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A tool for planning future careers

Careerpilot is a website aimed at 14 to 18 year olds in the South West, to help them plan for their future work and study.

The website helps educate teenagers about the numerous career options and pathways available to them both at school and beyond.

We have been working with the team behind Careerpilot at the University of Bath since the project's inception in 2009. Over the years the website and online resources have grown, being constantly iterated and built upon. After eight years the website is a very different beast to how it initially began life.

It has grown massively with thousands of registered users, over 700 pages of content and hundreds of HE and FE providers having access to add content to their own part of the website.


A new beginning

At the beginning of 2017 the big decision was made to undertake a complete overhaul from the ground up, both to the frontend of the website and the backend.

Starting again can be a hard pill for any client to swallow as, from their point of view, for all intents and purposes the website was ‘working’ and the cost of redeveloping a site of this scale is no small beans. However when the underlying technology is eight years old and fix upon fix has been put in place in order to hold together all the different new features, there comes a time when the future of the website needs to be reassessed.  After much discussion with the Careerpilot team we agreed we had reached that point.

As well as redeveloping the site to have all its existing functionality there were also some major updates required.  These included incorporating a sister web app that records students skills, experiences and achievements, as well as a teacher reporting zone and creating multi layers of user types and permissions.

It was a huge task and one that we have learnt many lessons from doing.

The new site took over 6 months to get to a stage when we were ready to go live. There’s still lots of additional features that will be added to the site over the coming the months, but we now have a website that has the potential to grow and develop into the future.

Some key features

Students can add selected choices from three different sections of the website. These include qualifications they are interested in, Providers they are thinking of applying to and job sectors they like.

It also includes a ‘skills’ tool where upon answering various questions the system advises which skills they have and how to use these skills in applying for a course or a job.

There is a comprehensive and fully searchable directory of all training and education providers in the South of England. Students can browse the map to find relevant institutions then click through to detailed information about that provider.

A 'Qualification Planner' helps students understand the numerous routes through further and higher education and a 'Job Sectors' section provides a fully searchable and content-rich section detailing key facts about the job sector in the UK.

As well as students being able to download their own reports, the site also has a teacher reporting zone. This allows teachers access to view reports from students of their own school either as a group or individually.

Careerpilot screenshots

LMI for all

Future developoment includes integrating LMI live data into the website to allow users to see high quality, reliable labour market information with the aim of informing careers decisions. The information will be used to illustrate potential salaries for jobs, future job openings and relevant courses for jobs.

Bespoke administration and CMS

Part of the complexities of the careerpilot website is due to the fact it is part information website (700 pages of content) and part web app. As a result it is a very unique bit of software, which demands a huge amount of fine control via an administration system.

Initial thoughts were that we could utilse a third party content management system (like Craft CMS) to maintain the content, with a purpose built 'add-on' to deal with managing all other aspects of the site.

The problem with this approach is that we felt we would be too limited by the capabilities of the CMS and the user permissions side of things would not be flexible enough. Therefore we decided we had no choice but create a fully bespoke system that would cover all aspects of administration as well as content management.

Admin system

What we did

  • User experience
  • User interface design
  • Interactive prototyping
  • Wireframing
  • Usability testing
  • Digital strategy
  • Information architecture
  • Visual design
  • Responsive design
  • Bespoke systems
  • Website development

The team have always been good at listening to our plans and ideas and developing them into a website that always exceeds our expectations. We are consulted at every stage of development so we really feel involved in the process and able to change and adapt aspects as we go along.

Sue Lewis - University of Bath