Excerpt

watchaSKOOL is a new form of career orientation at schools in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy that seeks to inspire young people between 14-18 to find a career that suits their interests. Within the framework of an interactive inspirational talk, and supported by video-stories of over 6,000 individuals in a wide variety of jobs a broad range of career opportunities is shown, together with the activities involved and how to embark on these careers. It aims to show young people that there are no boundaries to what they can achieve and that they should believe in themselves and follow their own chosen path. Since 2014 more than 80.000 young people were reached this way. Since 2016, the Umdasch Foundation has been the main partner of this project together with watchado.

General Information

Website

https://www.whatchado.com/en/whatchaskool/

Case Study Provider

Knowledge Innovation Centre

Name of the institution

watchado

Responsible person

Birgit Hartl

Contact details

education@whatchado.com

skool@whatchado.com

+43699 11282364

Other links to online materials

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yakihko253g

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7hB4ZR2Tuo

https://www.ali.do/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Kindling-The-Flame.pdf

https://twitter.com/hashtag/watchaskool

Geographical area applied

Europe

Place of origin

Austria

Timeline of the project

2014-ongoing

Kind of organization in which the initiative takes place

high secondary school

Higher Education

Vocational Education

Narrative, origins and objectives of the initiative

What kind of project is this? Please give a short description (summary) of it.

watchaSKOOL is a new form of career orientation at schools in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy that seeks to inspire young people between 14-18 to find a career that suits their interests. Within the framework of an interactive inspirational talk, and supported by video-stories of over 6,000 individuals in a wide variety of jobs a broad range of career opportunities is shown, together with the activities involved and how to embark on these careers. It aims to show young people that there are no boundaries to what they can achieve and that they should believe in themselves and follow their own chosen path. Since 2014 more than 80.000 young people were reached this way. Since 2016, the Umdasch Foundation has been the main partner of this project together with watchado.

Please tell us why, in general, this project is considered a successful one?

The project is a new, innovative and personal approach to career guidance that seeks to inspire young people to believe in themselves. Video accounts of over 6,000 different careers allow youth and students to get a clear picture of different career / job profiles and the career patterns / education pathways leading to them. Watchado also includes a matching tool that allows youth and students to identify their personal interests and preferences and compare them with the personal preferences of those individuals that submitted their career profiles. This gives them a good idea whether their chosen career would be a good fit.

And why would you consider it a grass-roots initiative?

watchaSKOOL is a project initiated in 2014 by watchado, an Austrian startup company.

What challenges needed to be solved in this project?

The project identified a number of challenges with regard to career guidance of youth, namely:

- the negative perception of career orientation and guidance

- confusion / lack of orientation in the labour market due to unclear or convoluted job titles

- intransparent career pathways

- limited information on employers

- high share of young people dropping out of school / studies / apprenticeship due to unmet expectations

- increasing youth unemployment

The project sought to address these challenges by providing information to young people in an authentic and innovative way about career opportunities and pathways leading to them. This way the project seeks to encourage young people to find out more about their career of choice or discover new careers they had previously not considered, but that match their personal preferences. This way the project seeks to encourage young people to pursue their dream and believe in themselves.

The project also sought to collaborate with a large network of partners from Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy, including Teach for Austria, Teach First, BIC and the Austrian Youth Portal to contribute to provide more transparency of the labour market and career opportunities.

Is this initiative based on any particular theoretical framework? Which one?

(Appendix) Is your intervention standing on its own or is it a part of a bigger and more holistic approach?

watchaSKOOL is part of watchado – a platform that seeks to match the personal preferences, interests and strengths of individuals with a job that fits these preferences and an employer that is looking to recruit staff. The aim is to achieve a good match between individuals, jobs and employers to increase job satisfaction and help employers recruit motivated staff. watchaSKOOL is a particular outreach programme targeted at young people who are making decisions about their future educational and career pathways.

Please describe the group(s) intended as beneficiaries of this initiative

Why has this group (have these groups) been chosen?

The target group of young people between 14 and 18 has been chosen, since that is the age when young people need to make important decisions about their education and future career. Through an interactive presentation on career orientation and the labour market, watchaSKOOL shows young people the vast range of professional opportunities, the activities they involve and how to get to the dream job.

Could you please tell us something about the relative size of the (of each) target group, within the school/university population, region and/or country?

The issue of student guidance is of importance in Austria in view of the high share of students dropping out or transferring from higher education institutions. In Austria about 52.5% of students who started their initial programme of studies quit, failed or transferred to another programme (Universitätsbericht 2014). Although a considerable share of these students remained in higher education, returned later on or where international exchange students, the high share of students dropping out (temporarily or permanently) or transferring to other studies is evidence that students’ experiences of higher education do not match their expectations. This shows that decisions about career and educational pathways are made based on imperfect information. Giving young people insights into different careers, the activities involved and the pathways leading to them can help them to make informed decisions and reduce student drop-out.

Which social characteristics are taken into account and what is the geographical area covered?

The project targets young people between the ages of 14-18. watchaSKOOL is conducting its talks in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy.

On which level is the project implemented?

watchaSKOOL as a career talk is implemented in schools in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy. The supporting environment, namely the video-accounts and the matching tools, are maintained by watchado, which operates in Austria. watchado collaborates with other stakeholders and providers of youth and career information at national level in the above mentioned countries.

Please describe the political and socio-economic factors that you believe have been important enablers for your initiative

Did the initiative have political support?

How did it fit with local, regional or national policies?

The Austrian government initiated a programme called 18plus Berufs- und Studienchecker (Checking jobs and studies), which is offered at upper secondary schools to support young people in making informed decisions about their career and educational pathways. This is done in view of the high rate of students dropping out of or transferring from their initial higher education programme. While schools do not have to take part in the programme, they do have to address the issue of career and study pathways in their curriculum in some way. During the academic year 2016/2017 about 60% of Austrian upper secondary schools (386 schools) participated in 18plus.

Who are the stakeholders supporting the initiative?

watchaSKOOL is supported in its mission by more than 10 partners from Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy, including:

- bic.at - https://www.bic.at/

- Österreichisches Jugendportal - https://www.jugendportal.at/

- gateway solutions

- IFT – Institute fuer Talententwicklung – https://www.erfolg-im-beruf.de/

- PSW – Partner Schule Wirtschaft – http://psw-berlin.de/startseite/

- School Games

- staerkenschmiede - https://www.staerkenschmiede.de/

- Teach First Deutschland - https://www.teachfirst.de/

- teach for Austria - http://www.teachforaustria.at/

The Umdasch Foundation has been the main partner of watchaSKOOL since 2016.

Are there particular demographic changes present that are influencing the project?

What is the institutional strategy and culture of the (educational) organization?

watchado seeks to match the personal preferences, interests and strengths of individuals with a job that fits these preferences and an employer that is looking to recruit staff in this job. The aim is to achieve a good match between individuals, jobs and employers to increase job satisfaction for the individual and help employers recruit motivated staff.

To what extent does the initiative have an influence on institutional policy (or potential influence) of the (educational) organization?

watchaSKOOL is a consistent extension of the work of watchado, since it seeks to inform young people at the point of making future education and career choices about the profile of the career of their choice, whether it would be a good fit for them and how they can pursue the career of their dreams.

(Appendix) Is there public support for your initiative and the issue it addresses?

The Austrian government initiated a programme called 18plus Berufs- und Studienchecker (Checking jobs and studies), which is offered at upper secondary schools to support young people in making informed decisions about their career and educational pathways. While schools do not have to take part in the programme, they do have to address the issue of career and study pathways in their curriculum in some way.

(Appendix) What other factors do you think have been important for the success of this initiative?

Please describe the overall initiative design and the methods and tools used to reach the goals

Please describe the specific activities carried out.

watchaSKOOL is a career orientation talk of about 1.5 hours by one speaker. It seeks to communicate with young people in an informal and authentic way by combining the personal career pathway of the speaker with the innovative element of the matching tool of watchado and the video-accounts of over 6,000 different careers. The watchaSKOOL career orientation talk contains four sections:

Part 1: Personal story and career pathway of the speaker (20 minutes)

Part 2: Insight into working life and career orientation (20 minutes)

Part 3: History and introduction into the use and benefits of the watchado platform (20 minutes)

Part 4: Interactive part of the orientation talk with a quiz and open questions by the audience (20-30 minutes)

What were the key roles (teacher, student, management team etc.) within the project?

watchaSKOOL is offered to schools for providing an interactive career orientation session. Schools can request the services of watchaSKOOL at a certain fee.

What ideas, tools, theories, models, methodology (etc.) have been used to reach the goals?

What are the final revenues of the project?

Please describe if your project ensured its sustainability

If so, how did you ensure the short-term impact of the project?

watchaSKOOL seeks to ensure the short-term impact of the project by communicating with young people in an easily accessible and authentic way by giving them a personal account of the career pathway of the speaker. It further seeks to underpin this by providing innovative ways of finding out about personal preferences and the career profiles that could match these personal preferences. The various video accounts of individuals working in these careers give young people insights into what the career of their choice would be like and what (education) pathways can lead them to the career of their dreams. Through the final interactive part of the career talk young people are encouraged to raise any issues they may have, which ensures that their questions are answered.

watchaSKOOL also gathers feedback from teachers and students on its project to review its impact.

And how did you ensure the long-term impact of the project?

watchado and watchaSKOOL collaborate with a large network of organisations working with youth and issues of career guidance. This seeks to contribute to providing more transparency on the labour market and career opportunities.

Has your project been replicated elsewhere?

Please tell us about the resources used in this initiative

What was the budget for the initiative?

How much did the initiative depend on volunteers?

One important element of the initiative is the video-accounts of over 6,000 professionals providing an authentic account of their career and the pathway that led them to it.

How were the costs perceived by the public/the sector/other stakeholders?

To what extent did the initiative achieve its objectives?

Please describe the evidence to support the success of your initiative.

watchado, the organization implementing watchaSKOOL, has received numerous awards for its innovative approach to career guidance. The organization has received the Austrian National Award for Education and Science, the UN World Summit Award, the Human Resources Excellence Award 2014, the European Youth Award, the Digital Communication Award, the German Price for Online Communication, the New Work Award and the TRIGOS Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

watchaSKOOL has reached more than 80,000 youth since 2014, and gathers feedback from teachers and students on its project.

Feedback from students included:

“It is difficult to get the attention of an entire school within seconds and to maintain it for over two hours. Many issues were raised (for example the decision about their future education) that many only think about and these were expressed explicitly during the talk. Now they have realized that they are not alone with their thoughts and fears and maybe they are encouraged to embrace their future plans and achieve them.” Katharina P. HLTW, 21

“I liked the watchaSKOOL, because it helped us pupils to think more about different jobs. One considers the future more in detail and the talk strengthened my self-esteem and self-confidence.” Rana C. BRG 16 Schulmeierplatz

“watchado is a platform that includes nearly all jobs. A visit on the website shows many interesting videos. That’s perfect to help in the decision making process.” Dennis K. Bezauer Wirtschaftsschulen

“For me personally career orientation is very important. One should start early enough to gather information so that later on one can find a job that is personally fulfilling.”

Feedback from teachers included:

“The watchaSKOOL is currently the only activity that caters to the needs of young people, their school life and decisions about their future career.” Christa K. teacher BHAK10 Vienna, following life streaming on 14 February 2017

“The watchaSKOOL is responsive to the pupils’ lived reality and opens up new perspectives for them on future career choices. They are encouraged to try new and unfamiliar things and to believe in themselves. At the same time insights are provided on the new world of work.” Elisabeth S. school of tourism Vienna 21

“watchado and watchaSKOOL provide transparency and ideas, are easily accessible and provide an incredibly broad spectrum of career orientation material – fantastic idea.” Mario H. Bezauer school for enconomy

“Career orientation has a very high significance especially in the education sector and should, therefore, be continuously brought up. Our target audience in the schools is also our future – our future employees – and on the way to the labour market they should be supported in the best possible way.” Verena T. BHAK Korneuburg, BHASS Stockerau

“Our students already have to start thinking about their future at the age of 13 and are, as a result, often overwhelmed. Young people engage especially with smart phones and youtube and that’s exactly what watchaSKOOL picks up on.” Arzu D. Modular Middle School Aspern

Did the intervention lead to any unintended (positive) outcomes?

What indicators (quantitative and qualitative) have you measured to demonstrate success?

The indicators to measure success are the number of pupils reached and the evaluation by pupils and teachers following the watchaSKOOL.

(Appendix) How did you evaluate/monitor this intervention?

watchaSKOOL gathers feedback from teachers and students on its project.