‘I’ve wasted my life on science’ – government online careers quiz causes derision
Tool launched following chancellor’s speech in which he warned that people may need to retrain
An online service launched by the government to help citizens identify careers for which they could be suited has been widely mocked for its bizarre recommendations.
Last week, the National Careers Service launched a digital skills and careers assessment service that puts about 40 statements to users and asks them to rank, on a five-point scale, how much they agree or disagree with each. Once this process is completed, the tool points users towards sectors and careers to which they might be well suited, and flags up others that may be a good fit – subject to answering some secondary questions.
Statements among those in the initial assessment include “I am comfortable talking people around to my way of thinking”, “I will get involved if I think I can help,” “I like to get to the centre of the issue”, and “I try to think differently to others”.
The tool was launched in the hours after chancellor Rishi Sunak gave an interview in which he suggested that, as a result of the coronavirus crisis, people “in all walks of life” may have to consider alternative careers.
- How big is the UK’s cyber skills gap?
- ‘The civil service needs to modernise’ – departing Whitehall chief urges officials to engage with ‘substance’ of Cummings reform plans
- Recruitment firm wins £4m two-year GDS deal to provide government with ‘urgent’ digital support
“I can’t pretend that everyone can do exactly the same job that they were doing at the beginning of this crisis,” he told ITV News. “And that’s why we’ve put a lot of our extra resource into trying to create new opportunities for people.”
But many using the online skills-checker have been bemused by the new opportunities suggested.
These include a humanities professor advised that they may be suited to become a “body piercer”, a neuroscientist directed towards a possible career as a DJ, and a barrister told they might consider becoming either a coroner or a bingo caller.
This reporter took the quiz and, after answering a few clarifying follow-up questions, was advised that there were no suitable careers in the media or creative industries.
The emergency services was picked out as another possible sector of employment. But, after answering ‘yes’ to the question of whether we kept calm under pressure, this area too was ruled out.
A number of roles in the digital and engineering sectors were instead recommended. As was a potential career as a paediatrician – although the lack of any science qualifications more prestigious than two Ds at GCSE level 20 years ago could present a barrier to progressing along this path.
Despite the widespread mockery and confusion, some users – including lecturers, university attendants, and actors – reported that the tool recommended the career path they had, in reality, followed.
UK’s top two civil servants should be handed more responsibility as part of drive to make Cabinet Office more effective, says IfG
Public Accounts Committee points to need for more funding and legislative changes
November stats show another spike in call-waiting times and new struggles with answering online and postal queries
Dominic Cummings-supported plans for a high-risk science and tech research agency appear to have stalled
Defence Medical Services (DMS) is pursuing ground-breaking digital, data and technology transformation which will revolutionise Tri-Service healthcare provision to over 135,000 Armed...
OneTrust presents the reasons why your organisation should invest in privacy management - and offers three easy tips for getting started
The remote-first world has seen email being relied on more than ever as a core communication mechanism - but with 93% of IT leaders acknowledging a risk to sensitive data, what steps should be...
Jointly, Equinix and Cintra enable organisations with mission-critical Oracle workloads to accelerate their journey to cloud, while minimising transition risks - here's how