Your postgrad queries answered

How can I set up alone in careers guidance? And I want to study in Europe

Lead me to guidance

Lead me to guidance

Q. Having been a careers guidance teacher in a grammar school for 30 years, I intend to apply for early retirement this year, and would be keen to use my knowledge and skills within some careers advisory field other than school. Working for a large organisation and/or individual coaching appeals to me, but I feel I need the postgraduate qualifications that would offer me the skills and knowledge and confidence to go it alone in some kind of consultancy service.

A. There are a number of ways to qualify as a careers adviser. A good place to start is with the Qualification in Careers Guidance (QCG). This takes one year full-time, combining academic study with work-based learning. It's offered at 13 UK institutions and ratified by the Institute of Career Guidance (see

You could then take the NVQ/SVQ Level 4 in Advice and Guidance, or an NVQ Level 4 in Learning Development and Support Services. Both qualifications are gained on the job, usually by working for a company that is part of Connexions (see You could also consider working for Connexions and studying for the NVQ part-time (they may sponsor you to do this).

You say you want to move out of the school environment, but how about the field of higher education? You'll need experience and, usually, a diploma in careers guidance or the QCG. For career information and entry routes see

Gaining the necessary qualifications - and the added experience - should give you the confidence and contacts needed for consultancy work. Plus, maturity is a distinct advantage - it makes you far more credible with clients!

I want to develop

Q. I graduated from University College Dublin with a pass BA Int Arts Degree (German/Italian). I would like to begin a postgraduate course next year in social development, or environmental and sustainable development. My degree is not relevant to the postgraduate course that I would like to take, but I have extensive experience working with NGOs and I have also worked as a volunteer in tribal villages in south-east Asia.

University College Dublin offers a social development masters and HDip course. Do you know of any other university in Europe that offers a similar course? I would prefer not to be in England unless the course was very well recognised.

A. What you need is some careful planning and preparation. While opportunities for postgrad studies abroad are growing, finding the right course means researching both the institutions and the education systems.

There are some major differences to consider. Luxembourg, for example, has only one university (so courses are limited), while Italy has 77. Then there's funding - hard to find in Spain, easier in Italy. You also need to know how your degree will be regarded abroad. In Germany, the three- or four-year British or Irish first degree is not generally accepted for the purposes of postgraduate study: you'll need an UK Masters equivalent.

Your experience will be an asset, but institutions will vary in terms of how important they deem it to be.

You can find out the requirements of each national education system via the Project Visa website It's worth trying Ploteus (Portal on Learning Opportunities throughout the European Space), which provides information about learning opportunities within Europe, with links to universities. Advice on studying in mainland Europe can also be found on

But perhaps you need to think carefully about why you want to study abroad. Is it to improve language skills, for example? As far as England is concerned, both Oxford and University College London offers postgraduate courses in the field of social development.

Thanks to Mike Cox, career consultant at Graduate Prospects

Send your queries to Caitlin Davies to reach her by next Monday, 24 January at 'The Independent', Education Desk, Second Floor, Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; or fax 020-7005 2143; or e-mail

Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Supply Teachers needed in Salford!

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...

Supply Teachers needed in Bolton!

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...

English Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: ENGLISH TEACHER REQUIREDWe are ...

Supply teachers needed in Wigan!

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Due to the...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments