Bill Law's

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

As you may be aware Bill passed away on 8th April 2017 after a short illness. However, his web site will remain available for some time to come. If there is any information you require please feel free to download whatever you require.

Please note that all links to email Bill have been removed from the site and using the feedback form will no longer work. Bill's brother Norman is now hosting the site but is not connected with the career learning café other than to host the site as a service to Bill's clients and colleagues.

Email Norman

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



Bill 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

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



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...'