Careers education is about supporting young people to make informed decisions. Claudia Harris offers practical steps to strengthening
your careers education programme.
An effective careers education is associated with lower unemployment and higher salaries in later life.
It’s vital for students, schools and employers that we get this right, which is why the Careers & Enterprise Company was set up by the government in 2015: to support schools and colleges to improve their careers education.
Our focus at the time was on increasing the volume and quality of interactions between young people and employers. There have always been exceptional schools, careers professionals and not-for-profits working in careers education.
We now have an accepted set of standards for what a world-class careers education looks like”
But as a 2013 Ofsted report found, too often provision was poorly co-ordinated and narrow and too few students were experiencing direct engagement with the world of work.
Fortunately, in the past few years, careers education has come a long way. Thanks to the Gatsby Foundation, we now have an accepted set of standards for what a world-class careers education looks like.
Your roadmap to success
In December 2017, the government’s careers strategy gave us a roadmap to get there. Our growing Enterprise Adviser Network is a vehicle to achieve this.
The careers strategy had three key ideas at its heart. First, it recognised the eight Gatsby Benchmarks as a blueprint for all schools and colleges, providing clarity for educators in a complex landscape.
Second, it endorsed delivery through local coordination. From September, one in five schools and colleges in England will be part of a ‘careers hub’. The hub model – pioneered by a pilot in north east England – brings together schools, colleges and employers to transform local careers education through coordinated action.
Finally, the strategy also called for all schools and colleges to have a named careers leader by September 2018: an identified member of staff in every state secondary school and college responsible for coordinating careers education.
Backed with £4m in funding from the Department for Education, we are supporting the training of at least 500 careers leaders.
Join our Enterprise Adviser Network
Whether you’re developing your careers education programme from scratch or taking an it to the next level, join our Enterprise Adviser Network.
More than 2,000 secondary schools and colleges (over half of those in England) are now part of our network.
Membership is free and can help you work towards the eight Gatsby Benchmarks. Your school or college will be partnered with a full-time enterprise co-ordinator, who will work with a cluster of 20 schools – to help you engage with local employers.
This co-ordinator will also match you up with a dedicated enterprise adviser, a senior volunteer from business who can provide knowledge, contacts and opportunities and help develop your careers plan.
Free Gatsby audit tool
Our free Compass self-assessment tool can help you evaluate your careers activity.
Some 3,000 secondary schools and colleges have used Compass, developed with the Gatsby Foundation. It will help identify your school’s strengths and weaknesses and benchmark careers provision.
We can also help you find a careers activity provider in your area. The best way to engage with local employers and activity providers is to join our network.
But you can also search our website by activity type, key stage, curriculum subject and cost. The site is a treasure trove of guidance and resources.
What matters is that careers support to young people continues to improve”
A bright future
In July 2018, Ofsted reported evidence of “integrated, coherent and effective careers strategies in more schools, with more frequent opportunities for pupils to access workshops, themed events, work experience and contact with employers.”
We’re at the start of an ambitious journey and there is a long road ahead, but what matters is that careers support to young people continues to improve.