdf: explains how geography influences life chances - so that winning-respect, self confidence & freedom play out differently in different locations - each becoming a social enclave with its own experience, culture & voice - & its own way of realising, or not realising, a stake in society - but nothing is fixed, all can be opened to the unforeseen - & that means working with what we once called social class as though each social enclave were a distinct system - the article sets out what this means for career-development expertise working with career-management experience

on-line careers work - hit & myth
article - pdf: examines internet hits which are what on-line careers work does well - & myths which mislead and damage life chances - shows how careers workers are well placed to enable students to deal with this - (1) grasp enables critical on-line thinking - (2) reach enables transfer of on-line learning to off-line life - & (3) embodiment embeds virtual learning in real-life identity - all show why all of this requires direct-and-personal contact

digital literacy - repositioning on-line careers work
monograph - pdf: teachers are not best placed to enable people in the manipulation & configuration of on-line devices - we need another concept of digital literacy - one that calls on what educators do best - & not least when helping with career management - the monograph dismantles the imagery of digital natives & visitors - it speaks instead of colonists, neighbours & predators - & it argues for the critical scrutiny of the relationship between on-line virtuality & off-line reality - that means that digital literacy is not an on-line facility with devices, it is an off-line capacity for probing what the devices find - & that positions educators as enabling awkward questioning - how can an on-line self represent an embodied identity? - what links on-line connections to wider realities? - how does anybody know when on-line searching finds reliable learning? - we need this kind of critical-thinking narrative for realising the full potential of the net

enclaves, systems and voice
monograph - pdf & presentation: part of the MMU's project on Place, Space & Social Justice In Education - shows how geography impacts life chances - & sets out how any place can become a bigger space - explains why it recognises enclaves rather than just localities - & how that serves social justice - it means working with usefulness rather than effectiveness - with exploration more than competition - with reliable process more than impartial content - & with the voicing of experience more than the engagement of expertise - the outcomes are best expressed as narrative rather than diagnosis - and both guidance and careers education need to make more space for all this - or lose the plot

three-scene storyboarding - learning for living
monograph - pdf: storyboarding is an interactive format-and-process for seeking meaning in experience and purpose in action - it offers a basis for life-wide & life-long relevance for learning programmes in all sectors - it has had a long and varied development, but all its features are collected in this handbook - it explains the method, illustrates the process, examines issues, sets out the theory, probes the philosophy, references the research, identifies the outcomes & suggests implications for policy - in a contents-list of almost forty 'nutshells' - all easily-searched - and all readily-linked - the underlying question is live and learn or live and don't learn, which is best? - there is more than one way to find out in this handbook

philosophies for careers work
article - pdf (needs printing): interactive examination of philosophies of careers work - in crisis we need to be clear about such, often unspoken, assumptions - use this to develop your position on a spectrum of orientations, from post-modern to pragmatic - all are invested, day-by-day, in the ideas & materials we develop - it's time to probe what we claim - to understand why we are contested - to enlarge our professionalism - to know what directions we conscientiously can take - and must now avoid - ...and, also, to give a person a reason to get out of bed in the morning

examples of three-scene storyboarding - narratives of learning-for-living
handbook - pdf: storyboarding engages career workers & student-or-clients in talking & listening to each other - this is a quick start to that technique - illustrated by twelve worked examples, each setting a filmic narrative alongside its expert case study - key design features help expertise converse with experience - graphics add to the depth of storytelling - layout shows competitive positioning and exploratory discovery - narrative imagination gives control of one's own story - enabling personal well-being while also enlarging careers-work professionalism - the handbook links to other sources on all these issues




get occasional free café reviews: e-mail 'yes' to Bill



no exit
few public services are more used to shifting politics than careers work - but few shifts are as radical as leaving the EU - there are no clear signposts to the agile but muddled refocusing of priorities - issues range from LGBT rights to the neglected expertise of young people - the citizenry needs uncovered the hidden back-stories of vested interests - & to be able to make good use of whatever bad news it finds - conventional careers work can't be expected to deal with this - it needs the reach & grasp of mainstream curriculum

what future for Europe?
there's no shortage of talk - much of it pantomime, smokescreen & deception - the outcome will most affect our children, grandchildren & great-grandchildren - it's a narrative, where what they find then will provoke the questions they ask about now - so how will careers work professionalism feature in that talk?

education & welfare
they are entwined - at times raising life-&-death issues for the poor, who are too often stigmatised as scroungers by the comfortable - neo-liberal austerity is sharpening these conflicts of interest - a twenty-first century professionalism must call on an inclusive civil society, strengthening working & civil rights - while enabling independent minds, critical thinking & creativity

careers-work leadership - a trio on trial
there's a lot to disagree about in education - with conflicting priorities & many ways of dealing with them - so the call from a prominent trio is for more leaders - each claiming to know how to find them - but do leaders know better than followers about what's going on & what to do about it - & anyway how do followers figure the facts, the opinions & the bases for action? - there's evidence on this, but it won't take the trio to where they want to go - even if they can agree about it - It finds reliable bases for action - especially in learning from mistakes

new deals for careers work
is careers work running out of road? - technologies, politics & cultures are re-routing the ways people live - so where is careers work to go? - the temptation is to revisit past achievements, but it's a blind alley - careers work is at its best when it re-aligns expert action to changing experience - & that new deal depends on local talking-and-listening conversations between educators, their stakeholders with their students & clients

holding on and letting go
probing whether embedding skills for employability actually hinders the creativity of ready-for-anything flexibility - the issue is convention or reform - which leads up twentieth-century blind alleys and which finds twenty-first-century ways forward?

why fail?
things go wrong, so we learn how to fix them - that's the story in education for citizenship, for working life & for politics - but why would people then embrace a myth & reject the reality? - especially when they are dealing with movements that ignore their experience, disdain their needs and deny their interests? - is it a failure of education? - can people learn to make good use of bad news? - & to re-write the narrative?

a glimpse of the future
setting out a polemic for careers work - compelling stuff intended to galvanise change - the early-days issues for unemployment, local government & work creation - provoking contemporary issues: is careers work an institution to defend or a movement for reform? - whose interests does it serve & what must it oppose? - why is there so little agreement about this? - it tracks the twentieth-century failure which brought about the twenty-first-century careers-work mess - for the now-and-future, will the last careers-work leader standing be empty handed? - or point to where careers work enables the independent minds, critical thinking & creative invention that makes for ready-for-anything flexibility?

objecting bodies
feminism raises issues on who-gets-to-do-what in society - these are careers-work issues - & this is a wave-by-wave account of feminism's progress - fully-referenced & linked, the account ranges from Suffragette respectability to Pussy-Riot shock - it probes how progress has worked differently for the rich & the poor - it documents the influences of the press, tv, the internet and Hollywood - condescending patriarchy, masculine backlash & political manipulation live there, and objecting bodies does not spare them - the account is peppered with engaging quotations which enable students & their educators to work together on what feminism can now do for objecting bodies

making the most of life's design
life design is a useful programme enabling people to become agents of career success in an increasingly career-challenging world - it's a vigorous project, based in America - the process engages psychological constructs to catalyse career development - it's good stuff, & with some European help it can be better - mainly by working on how career-management autonomy can expand this career-development programme - an expanded life design will then engage students and educators in new and more inclusive ways of finding out what's going on - & firing up a more complete apparatus for dealing with it

careers workers as agents of history
independence of mind, critical thinking and discontented creativity - how they are acknowledged, welcomed and learned from - when the discomfort of failure helps - and why regressive tendencies need to be met with progressive wake-ups - was there ever a time when all this were more needed?

figuring out the future for the careers profession
by establishing the facts, illustrating the thinking, the factors & the trends - & reflecting on what each means in students' and clients' lives - & only then setting out future possibilities

reforming careers-work partnerships
because its professions are facing make-or-break issues - & its clients & students are navigating unprecedented levels of change & complexity - this is a necessary scrutinising of the claims that careers work makes, the roles it has developed, the cultures it inhabits & the thinking it holds to - it points to untapped resources and links for enabling students & clients to claim their citizenship, manage their working lives & find fulfillment

catching up with career management - whose voices are heeded? what interests are served? & who can afford hope?
work-life needs a distinction between career development & career management - the former is what careers workers do to help - the latter what students & clients make of it - the two do not exactly correspond - & in a changing world we should worry when they do - educators & careers workers & their leaders need to catch up with the sense that clients & students make of learning & work - there is no single answer to the questions raised here - & none is simple - but any answer must take account of the politics of whose voices are heeded & what interests are served & who can afford hope

renewing the politics of education - how nations failed education - how cities liberate it - & how shock will set the agenda
probing what politicians do... & examining how educators find a better politics - probing whether people are fair to politicians ... & examining how educators scan their narratives for authentic voices - probing how to test for authenticity ...& examining how raising aspirations is a demanding test - probing the complexity for political focus ... & examining curriculum as community property - probing policy stories for their meaning ... & examining how educators' develop liberating backstories - probing why educators seize on shocks ... & examining how that connects to students in imagining new possibilities - probing what cities have that education needs ... & examining how student work with educators on making sense of experience

students - their educators - & the business-world - which way is forward?
probing whether there is an attempt at curriculum capture - no educator can afford to ignore that - exposing the doubts, the conflicts, and the role of a careers-work think-tank - showing how wider social-world perspectives find stronger bases for student-educator-employer partnerships - there are no heroes or villains here, just causes worth identifying and effects to be dealt with - explaining how genuine partnerships work best not on 'how-to-do!' prescriptions but on 'what-went-wrong?' diagnoses

what can politics do for education?
covering the bases on how politics & education interact, and don't - with part two leading to an interrogation of 'politicians', 'policy makers' & 'performers' - & a probing of the emerging case for educators to ignore state governments & find new friends

why the poor don't listen to us

who's that kid in the café?
identity & role in careers work

careers-work creativity - the fizz and the burn?




...'as far as your imagination &
commitment will take you...'