What is best route to self-employment?

I was made redundant at the end of March from a careers advisory role, which
I’d held for a year.

Prior to this, I was in a general HR role for two-and-a-half years, becoming
a licentiate CIPD member, and this fixed-term role ended in November 2001.

I am now considering either finishing my CIPD or continuing to seek
employment as a careers adviser, for which I will need my NVQ Careers Guidance
qualification.

Which of the two options would provide me with the opportunity to become
self-employed, which is ultimately what I now want?

Professor Bennison says:

I can sympathise with you. I was made redundant at the end of my own
graduate traineeship because sales plummeted. It left me seriously questioning
my own career choice.

My advice depends very much on which area of work you most wish to become
self-employed in. On one hand, a career in HR management is indicated by your
consideration of finishing your CIPD. On the other, you suggest you are
thinking of capital-ising on the previous experience you gained as a careers
adviser.

There is no doubt that if you wish to follow the HR route, you cannot do better
than completing the CIPD qualification for membership. The curriculum for
membership includes not only subjects that are of direct importance to the
practice of HR management, but subjects that would be valuable to anyone
setting up a consultancy.

The subjects covered will give you a good understanding of HR manage-ment
systems, procedures and philosophies, and equip you for a role as a
self-employed consultant.

Since many of the HR functions are currently being outsourced, I would think
opportunities for a well-educated consultant will be forthcoming.

I am concerned about your choice of the careers advisory role as a
self-employed consultant, as I think the opportunities for work in this field
are limited. I checked this out by searching the web under ‘nvq careers
guidance’, which turned up many interesting sites. Among them was a paper
called Careers and Educational Guidance. I suggest you get a copy at
www.careers.stir.ac.uk/ByondClass/Guidance.html, as it contains lots of useful
information.

This paper seems to indicate that the majority of careers advisers are
employed by educational establish-ments, local authorities and private firms,
so opportunities for the self-employed may be limited.

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