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3      Exercises relating to equal opportunities



Case study 1.


Allan is working well at A levels in computing, physics  and mathematics.  He has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair.   He is able to speak, although his voice seems rather slurred.  Apart from the use of his fingers, he is capable of little movement; he can input into a keyboard.


Preparing to choose a higher education course, he is considering the following career routes: 


ŸSoftware engineering                                                

ŸActuarial work in the civil service                                            

ŸTeaching in primary schools                                       

ŸTeaching in further education                                               


Tick the careers which are likely to lead to realistic jobs?



For each of the careers you have ticked, suggest necessary adaptations:















If you consider any of the careers to demand unreasonable adaptation at work, please give your reasons.













Case study 2


Geraldine, 45, has been working as a member of bar staff in public houses and clubs for some years.   She is considering applying for the post of bar manager at a members' club, which would put her in charge of several colleagues, male and female. 


When she telephoned a member of the club committee, she found that traditionally, there has never been a female bar manager at the club, but the committee is aware of being subject as an employer to the Sex Discrimination Act. One consideration, however, is whether or not Geraldine is able to lift beer barrels onto stalls in the cellar.


          Uncertain about whether or not to apply for the job, Geraldine has come for guidance.  What are the issues here and what are Geraldine's possible courses of action?  Which is the best and why?











Case study 3.


Mohammed is a refugee, originally from Afghanistan.  One of his sisters is also in Britain and is currently at home.  The other close members of his family were killed when a shell exploded in a market in the centre of Kabul.


He is still studying English, taught at a college on the other side of the city.   The inner city housing estate on which he lives has a reputation for crimes and high unemployment. 


He has approached you for educational guidance, having told you that he had heard that Oxford and Cambridge were good places to study.   (N.b. In Further Education colleges, this sort of enquiry is not unheard of.)                 



Discuss firstly how you might approach his educational question.












Bearing in mind the notion of barriers to opportunities, what do you see as the wider issues here?






















Supplementary questions.



Understanding of equal opportunities legislation.


1.  If leaflets relating to careers in farming are only being distributed to male clients, which law is being contravened?



2.  If one of the opportunity providers you have contact with says that he has 'no room for women at my plant', which organisation would be able to advise you?



3.   Under the Disabilities Discrimination Act, would it be reasonable to assist a new careers adviser with the following alterations?   (put a tick or cross in each box)


Speech synthesiser to assist a blind person to type

action plans onto the computer                                    


Adaptations of furniture for the user of a wheelchair         


Building a new room to house additional equipment           




Good practice in dealing with individual clients.


4.   When entering into an agreement at the start of a guidance interview, what would be the most sensible course of action if you recognised that the past behaviour of the client was one which you did not approve of?  tick one box.


Withdraw from the interview; you couldn't do your best

in these circumstance                                                 


Remind yourself that you have these feelings and do

your best to counteract such feelings in the meeting.        


Don't think about it, act the way you feel.                      









5.   If a client is from a needy background, should you, during the interview (tick one)


limit the range of career possibilities you introduce?           


always suggest that the best should be aspired to?          


provide a wide range of options and examine the

realism of the options?                                               



6.   When ending an interaction with a client, your offers of further assistance should not be influenced by your own preferences.  Which of the following reasons would be the best for referring a client with special needs to another adviser? (tick one box)


Your colleague knows more about opportunities which

may assist a person with those particular needs               


Your colleague gets on better with people with

special needs.                                                           


It's really not a situation you feel most happy with.           




7.    If a colleague mutters racial abuse about a client who is leaving the building, which of the following is not appropriate?  Just mark the box of the wrong statement.


Tell the person concerned that this is inappropriate.          

Report the abuse to your supervisor.                                      

Say nothing and hope for no further embarrassment.       



Exchanging information.


8.   When passing (non-confidential) information to members of your network, which of these should be the main criteria:


The professionals you feel most confident about              


Those individuals most able to use it properly                  


Officials in the  career service/college/D.o.E.                   




9.   Which of the following people would be inappropriate to refer to other professionals (or to have referred to you)?

Tick the relevant category as appropriate; people with:


physical disabilities               sensory impairment

learning disabilities               mental health problems

elderly people                     children


If you have ticked any of these, please state the relevant reason(s) for not referring.



10.   If an outside agency were to refer a client to me with a disability of which I know little, should I: (tick a sentence)


ask the person about the disability to assess its significance to careers?   

refer to a specialist immediately?                                                      

ask first and then, if necessary, then refer?                                       



11. The following categories are barriers to access.  Please give brief suggestions of ways of overcoming these barriers:


(a) The client is wheelchair-bound; the interviewing room is on the second floor with no lift or ramp. 




(b)  Your client comes from another country (there are no careers advisers available who speak the language).  What sources of support would you consider?



(c)   Name two options for working with a profoundly deaf person:




(d)   If a totally blind person came to see me for careers guidance, I would:


Refer to a specialist.           Discuss careers.            Both.   








Action planning.


12.   Given that best practice is for the client to write the  action plan or for client and professional to write it together, which of the following would be unacceptable?


Writing down suggestions and choices with a deaf person and comparing it with the ideas which he writes.                                                                 


Not agreeing with a client about a course of action, writing it down as part of the plan and expressing your own reservations in writing.                                                                                                                             


Writing down unrealistic courses of action but not mentioning your reservations, as an  individual in this particular position is unlikely to achieve the specified goal.     



Learning opportunities and outcomes.


13.  Which of the following would be acceptable when preparing learning materials?   Tick any which count.


Unvarying stereotypes of gender or ethnic minorities.                 

Written work assuming that 'everybody knows that'.                  

Highlighting cultural differences when relevant.                          

Levels of language which favour only college graduates.              



14.   In a group session, which would be an unacceptable way of dealing with a person referring to 'gay queers'? (tick one)


Telling the person that this was unacceptable.                           

Asking other people in the group why this should

not be accepted.                                                                

Ignoring the comment.                                                        



15.   Which of these ways would not be used, if some members of a group session were not participating?  (tick any)


Occasionally looking at the individuals concerned.                       

Referring reasonably answerable questions to them.                   

Indicating which individuals were not participating.                       

Carrying on and speaking to those who did participate.                









16.     How would you measure the following outcomes?


(a)      That delivery of services is representative of the local population.



(b)      That the service is seen as useful by the clients it is supposed to serve.




(c)      That the service provides advice is well geared to the current labour market.





Please note that not all of these questions have a ‘right and wrong’ answer.  They are designed to get you thinking in a situational way.  It is quite acceptable to discuss any of these issues with your tutor before submission.


Notes for further discussion:






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CareerSteer – career test for career choice