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Empowering Futures: Career Insights with Mark Haviland and Nadiyah Rajabally

Mark Haviland is the Founder and CEO of Conscious Careers and will dive into the importance of young people picking the right career, how educators and parents can help and more with Nadiyah Rajabally, Head of Marketing at hundo.

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VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Nadiyah: Hi, everyone. Welcome to our first career conversation with myself, Nadia, head of market at hundo and with my wonderful Mark. So hundo is an edtech platform and we help upskill young people through our virtual work experience. And we have our career commentary series, which you can watch on demand on hundo.xyz. And on our platform, where you can learn about all the different industries and what skills, knowledge and behaviors you need. So Mark, welcome and thank you for joining us. Can you please introduce yourselves? 

Mark: Sure. So, uh, my name is Mark Haviland. I, uh, have three jobs at the moment. Uh, the first is the founder of Conscious Careers, which we'll talk about.

Mark: More today, but essentially it's a, it's a careers advisory concept that allows people to start their career planning with a world in mind, very different to the traditional form of career planning. So I work with schools across the [00:01:00] UK with that, but secondly, and I think just as importantly, um, I'm the vice chair of the marine conservation society here in the UK.

Mark: I have a passion for marine life. And the habitats that we all depend on, uh, and I help the organization as vice chair and trustee to focus on business, uh, government and citizen behavioral change to ensure that our oceans are as protected and as rich, uh, as they need to be. Um, but lastly, I'm the founder or co founder of an organization in Kenya.

Mark: Uh, Kenya has a small portion of Lake Victoria assigned to it. And on that. Uh, on that lake is an island called Mofangano, and we run a community based organization that helps the local community with health care, education, and environmental restoration. So those are the three things that I do, having spent many years in corporate life prior to that.

Mark: Uh, two years ago, I finished my corporate life, and I had spent many very happy years with, with Disney, uh, working in the UK. Tokyo and Paris. Uh, I then moved to CNN, the news organization where I worked on their international platforms and marketing and communications and commerce. And then more recently, uh, 10 years with Rakuten, uh, a large Japanese technology company, um, that again was a real insight into global business.

Mark: Finished those three and then started off. My independent career with career, conscious careers, marine world and Kenya. 

Nadiyah: Wow. Sounds amazing. So what started conscious careers and where do you see the future for it? Why is it so important to have this? 

Mark: So when I left Rakuten, I, as many people do. Um, when they essentially go on a sabbatical or want to career change themselves, I went into schools and it didn't surprise me that lots hadn't changed.

Mark: It did surprise me how much hadn't changed. And it was particularly striking how. Immovable career guidance has become how unchanged, how ultimately irrelevant much of the career guidance our kids are getting today, how irrelevant it is compared to the environment that we're living in the environment, the economy, society, the business has changed unrecognizably in the last few years, and it's changing at a faster pace than we've Yeah, the career guidance, let alone the education system, which itself hasn't changed, but career guidance isn't relevant anymore.

Mark: And for many people, university isn't necessarily relevant anymore. And so what I wanted to do was help the careers. guidance counselors, the careers teams in schools and college give kids a little bit more of a relevant insight, not only relevant to what's going on in the world, but optimistic. There are too many negative tones about what the world is experiencing at the moment.

Mark: And let's not pretend it a lot, a lot of good things are going on. There are a lot of challenges that people face and that we will face. The young will face. And there are some really serious issues that we need to address, but that's no reason to guide our children to become pessimists and, uh, and to have a negative view of the future.

Mark: We need them to be optimistic. So Conscious Careers is about creating optimism and confidence in our youth so that they can, they can be curious enough to design. careers that not only work for them, but work for their community and the world as well. I 

Nadiyah: know. Definitely. And that's so important. So what feedback have you had 

Mark: so far?

Mark: So one of the reasons that I do this is because I love spending time in schools. I've realized it's an untapped in passion that I have. So I love spending time with, with kids of any age groups from six to 660 from, um, from 13 years old to 22 years old, talking about what's going on in the world. And seeing the change from the beginning of the conversation to the end of the conversation, no matter how long that is, a whole day or just an hour, to see the eyes light up, to see there is something to look forward to, to see there are more ideas than they thought of what they could be doing with their careers, the problems that they'd like to be, um, be part of solving, the solutions that they would like to create, the wonderful ideas that they'd like to be a part of, uh, the feedback on the, on the looks of their faces.

Mark: It is an inspiring conversation. And the great thing is, it's not me talking. It's me drawing out of them the ideas that they have. Giving them some insights, of course, but the, but the bottom line, the feedback is great from the kids and the teachers are starting to ask how they can incorporate this in their lessons.

Mark: These, these real world, real life ideas that need to be associated with maths and history and geography and the sciences and the arts. How can they turn those subjects into applicable subjects that the kids can then go and use in positive ways? in their careers. So the feedback so far has been really positive.

Nadiyah: Well, that's great. So what challenges do you see in the education system right 

Mark: now? So several challenges. Firstly, that the system hasn't changed in well over 100 years, if not longer, certainly in the UK around the world, there are different challenges. Accessibility to education is probably one of the biggest global problems with when it with regards education.

Mark: Teachers around the world generally are very respected, but that level of respect diminishes in certain countries, and it certainly seems to be the case in the UK. So I think there's a problem of accessibility, there's a problem of culture of acceptance and respectability and credibility amongst the profession.

Mark: This isn't any old job. This is the most important job in the world. And we need to give teachers who are Have so many systematic things they have to do, so much admin, so much routine, uh, too much to be the inspirational advisors and guides and career guides that they want to be. We, I think we'd all, we, we all have certain teachers that we remember in our lives that really sparked an idea of optimism and, and set us off on a path.

Mark: We need more of those. We need teachers to become those. And I think the last couple of things that I'd point out about the current system, firstly, is it, it is, it is dictated by a short-term political. It's become a political football and there's no way that we can have long term sustainable change if it becomes a political conversation and it becomes a reason to elect a certain party.

Mark: We need to remove it from the political discussion. It needs a long term, 30 50 year plan. And lastly, we should move away from the subject based learning, to interdisciplinary learning. Instead of learning just about geography and maths and sciences, all, in their own right, useful. But never do we experience those in isolation.

Mark: We experience them in an interdisciplinary approach. So we want kids to be able to use maths and history of science and understanding of geography in order to solve everyday problems in order in order to live an everyday life that is both supportive of them, but also supportive of their community. So the interdisciplinary approach, I think, is I think it's something really achievable.

Mark: And there are some organizations like the London Interdisciplinary School. It's already well into trialing this and proving its value. So those are a few things that I would change. 

Nadiyah: Cool. So what advice would you give students watching this today? 

Mark: So, uh, keep working. Work hard, don't give up. But I think there are a couple of things that really stand out for me.

Mark: Firstly is this idea that we are taught to believe that if you have the answers, you'll go far. Whereas in fact, I think if you ask the right questions that you'll go far. I think we all know people who, who think they have all the answers. That are always the best people to spend time with. Um, but actually we love spending time with people who have great questions and the more questions that you ask, the more inclusive you are of those around you.

Mark: Cause none of us succeed alone. We all succeed because of a community that we build around us. And if you're inquisitive about the people, the places, the ideas around you, not only do you draw them in and make them part of your lives and actually create a support network through that. through those questions, but you also, of course, learn and the people who ask questions, learn the people who ask questions become adaptable.

Mark: The people who ask questions end up being the real success stories, be it on a community level, on a personal mental health level, on a corporate level, great questions lead to great careers. I guess the other piece of advice I'd give is, you know, be careful who you hang out with. You hang out with great communicators.

Mark: You'll become a great communicator. You hang out with somebody who's kind, or people who are kind, then you'll become kind. If you hang out with people with great traits, you yourself will have great traits. So whatever you learn, whatever school you go to, whether you go to university or not, you hang out with people with the kind of traits that you respect and you know the world needs, you'll become somebody the world needs.

Mark: Yeah, 

Nadiyah: I definitely agree. Your community, people you hang around with, is very important. So what advice would you give teachers watching 

Mark: this? So my dad was a teacher, uh, so that's close to my heart. And having spent more time in class now, I understand his life even more. I've always respected him as somebody who really drew ideas and capabilities out of children.

Mark: And I think maybe that's something that we've forgotten in, in, in teaching. It's not about promoting or broadcasting. It's about drawing out brilliance. Um, and I think, you know, given the opportunity, teachers and parents. Can be those optimistic guardians of the mental health and the, and the careers of, uh, of individuals.

Mark: It's not just about the grade. Um, I've got two sons and I've, you know, being a parent is hard. It really is. I'm being a teacher of a whole bunch of kids is hard. Um, so I would just, I would advise them that that the parents and the system, you know, should support them. ever more than they do today and to keep going because there is nothing more important in life than a teacher.

Mark: And that's in their heart what teachers should know. And if they know that there is nothing more in life than a teacher and they know that doing a really valuable job, no matter how hard it is, they'll be brilliant teachers. Definitely. 

Nadiyah: No, definitely. Like teachers and parents, I think it's a hard job being them and just making sure you get the right advice for the right people.

Nadiyah: And like you said, for students, making sure they surround themselves with good people. What is one key advice that you would give our viewers 

Mark: today? So my last piece of advice that I'd give, I've got so many, but I've learned this from schools. Uh, it's this idea of trade first. A trade first is an idea I developed essentially.

Mark: For that first step you take after school or university, we all hear about kids saying, Oh, what am I going to do? And my first job is going to dictate my career. And I'm like, God, this is stressy. Should it be about career or should I just go and get money? Here's, here's a guiding idea that might help. And it's this idea of trade first.

Mark: Now you either learn a trade first, a trade, whether it's coding, whether it's building tables, whether it's painting, whether it's decorating, whether it's plumbing, construction, just learn a trade. Six months, a year, three years, whatever it is, learn a trade. That trade will inform you for the rest of your life.

Mark: You don't have to stay with it, but you've learned something. A trade. The other option is to learn to trade. And this is the idea of learning to deal with people. So whatever the job is, and it might be catering, it might be working in a shop. It might be whatever helps you trade with people and it might be sales.

Mark: It might be customer service, but understand that the relationship you have with people and how you develop relationship is. Fundamental to how you succeed, however you define success in your life. And if you learn a trade. Or learn to trade in your first job, six months, a year, two years, you've given yourself a really solid foundation for a very healthy career.

Nadiyah: Well, thank you, Mark, for joining us. Where can our viewers contact you? Where's the best place? 

Mark: So www. consciouscareers. co. uk Uh, is, uh, the website, all the information is there. Um, but also there is information about Kenya and about the Marine Conservation Society there. Mark Haviland on LinkedIn. Find me anywhere.

Mark: Happy to talk. Cool. 

Nadiyah: Thank you so much, Mark. It's been lovely talking to you and having you as our first career conversation guest. So everyone, follow us at hundo. xyz and watch more on hundo. Obviously, follow us on our socials and our newsletter. And we hope to see you guys soon. Thank you.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Nadiyah: Hi, everyone. Welcome to our first career conversation with myself, Nadia, head of market at hundo and with my wonderful Mark. So hundo is an edtech platform and we help upskill young people through our virtual work experience. And we have our career commentary series, which you can watch on demand on hundo.xyz. And on our platform, where you can learn about all the different industries and what skills, knowledge and behaviors you need. So Mark, welcome and thank you for joining us. Can you please introduce yourselves? 

Mark: Sure. So, uh, my name is Mark Haviland. I, uh, have three jobs at the moment. Uh, the first is the founder of Conscious Careers, which we'll talk about.

Mark: More today, but essentially it's a, it's a careers advisory concept that allows people to start their career planning with a world in mind, very different to the traditional form of career planning. So I work with schools across the [00:01:00] UK with that, but secondly, and I think just as importantly, um, I'm the vice chair of the marine conservation society here in the UK.

Mark: I have a passion for marine life. And the habitats that we all depend on, uh, and I help the organization as vice chair and trustee to focus on business, uh, government and citizen behavioral change to ensure that our oceans are as protected and as rich, uh, as they need to be. Um, but lastly, I'm the founder or co founder of an organization in Kenya.

Mark: Uh, Kenya has a small portion of Lake Victoria assigned to it. And on that. Uh, on that lake is an island called Mofangano, and we run a community based organization that helps the local community with health care, education, and environmental restoration. So those are the three things that I do, having spent many years in corporate life prior to that.

Mark: Uh, two years ago, I finished my corporate life, and I had spent many very happy years with, with Disney, uh, working in the UK. Tokyo and Paris. Uh, I then moved to CNN, the news organization where I worked on their international platforms and marketing and communications and commerce. And then more recently, uh, 10 years with Rakuten, uh, a large Japanese technology company, um, that again was a real insight into global business.

Mark: Finished those three and then started off. My independent career with career, conscious careers, marine world and Kenya. 

Nadiyah: Wow. Sounds amazing. So what started conscious careers and where do you see the future for it? Why is it so important to have this? 

Mark: So when I left Rakuten, I, as many people do. Um, when they essentially go on a sabbatical or want to career change themselves, I went into schools and it didn't surprise me that lots hadn't changed.

Mark: It did surprise me how much hadn't changed. And it was particularly striking how. Immovable career guidance has become how unchanged, how ultimately irrelevant much of the career guidance our kids are getting today, how irrelevant it is compared to the environment that we're living in the environment, the economy, society, the business has changed unrecognizably in the last few years, and it's changing at a faster pace than we've Yeah, the career guidance, let alone the education system, which itself hasn't changed, but career guidance isn't relevant anymore.

Mark: And for many people, university isn't necessarily relevant anymore. And so what I wanted to do was help the careers. guidance counselors, the careers teams in schools and college give kids a little bit more of a relevant insight, not only relevant to what's going on in the world, but optimistic. There are too many negative tones about what the world is experiencing at the moment.

Mark: And let's not pretend it a lot, a lot of good things are going on. There are a lot of challenges that people face and that we will face. The young will face. And there are some really serious issues that we need to address, but that's no reason to guide our children to become pessimists and, uh, and to have a negative view of the future.

Mark: We need them to be optimistic. So Conscious Careers is about creating optimism and confidence in our youth so that they can, they can be curious enough to design. careers that not only work for them, but work for their community and the world as well. I 

Nadiyah: know. Definitely. And that's so important. So what feedback have you had 

Mark: so far?

Mark: So one of the reasons that I do this is because I love spending time in schools. I've realized it's an untapped in passion that I have. So I love spending time with, with kids of any age groups from six to 660 from, um, from 13 years old to 22 years old, talking about what's going on in the world. And seeing the change from the beginning of the conversation to the end of the conversation, no matter how long that is, a whole day or just an hour, to see the eyes light up, to see there is something to look forward to, to see there are more ideas than they thought of what they could be doing with their careers, the problems that they'd like to be, um, be part of solving, the solutions that they would like to create, the wonderful ideas that they'd like to be a part of, uh, the feedback on the, on the looks of their faces.

Mark: It is an inspiring conversation. And the great thing is, it's not me talking. It's me drawing out of them the ideas that they have. Giving them some insights, of course, but the, but the bottom line, the feedback is great from the kids and the teachers are starting to ask how they can incorporate this in their lessons.

Mark: These, these real world, real life ideas that need to be associated with maths and history and geography and the sciences and the arts. How can they turn those subjects into applicable subjects that the kids can then go and use in positive ways? in their careers. So the feedback so far has been really positive.

Nadiyah: Well, that's great. So what challenges do you see in the education system right 

Mark: now? So several challenges. Firstly, that the system hasn't changed in well over 100 years, if not longer, certainly in the UK around the world, there are different challenges. Accessibility to education is probably one of the biggest global problems with when it with regards education.

Mark: Teachers around the world generally are very respected, but that level of respect diminishes in certain countries, and it certainly seems to be the case in the UK. So I think there's a problem of accessibility, there's a problem of culture of acceptance and respectability and credibility amongst the profession.

Mark: This isn't any old job. This is the most important job in the world. And we need to give teachers who are Have so many systematic things they have to do, so much admin, so much routine, uh, too much to be the inspirational advisors and guides and career guides that they want to be. We, I think we'd all, we, we all have certain teachers that we remember in our lives that really sparked an idea of optimism and, and set us off on a path.

Mark: We need more of those. We need teachers to become those. And I think the last couple of things that I'd point out about the current system, firstly, is it, it is, it is dictated by a short-term political. It's become a political football and there's no way that we can have long term sustainable change if it becomes a political conversation and it becomes a reason to elect a certain party.

Mark: We need to remove it from the political discussion. It needs a long term, 30 50 year plan. And lastly, we should move away from the subject based learning, to interdisciplinary learning. Instead of learning just about geography and maths and sciences, all, in their own right, useful. But never do we experience those in isolation.

Mark: We experience them in an interdisciplinary approach. So we want kids to be able to use maths and history of science and understanding of geography in order to solve everyday problems in order in order to live an everyday life that is both supportive of them, but also supportive of their community. So the interdisciplinary approach, I think, is I think it's something really achievable.

Mark: And there are some organizations like the London Interdisciplinary School. It's already well into trialing this and proving its value. So those are a few things that I would change. 

Nadiyah: Cool. So what advice would you give students watching this today? 

Mark: So, uh, keep working. Work hard, don't give up. But I think there are a couple of things that really stand out for me.

Mark: Firstly is this idea that we are taught to believe that if you have the answers, you'll go far. Whereas in fact, I think if you ask the right questions that you'll go far. I think we all know people who, who think they have all the answers. That are always the best people to spend time with. Um, but actually we love spending time with people who have great questions and the more questions that you ask, the more inclusive you are of those around you.

Mark: Cause none of us succeed alone. We all succeed because of a community that we build around us. And if you're inquisitive about the people, the places, the ideas around you, not only do you draw them in and make them part of your lives and actually create a support network through that. through those questions, but you also, of course, learn and the people who ask questions, learn the people who ask questions become adaptable.

Mark: The people who ask questions end up being the real success stories, be it on a community level, on a personal mental health level, on a corporate level, great questions lead to great careers. I guess the other piece of advice I'd give is, you know, be careful who you hang out with. You hang out with great communicators.

Mark: You'll become a great communicator. You hang out with somebody who's kind, or people who are kind, then you'll become kind. If you hang out with people with great traits, you yourself will have great traits. So whatever you learn, whatever school you go to, whether you go to university or not, you hang out with people with the kind of traits that you respect and you know the world needs, you'll become somebody the world needs.

Mark: Yeah, 

Nadiyah: I definitely agree. Your community, people you hang around with, is very important. So what advice would you give teachers watching 

Mark: this? So my dad was a teacher, uh, so that's close to my heart. And having spent more time in class now, I understand his life even more. I've always respected him as somebody who really drew ideas and capabilities out of children.

Mark: And I think maybe that's something that we've forgotten in, in, in teaching. It's not about promoting or broadcasting. It's about drawing out brilliance. Um, and I think, you know, given the opportunity, teachers and parents. Can be those optimistic guardians of the mental health and the, and the careers of, uh, of individuals.

Mark: It's not just about the grade. Um, I've got two sons and I've, you know, being a parent is hard. It really is. I'm being a teacher of a whole bunch of kids is hard. Um, so I would just, I would advise them that that the parents and the system, you know, should support them. ever more than they do today and to keep going because there is nothing more important in life than a teacher.

Mark: And that's in their heart what teachers should know. And if they know that there is nothing more in life than a teacher and they know that doing a really valuable job, no matter how hard it is, they'll be brilliant teachers. Definitely. 

Nadiyah: No, definitely. Like teachers and parents, I think it's a hard job being them and just making sure you get the right advice for the right people.

Nadiyah: And like you said, for students, making sure they surround themselves with good people. What is one key advice that you would give our viewers 

Mark: today? So my last piece of advice that I'd give, I've got so many, but I've learned this from schools. Uh, it's this idea of trade first. A trade first is an idea I developed essentially.

Mark: For that first step you take after school or university, we all hear about kids saying, Oh, what am I going to do? And my first job is going to dictate my career. And I'm like, God, this is stressy. Should it be about career or should I just go and get money? Here's, here's a guiding idea that might help. And it's this idea of trade first.

Mark: Now you either learn a trade first, a trade, whether it's coding, whether it's building tables, whether it's painting, whether it's decorating, whether it's plumbing, construction, just learn a trade. Six months, a year, three years, whatever it is, learn a trade. That trade will inform you for the rest of your life.

Mark: You don't have to stay with it, but you've learned something. A trade. The other option is to learn to trade. And this is the idea of learning to deal with people. So whatever the job is, and it might be catering, it might be working in a shop. It might be whatever helps you trade with people and it might be sales.

Mark: It might be customer service, but understand that the relationship you have with people and how you develop relationship is. Fundamental to how you succeed, however you define success in your life. And if you learn a trade. Or learn to trade in your first job, six months, a year, two years, you've given yourself a really solid foundation for a very healthy career.

Nadiyah: Well, thank you, Mark, for joining us. Where can our viewers contact you? Where's the best place? 

Mark: So www. consciouscareers. co. uk Uh, is, uh, the website, all the information is there. Um, but also there is information about Kenya and about the Marine Conservation Society there. Mark Haviland on LinkedIn. Find me anywhere.

Mark: Happy to talk. Cool. 

Nadiyah: Thank you so much, Mark. It's been lovely talking to you and having you as our first career conversation guest. So everyone, follow us at hundo. xyz and watch more on hundo. Obviously, follow us on our socials and our newsletter. And we hope to see you guys soon. Thank you.

Beyond traditional paths:

Conscious Careers advocates a paradigm shift in place of rigid advice and outdated expectations. It replaces traditional guidance with optimism, self-awareness, and practical tools due to its recognition of the limitations of traditional guidance in today's rapidly changing world. As a result of the programme, students develop the skills and mindsets they need to thrive in an ever-evolving workforce.

Inspiring possibilities by igniting curiosity:

In interactive workshops, students discover a wide range of career options, which gives them a sense of purpose and ownership. It is encouraged that educators adopt an interdisciplinary approach to cultivate well-rounded students who can tackle tomorrow's challenges. In this way, both students and educators can embrace the interconnectedness of their world outside of subject-based silos.

Breaking down barriers:

Conscious Careers acknowledges systemic challenges such as limited access to information and resistance to change, but emphasises a holistic approach that goes beyond technical skills. To become resilient and flexible in a dynamic world, it is essential to have a growth mindset, an adaptability mindset, and a lifelong learning attitude. A long-term planning attitude and interdisciplinary education are encouraged, preparing students to seize future opportunities.

Advice for students:

The ability to ask questions is a powerful tool for students in this rapidly changing landscape. Asking "why" and "how" opens doors to new opportunities. Building support networks of peers and mentors provides guidance and encouragement. "Learning a trade first" is emphasised by Mark as an important foundational skill that will open up countless future opportunities for students.

Inspiration from educators:

Teachers are encouraged to become guides and facilitators of inspiration rather than just teachers. Teachers play a crucial role in preparing future generations to navigate the unknown by encouraging creativity, critical thinking, and self-awareness in their students.

The future is bright:

In an era where organisations like Conscious Careers and hundo champion innovation in career guidance, young people can look forward to the future with optimism. By equipping them with the necessary skills and mindset, we enable them to chart their own paths, contribute meaningfully to society, and embrace the exciting possibilities that lie ahead! 

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