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In practice

BECOME Education: Career exploration

Summary

BECOME Education engages students to learn about themselves and the wide world of work. The BECOME program includes teacher-led lessons and a student-facing app showcasing over 50,000 careers. An intensive learning process facilitated by teachers, throughout BECOME students explore their motivations, interests and aspirations, and learn about the many ways people engage with work. Students from age 10 up examine their personal context and assumptions, learn to define aspirations for themselves and are prompted to seek out wide-ranging career ideas. They practice taking agency within an ‘experiment’ based on an idea that excites them right now, learning valuable skills for shaping their future life.

Published on the 16/05/2023

Launch year2020

How many schools are currently making use of it?51- 250

Other tagsFunded by government, Is informed by research

TechnologyArtificial intelligence, Social media

Career developmentOnline platforms, Management & leadership, Career conversations, Accessing information/guidance, Student portfolios, Preparation & reflection

Age groupPrimary (ages under 12), Lower-secondary (ages 12 to 15), Upper-secondary (ages 16 to 18)

CountriesAustralia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland

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Resource overview

Website: Become Education

Schools use the BECOME program with students from age 10 up. The BECOME lessons and BECOME.ME app may form the base of a careers education program, or it may be a part of a student wellbeing, life design or student futures program. Throughout BECOME, students develop critical thinking skills, personal and social capability, which means it is often integrated into subject areas such as English or Personal Development, Health and Physical Education subject areas - or into Work Studies subject areas. At each year or grade, skills maps identify curriculum outcomes and the BECOME team provides training and planning assistance.

Here is a case study video of the BECOME program in action: https://youtu.be/kkbUwPPeLbE.

Schools commit about 20 hours to the program. This covers the BECOME lessons and app, agency experiment (project) and final showcase event. Teachers facilitate using the BECOME lessons and student web app simultaneously, taking students on an age-appropriate journey to open up their awareness and understanding of their personal motivations, the world of work, stereotypes and influences operating on their aspirations, and how people define success and their own place in the world (in and outside of work). A journal and series of activities helps teachers guide students into the final 'experiment', in which students begin to take agency over their own future. Students define a question about a career idea that excites them right now, develop a plan themselves and find out about this career area through contacting a professional in the field, designing an experience of the field, or undertaking research.

Finally, teachers and school leaders have access to aggregated data about what career areas students are interested in and exploring right now, helping them to design careers programs and activities that extend and engage student interests.

Description of technology

The application used by students is a single page JavaScript application running in common web browsers. It is connected to serverless API that use graph databases for storage.

Version 3.0 of the BECOME.ME app, released on 15 August 2021, melds the occupational definitions of the May 2021 release of the US Occupational Information Network O*Net database (version 25.3), with O*Net version 22.3 and ANZSCO Version 1.3. Presented under a simplified occupation cluster-based taxonomy and further extended by BECOME to provide coverage of topical and kid-popular occupations, the ability now exists to make incremental updates to the system to remain current and relevant to the regions served.

How the resource makes career guidance more effective, efficient and/or equitable for students

Many career education programs focus on the traditional decision time for young people, in their final years of schooling. Yet research, including from the OECD, indicates that student aspirations can be formed very early, well before the teenage years. BECOME helps students from age 10 up visualise their future self, shaping ideas about work and life in a space that is unpressured and safe and that presents a vast and varied universe of careers ideas for their consideration. This early intervention gives students the space to learn and practise the skills they will need to shape their own future; it helps them identify and respond to influence and bias about what jobs they can/should aspire to; it shows them how to step into the lead role as they shape their future.

For older students, this pre-work before subject selection and pathways conversations helps them to explore wider career prospects, be more deliberate about their motivations and aspirations, and articulate their interests and definitions of personal success. This can radically change career discussions as they are engaged and often excited about a future they have designed for themselves. Students are prepared to design a path to the skills and knowledge (training and education) they will need to make their personal aspirations real, yet more aware of the dynamic nature of anyone's life and career pathway.

Challenges or potential barriers to use

Access to internet enabled devices. Digital literacy.

The resource is not free of charge

Schools pay a fee per student, per calendar year for the program.

Support for users

Some schools need brief support with log in, which is provided free of charge. All schools get training and planning support as a part of the subscription.

Further advice for users

Schools that see the greatest result from the BECOME program have integrated it across multiple year levels and as a part of the school's focus on wellbeing and student futures. Using BECOME early, often and integrated across the curriculum also resulted in a significant jump in student perception that school was relevant and connected to their future. BECOME published impact data from schools using the BECOME program from age 10 (year 5) and up for the OECD Disrupted Futures conference 2021 – a recording of the presentation can be found here: https://info.become.education/findoutmore.

Additional details

Has the resource been…

Yes or No?

Description

Link

…informed by research?

Yes

BECOME is explicitly designed to respond to several well-documented problems undermining young people's engagement and satisfaction in their careers, including OECD (2021), Dream Jobs and Gottfredson (1981),

Circumscription and compromise: A developmental theory of occupational aspirations.

Professional expertise and research of the team and advisors (Liv Pennie and Professor Jim Bright) cements the evidence base for BECOME.

The program incorporates constant feedback and development loops. This ensures that research and its application in practice meets the needs of teachers, students and emerging trends in the labour market. Current research and discussion is shared in the webinar discussion series, Reimagining careers.

https://www.oecd.org/education/dream-jobs-teenagers-career-aspirations-and-the-future-of-work.htm

https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1982-03363-001

https://youtu.be/xzE3PKo-LLw

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/j.2161-0045.2005.tb00660.x

…funded by government?

Yes

BECOME Education and the BECOME program is supported by the Australian Government Entrepreneur Program, and adopted by New South Wales government schools as a part of the Innovation in Career Education initiative within the Educational Pathways Program.

…recognized by peers?

No

…evaluated?

No

This resource has been endorsed by Korowa Anglican Girls’ School, in Glen Iris, Victoria, Australia.

Disclaimer: This content is provided by the submitting organisation.

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