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The revival of careers education has begun but there’s still a long way to go!

Recent developments at the Career Development Institute (CDI) suggest that careers education is bouncing back after the downgrading of careers education by the last government. The CDI now has a thriving careers education community on LinkedIn where members can discuss issues of the day, share resources and ask each other for help. The careers education community also has a small steering group led by Kath Wright and Sue Barr. One of their key projects this year is to organise the first of what they hope will become an annual training event for careers advisers and staff in schools and colleges. Strengthening employer engagement in careers work: Effective strategies for schools and colleges will take place at the Royal National Hotel in London on 24th June. There’s still time to book your place here.

In a further effort to boost careers education in schools, the CDI has announced a new school affiliate membership scheme and a progression pathway for those involved in careers education seeking professional recognition. An information pack is being distributed to all schools this week explaining how they can benefit from these developments. Details are also available on the CDI website 

The CDI also has high hopes that the Survey of Careers Education and Guidance in Schools and Links with Employers published on 2nd June will help to inform the work of the new Careers and Enterprise Company whose chief executive, Claudia Harris, is now in post. The survey completed by 10% of the schools in England shows little or no improvement in the condition of careers work in schools since Ofsted published Going in the right direction? (2013). A significant proportion of schools are failing to put in place a robust infrastructure and processes to meet the career development needs of all their students. However, even though we are still a long way from achieving the good practice aspirations of the Gatsby Charitable Foundation’s Good Careers Guidance report (2014), the CDI is optimistic that the survey provides the Careers and Enterprise Company with positive suggestions for possible actions that it could take.

The main headlines of the report are:

  • up to a third of schools do not provide careers education in Y9-11 and half do not include it in Y12-13
  • just under a half of schools do not provide careers education in Y8 and just under two-thirds do not include it in Y7
  • the proportion of schools offering work-related learning and enterprise is much lower than for careers education for most year groups except in Y10 and Y12
  • the four main ways that schools are securing access to independent and impartial careers guidance are by employing a qualified careers adviser on the staff (32%), commissioning services from an external careers guidance company (25%), buying in services from the local authority (16%) and contracting with an independent careers adviser (16%)
  • five schools responded to say that they did not provide access to impartial careers guidance
  • a quarter of schools did not answer the questions about how they met their statutory duty and which pupils were given impartial careers interviews
  • the interviews in over 40% of schools are not provided by an adviser qualified to QCF level 6
  • 28% of respondents skipped the question about the qualification held by the school’s careers adviser
  • at least half of schools do not have a middle leader responsible for careers education and guidance and 44% do not have a senior leader with overall responsibility for careers work
  • nearly two-thirds have neither a middle leader nor a senior leader responsible for employer links
  • 37% reported having a Link Governor for CEG & school-business links
  • 40% of schools said they organised employer links themselves but just over a third of schools did not respond to this question. 32% used Inspiring the Future or other link organisations and 17% used an education-business partnership. Only 5% of schools reported using the National Careers Service to broker links with employers
  • 26% rated the effectiveness of their employer links as 7/10 or 8/10. 14% rated them as 5/10 or below
  • approximately half of respondents informed parents/carers of their careers activities and links with employers
  • many schools would welcome more support from the new company with identifying relevant employer contacts, organising activities, accessing up-to-date LMI and providing training and briefing sessions for employers on how to work effectively with schools

The report puts forward several practical recommendations for actions that the Careers and Enterprise Company could take to boost enterprise and school-employer links. The top recommendation is that the company needs to promote the importance of careers and work-related education in order to ensure that there is a curriculum base for their activities. The report also suggests the company could:

  • promote the importance of access to face-to-face guidance, delivered by career advisers professionally qualified to QCF Level 6
  • work with existing school-employer link organisations, including EBPs and the National Careers Service, to establish regional databases of employers willing to work with schools, providing contact details and lists of activities that the employers could offer
  • promote the support available for school-employer links available through the National Careers Service’s ‘Inspiration agenda’
  • work with the National Careers Service to provide readily accessible and up to date labour market information to career leaders and career advisers in schools
  • identify and publicise examples of good practice in relation to employer engagement in careers programmes in schools, covering both urban and rural areas
  • provide guidance to employers on how to work effectively with schools
  • work with the CDI and ASCL to provide briefing sessions for school senior leaders on effective employer links, and with the CDI and the National Governors Association (NGA) to provide similar briefing sessions for school governors

The CDI and Careers England will undertake the following actions to complement the support from the company:

  • promote the CDI Register to all career advisers working in schools
  • offer CPD opportunities for leading and managing careers work and employer links in schools.

The report notes that the latest Statutory Guidance from the DfE, Careers guidance and inspiration in schools (March 2015), recommends that all schools should work towards a quality award for CEIAG, nationally validated by the Quality in Careers Standard and that the actions listed above would all support schools in achieving such an award, thereby, ensuring that they have in place the provision that young people need.

 The Careers and Enterprise Company is due to announce its strategy soon.

View the full report here

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  • Dawn Willden

    Employer-led initiatives are the key to ensuring this country remains in a strong position to compete in the world. My keen interest is supporting SMEs to obtain the talent they need to survive and compete in a very rapid cycle of change we are currently going through and by the time small business owners lift their heads up it will be too late. One business owner told me at a meeting that they struggle to recruit “potential” craftsmen and women to carry on traditional work in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, an extreme example but echoed throughout industry in the Midlands.

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