Ok, ok, this isn’t a trawl through the back issues of Hello Magazine to identify the ‘first’ ever model, instead a look at the FIRST Framework. I came across this model a few weeks ago and initially really connected with its simplicity. FIRST stands for: Focus, Information, Realism, Scope and Tactics. The dimensions of the FIRST framework can be used as a diagnostic tool to ascertain the stage the client is at in their career thinking.
- Focus: How far has the client narrowed down their options?
- Information: How well-informed are they about the career options they are considering?
- Realism: How realistic is the client (both in relation to own abilities and the constraints of the market)?
- Scope: How aware is the client of the range of options available?
- Tactics: To what extent has the client worked out the steps to achieve their career objectives?
In a recent careers discussion, I attempted to apply this framework and used it to establish the angle for exploration. For this client a key issue appeared to be Scope. My client was only applying for jobs with well-known employers even though there were a number of opportunities with medium-sized and less prestigious organisations. However by the end of the interview I began doubting my so called ‘diagnosis’ of the clients career thinking. Upon reflection I felt that my exploration was quite narrow and my diagnosis was perhaps too quick.
I started to apply the FIRST framework retrospectively. In doing this I questioned whether I had obtained a sense of the client’s awareness within all dimensions of the framework. What I took away was although the FIRST model is simple, an individuals career thinking and decision making isn’t. I was most certainly too quick in putting my client in a box.
- What key questions would you ask a client within individual dimensions of the FIRST model?
- What signs might indicate issues to address within each of these dimensions?
- Do you think the FIRST model has a diagnostic application or is it more suited as a reflective tool?
- Can you think of other ways you can bring the FIRST framework into your practice, especially into group work?
- Bedford, T. (1982) Vocational Guidance Interviews Explored, London: Careers Service Branch, Department of Employment. (If you can find a copy!)
- Gothard, B. & Mignot, P. (1999) Career counselling for the 21st Century – integrating theory and practice. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling 21 153–167
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