A careerED podcast

“Work is ‘decent’ when it gives people access to opportunities for work that are productive, and that provide a series of positive outcomes (such as fair income, security in the workplace, social protection for families, and better prospects for personal development and social integration).” (2018 p. 33)
Pouyard and Guichard
in Career Guidance for Social Justice: Contesting Neoliberalism. 2018

The concept

We live in a melting world, both literally from an environmental point of view, and figuratively. The foundations upon which our lives were once grounded are no longer solid. We cannot predict what the world will be like next year let alone next decade. Young adults today are already doing jobs that had not been invented just ten years ago; Children today may have to learn to exist in a post-employment age.


In this increasingly liquid world, the hard borders between curriculum subjects, life skills, employability and careers education are eroding. For me, careers education is education that prepares people for adulthood, and an education that prepares people for adulthood is what is commonly called education.

So, you think you might want to be a guest on the podcast? Read on...


Please have a read of this page before agreeing to the interview.


The word Kognoggs combines Cognition and Noggin (Head). It is part formal and part slang. It reflects how I want the podcast to be both intelligent, even highbrow at times, and yet playful.


Kognoggs also includes the cog, referencing a modern take on workers as cogs in a machine. The unconventional spelling (Kog) points to a “postmodern” reimagining of this.

About Me

I am Rob Cooper. I qualified as a teacher of English in 2001. I have taught English Language and Literature in secondary mainstream schools in South Yorkshire and Nottingham up to A-Level.

I have post graduate certificates in citizenship education, education for sustainable development and PSHE and have been head of department for PSHE, Citizenship and Careers.


I am currently a Deputy Headteacher in a Leicestershire special school for students aged 11-19. I am careers leader for my school. I am also a registered career development professional having gained a post-graduate certificate in career development from Nottingham Trent University this year.

Interview Etiquette

  • We will be honest and open with each other;
  • We don’t have to agree;
  • We can choose not to answer a question;
  • We can step out of the interview at any time;
  • We will conduct ourselves professionally and respectfully;
  • We will avoid talking over the top of each other;
  • If the technology isn’t working, we will stop the interview and rearrange.


By taking part in the interview, you are essentially handing over your audio contribution to me to edit and use freely in the production of the Kognoggs podcast. You are agreeing for all or part of an audio recording of our interview to be published as part of one or various Kognoggs’ podcasts that will be distributed via popular podcasting sites such as i-Tunes and Spotify.


I may use all or part of the audio recording of our interview in 1 or more podcast episodes. I reserve the right to not use the interview at all.


I will give you access to a final edit of the podcast before it is published. At this stage you can withdraw permission for me to use the interview recording or ask me to make some edits. I will not publish it until you are happy with the final edit.

Contact Details

Email: robcooper@kognoggs.so.uk

Twitter: @EDR_man; @KognoggsPodcast


As the main feature of each episode, I will offer my guest a playfully formal careers guidance interview. Kognoggs will be loosely themed around careers education in schools and colleges. It’s worth noting that my definition of careers education is extremely broad; for me, careers education is essentially anything that prepares young people for adulthood. There isn’t much that we can’t talk about.


Using ethical skills and strategies taken from professional career development practice, I want to draw attention to the practices of career guides and coaches and demystify what happens in a career interview. There will be some signposting of these strategies to the listener as I conduct the interview. Having recently trained as a career guidance professional, I firmly believe that the strategies are of benefit to everyone, especially teachers and those working with young people. These strategies have helped improve my communication with students, colleagues and parents so much. I hope that people with an interest in working with young people, teaching and careers education, will be able to develop their own communication skills, using the podcast as a training resource so to speak.


Clearly, we are not conducting a real career interview, so we will eventually branch out into other topic areas as the interview progresses. Here are some of the areas that are of interest to me. You may share some of these interests or have particular skills or experiences related to them that you would like to introduce into the interview. I thought that having some written down would help you prepare in advance.


We might talk about:

  • – The labour market, particularly in relation to young people entering into the world of work;
  • – The politics of career education;
  • – Gatsby benchmarks, either as a whole or focussing on specific benchmarks;
  • – Career Education and it’s place in the curriculum;
  • – The language and terminology of career education;
  • – Career education resources;
  • – Metaphors of career guidance;
  • – Hermeneutic, technocratic and emancipatory discourses;
  • – Best practice; or
  • – Shameless self-promotion!


The simplest way to conduct interviews is via Zoom. Zoom allows us to see each other and interact as normally as
possible and with minimum fuss and inconvenience. I will be able to record the audio, upload it into editing software and put your audio together with mine and then add some additional music and effects to produce a show of decent


We will agree a date and time to suit us both via email and then I will schedule the zoom meeting. I expect interviews
to last between an hour and 90 minutes.

Your contribution

If I had to sum up the purpose of education, I would say that education should prepare young people for adulthood. Similarly, I would say that Careers Education is about preparing young people for their journey into and through adulthood. It’s only recently that I have recognized that these two definitions are so closely matched.


I am now of the opinion that Careers Education is at the heart of all education and that all adults working with
young people are therefore involved in the business of delivering career education. They just don’t know it. So, if you work with young people in any capacity, you will have something to contribute to the career education conversation and that is why I want you to appear on the podcast. Your unique life experiences and voice will add to the wider conversation.


By the same token, simply by being an adult, you also have a contribution to make to this conversation. Your experience of what it is to be an adult and how you navigate your way through the world of adulthood is just as relevant.

And finally

I will do my best to put you at ease and make your interview a positive experience. You will be the focus of the show, so I have to look after you.


If you turn the chance down, thank you for at least considering taking part. The simple act of taking my idea
seriously is appreciated.


If you are happy to be interviewed, email me.