"What did you do today?" Why every adult should practice active careers inspiration with the young people in their lives

Our CO CEO Dr Claire Thorne provided some thoughts on simple ways that you can have a big impact on young people’s aspirations. Here she gives her top tips on where to start:

“Do you practice active careers inspiration? When children start to be curious about your job and ask you, “What did you do today?” don't just shut the conversation down and say ‘I do lots of emails’, or ‘I give presentations’. Instead, think about what interactions you’re having, who you’re working with, and why. What’s the goal? What tools are you using? Where are you working? What’s the environment, and your team, really like? And how do you know that you’ve done a good job, and how did it make you feel? Was there some place, something or someone that really inspired you today? 

“This could be around the breakfast table with a young person in your life, or it could be with a family friend. Anywhere really! And it’s never too early to start - especially as harmful gender stereotypes start to become embedded at such a young age.  

“Little and often is the key. If we wait to age 14, 15, 16 - when many children engage in formal work experience placements - to start discussing careers and pathways, and linking their passions to opportunities, it’s already too late. 

“So many of us ask children ‘what do you want to BE when you grow up?’ Children may not know the name of a particular role. Especially if they haven’t seen it themselves - in their everyday - or if it doesn’t have a uniform. Instead, try asking ‘what do you want to DO, change or build?’. Suddenly it’s not about a particular role or job title. It all feels less abstract. You will be amazed by their response and ignite their imagination!”

“If you want to take active careers inspiration to the next level, you can become a Tech We Can Champion. It’s free. And it’s a great way to spend your CSR / volunteer days you may get at work. It’s fulfilling, and enlightening! The programme is open to everyone. We provide full training and packs to deliver lessons to primary and secondary children across the UK virtually or in-person. Since we became a charity, more than 500 men and women Champions have completed the training and delivered lessons to over 33,000 pupils. It’s incredible. These are real-life role models reaching and inspiring children in classrooms. They’re opening their eyes to the opportunities and benefits of tech careers, and so often they plant a seed - helping to set them on a path.

“Our ambition is for our school’s programme, Tech We Can, to reach every child across the UK, at multiple times, at the moments that  matter. We know that repeated and sustained interactions have the biggest impact.  

If you would like to support us, email us at info@techshecan.org we’d love to hear from you. 

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