Careers advisers fear being 'cashed in'

Mary Fogarty
Research Officer

Careers advisers are being diverted into overseeing sports events, camps, swim classes and running driver safety courses, a Federation survey reveals.

Other advisers say they have been made responsible for VET and TVET courses which, along with school based apprenticeships, have seen dramatic enrolment increases since the school leaving age was raised. Several respondents said these courses were increasingly been seen as an “out” for difficult students.

These responses, suggesting the careers adviser role is being downgraded at some schools, came from a review of working conditions initiated by the Federation’s Careers Advisers Special Interest Group.

The survey was sent to careers advisers through Fed Reps in NSW high schools and central schools and drew 150 responses.

Most advisers took the opportunity to comment on working conditions and many felt there was an assumption that, without a full teaching load, they should be available for all sorts of other school activities.

Some of the more random roles undertaken by careers advisers include driving instruction and coordinating religious education.

Some expressed a fear that under the State Government’s Local Schools,Local Decisions program they could find themselves “cashed in” for a second deputy, a bursar or any other position an individual principal might prefer.

Others complained that they were never replaced by a trained careers adviser when they took leave or that replacements would generally be moved into covering the classes of other absent colleagues.

Several careers advisers reported bullying, getting excessive teaching periods and, generally, being under-valued. Some said this had led to adverse health effects or that they had subsequently transferred or resigned.

Opinion was divided as to whether or not there should be a specific role statement for careers advisers. Many enjoy the diversity of the work they are currently allocated while others, facing workload issues, say they would welcome a more clearly defined job description.

The Special Interest Group will seek a meeting with DEC to discuss the results of the survey, particularly workload issues.