Increasingly Careers Services are being moved into shared service centres, hubs and indeed into Libraries. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, however there are some key concepts which need to be cleared up before designing a new space in collaboration with other stakeholders.
It’s hard to summarise what defines Careers as being different from the Library for example. For me I would say a careers centre is a bit like a cross between counselling and a tourist information centre. Lots of stuff to browse and take away but a lot of really detailed and sensitive questions.
Unless you have actually observed how a particular Careers Service works it’s likely there will be a lot of misconceptions. So it’s your job to make sure that management, planners and architects have a clear idea of your needs.
Do people understand the range of services you offer and how they operate? I’m willing to bet no-one outside the information team actually knows what information staff do, or typically what interactions happen in your Careers Centre.
How busy is your service and when? It matters when you are not the only one using the space, if your peak times are at the same as another stakeholder you could end up with queues and congestion, or fighting over bookable rooms.
What about confidentiality and disclosure issues? You probably wouldn’t relocate your counselling service to an open plan room in the middle of a busy space.
Visit other student services in your own institution to see what they currently do and how they manage their space. They have their own ways of doing things just as suited to their needs, so finding and furnishing a new home together can be an interesting challenge!