Career Connect is a charity which works with adults and young people to plan and manage their careers. Our work is about improving wellbeing and other positive behaviours which can move an individual successfully through key transitions of employment, education and training.
Our focus on wellbeing is developed from our understanding that information and guidance alone will not achieve successful destinations in employment, education and training. We are working to develop support programs that equip individuals with the resilience and associated positive wellbeing to navigate their way through the stresses and challenges of working life, the learning environment and key transitions.
We have integrated the concept of mental toughness into our programs of support. Mental toughness is a valuable concept in determining wellbeing and can be defined as the ability to work hard and respond resiliently to failure and adversity; the inner quality that enables individuals to work hard and stick to their long-term goals.
Research demonstrates that mental toughness has a significant role in the wellbeing of individuals and a sustaining a positive ‘can do’ attitude. By developing mental toughness we develop a mindset which supports positive wellbeing which has a combined positive influence on job retention, learning and transition into sustained employment, education and training.
We work with adults and young people. In particular, this intervention is used with those individuals who are not in education employment or training (NEET) and furthest away from the labour market and with individuals at risk of becoming NEET/unemployed.
Mental toughness can be measured in an individual and we do this using a psychometric tool which measures self-control, commitment, confidence and ability to withstand challenge. This generates a profile of the individual which can then be used in coaching and development sessions on a 1:1 basis or in group sessions.
This tool can give an assessment of an individual’s readiness for learning and employment. It is not a tool used solely to get people into work or learning, it is a tool which drives actions/interventions that improve an individual’s resilience and self-efficacy. It helps individuals to adopt a positive mindset and optimizes the learning experience.
It helps learners on the program look at how being mentally tough can increase their performance, their wellbeing and their ability to make successful transitions.
Our findings are that participants tend to assess and accept risk with a more positive mindset and are more aspirational and set higher goals. For example, individuals with higher levels of mental toughness are more likely to recognise a recruitment process as a competitive one; they will enter an interview with the mind-set that they will show what they are capable of offering. Those with lower levels of mental toughness will see an interview as a trial and therefore will not be as competitive and show less of their capabilities.
Mental toughness can be assessed before and after our intervention to measure the impact of our work on levels of mental toughness and wellbeing and the distance travelled of the individual.
- 70% of participants improved their positive behaviours (i.e. to learning and employment)
- 64% were able to acquire Entry Level/Basic Skills qualifications
- 51% increased their mental toughness/resilience
We are working towards integrating this approach with a career management toolkit, Carrus. We will also be focusing on applying this approach to individuals with behavioral, mental health Tier 1 or 2 and wellbeing issues.
We are most proud of the genuine difference it has made to some of Liverpool city region’s most vulnerable young people and adults, including young offenders, those with learning difficulties and those in or leaving care.