As a careers adviser, you must be keen to do all you can to connect your students with prospective employers. Now that the Gatsby Benchmarks—specifically benchmark 5, “Encounters with employers and employees”—have been underwritten by central government, when they were included as a central part of the Education Strategy 2018, it’s also something schools have a statutory obligation to do.
There are plenty of reasons for this. Employers can demonstrate the opportunities available and advise young people on how to access them. They can explain the skills needed and where pupils should be prepared for a level of competition in gaining access to courses or employment.
Evidence from the Education and Employers Taskforce shows that access to a network of employers is associated with better outcomes for young people.
Research from the Careers Enterprise Company also shows that quality contact with employers can improve young people’s ability to make career decisions and their optimism about the future; help young people to increase their attainment and be more likely to enrol in post-secondary education; reduce young people’s likelihood of becoming unemployed; and increase young people’s earnings after they complete their schooling.
Employers can pass on the benefits of their experience to both pupils and teachers, helping to link curriculum subjects to employment and providing an overview of the different routes into careers.
AllAboutSchoolLeavers research shows schools are keen use employers as part of careers guidance—such as hearing about opportunities such as work shadowing (over 88%) and days out of school/college at corporate offices (over 79%)—but are often not managing to bring these encounters into fruition for their students.
Here are a few ideas that could help:
- Mentoring and coaching
- Sending speakers from the organisation into schools to lead discussions and assemblies
- Workplace visits and work experience placements
- Work ‘taster’ events such as games and competitions
- Careers fairs and career networking events
- Access to open days at further and higher education institutions
- Access to creative online resources and labour market intelligence