Improving Careers Education: Exploring Education-Industry Partnerships
Although Careers and Enterprise Company’s 2019 State of the Nation report finds that Careers Education is improving, the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Council has found that the skills gap is still widening. It reports that over 80% of UK companies believe that lack of skills is harming employees’ career progression and the country’s competitiveness in the world economy.
As such, there is still an overwhelming need for educational institutions to supply adequate skills for our future workforce.
How Are the Government Addressing This Issue?
In March 2017, the Government amended the Children and Social Work Bill to introduce personal, social, health and economic education in all schools, which came into effect in September 2019. One of the key aspects of this amendment is that all schools are required to publish information about their PSHE education provision on their respective websites.
The Government also released its paper on ‘Careers guidance and access for education and training providers’ in October 2018. The guidance provided is statutory meaning that educational institutions must follow it unless there is a good reason not to. The paper focuses entirely around the Gatsby Benchmarks- these are eight distinct standards for governing bodies, school leaders and school staff to follow in helping to generate an outstanding careers system for young people.
Crucially, most of the Benchmarks require close collaboration between Education and Industry, to ensure that the benchmarks are adequately met. Some of these include ‘Benchmark 2: Learning from career and labour market information’, ‘Benchmark 5: Encounters with employers and employees and ‘Benchmark 6: Experiences of workplaces’ among numerous others.
How Can Educational Institutions and Businesses Collaborate to Prepare Young People for Work?
With the above in mind, and provided that a collaboration produces greater productivity, a lower turnover and reduced training for businesses whilst schools achieve greater career prospects for children and better inspection results; both businesses and education can reap the rewards of this collaboration.
One successful instance of cross-sector collaboration is clear from the Codsall High Federation of Schools, who have a close relationship with their local Jaguar Land Rover branch. Notably, their relationship has helped to shape the business curriculum at AS level, crucially aiding those students to use critical analysis with a business mind. Creating and strengthening this kind of relationship can be achieved through assigning the role of a school liaison officer to a teacher who will continuously communicate with outside businesses.
Furthermore. the education-industry partnership at Westminster Kingsway College, who have been awarded the Inaugural Winner of the A Careers and Enterprise Company Award, 2019 for their outstanding employer partnership is another prime example of how colleges can collaborate with local businesses to enhance the quality of careers education. Within their partnership, the employer has set requirements and preference within the syllabus and an recruiting a set employability lead to focus on the nuanced aspects of careers proviso.
Another way in which education can partner with industry is through Education and Employers ‘Inspiring the Future’ programme. Through this programme, industry volunteers including CEOs and apprentices are successfully delivering activities such as workshops and interview practice to prepare young people for the future.