A new report from the 5% Club calls for a bigger role for work experience in schools and colleges. By George Ryan
Improving the quality of work experience and careers advice in schools and colleges is critical to enabling social mobility, a new report states.
The 5% Club is a membership organisation of employers committed to increasing the number of “earn and learn” skills training opportunities, including apprenticeships. In its new Playing to our strengths: Unlocking social mobility for economic good report, the organisation sets out a number of measures it believes would increase social mobility in the UK through changes to the skills system. Here is a summary of their recommendations:
1. Links between schools, colleges and employers need strengthening
Employers should develop strong links with schools and colleges in deprived areas and increase the access young people in those areas have to workplaces, mentors and work experience.
The following article is by Melanie Curtin, writer and activist whose work has been featured in the Huffington Post, the New York Observer and on the Today Show in Australia. She holds a master’s in communication from Stanford University.
Richard Branson is a force of nature.
In addition to being an actual knight, he is the founder of the Virgin Group, which now controls more than 400 companies. His net worth is $5 billion, which puts him seventh on a list of the wealthiest British billionaires. Plus, he’s known for being a compassionate boss and an icon of entrepreneurship.
He wasn’t always that successful, though.
As a boy, he struggled with dyslexia. In a blog on the subject, he wrote a letter to his younger self, saying:
“I know you’re struggling at school and I wanted to give you some advice on how to become the best you can be, even when it’s difficult and you feel like the world is against you. You should never see being different as a flaw or think that something is wrong with you. Being different is your biggest asset and will help you succeed.”
Embrace his difference he did. As a teenager, he named his company “Virgin” because he lacked real experience in business.He’s not a virgin anymore.But no one is an island (even if they own a private one). The fact is, the mentors and influences we have growing up have a profound influence on who we become. And Richard Branson had a major advantage in that department: his mother, Eve.Eve Branson was just as much of a force of nature as little Ricky.
For example, once, on the way home from a shopping trip, Branson’s mother left him alone in the countryside. She gave him basic instructions on how to find his own way home, then left.He was 5 years old. In his words:
“[It was] about three miles through the countryside [to get home]…. She was punishing me for causing mischief in the back seat, but she was also teaching me a larger lesson about overcoming my disabling shyness and learning to ask others for directions.”
Last March I wrote in FE Week about how important it is that schools and colleges let students know about all the amazing opportunities in technical education and apprenticeships there are after GCSEs.
It’s not just about higher education, and I’m determined to continue changing that perception. I don’t want one route to a career to be considered better than any other. A levels and full-time academic degrees at our world class universities are right for some people. But for others, T Levels, apprenticeships, or level 4 or 5 qualifications can give them the skills they need to get the jobs they want.
GCSE and A level results days are just round the corner. Young people across the country are making important choices about their future. The significant role parents, colleges and schools play in those choices is clear. They can really have a big influence on the people looking to them for guidance and support. After all, it is their responsibility too.
Every Victorian student will receive careers guidance from the age of 12 as part of a state government overhaul of careers education.
The changes will be rolled out next year after a review commissioned by the Education Department found careers education started too late in government schools, varied in quantity and quality and did not provide enough meaningful work experience.
“Career education must begin earlier than Years 10 to 12, and it must reflect the fact that students’ needs evolve as school progresses,” the plan states.
From next year, Year 7 and 8 students will take part in mandatory “career self-exploration workshops”, where they will assess their strengths, set goals and discuss different jobs.
When students reach Year 9 they will undertake online psychometric testing to see what jobs they might be suited to, and then receive one-on-one career guidance.
Wren Gillett, a Year 11 student at Upwey High School, said the biggest problem with careers education was that it started too late.
It’s often not touched on until Year 10, the same year Victorian students choose their VCE subjects.
“It starts too late in the curriculum,” Miss Gillett said. “Students are choosing subjects for breadth, rather than depth.”
The Victorian Student Representative Council executive member, who recently gave evidence at a parliamentary inquiry into careers education, said the poor timing of careers advice meant some students didn’t complete the subjects required for their desired university courses.
The principal of one of the biggest sixth forms in London and the South East has called for 16-18 providers to use their expertise in careers advice to support local schools.
Rob McAuliffe (pictured), Collegiate Principal of 3,000-strongChrist the King Sixth Formwhich has sites across south London and Kent, said: ‘There’s a huge need for really high-quality, independent careers guidance for young people. The decisions they take while they are at secondary school are among the most important of their lives, which will dictate university and career choice.
‘At Christ the King, we have years of experience in the education of 16-18 year old students. We are specialists, and our expertise can be used more effectively to support secondary school pupils, who need to be thinking about their paths through education and their future careers long before the age of 16.’
Recent research showed that schools are falling short of government-endorsed standards for good careers advice.
Of 578 schools asked to rate their performance against eight benchmarks for good careers provision, just 0.5 per cent managed to achieve all eight in 2016-17.
More than a fifth of schools did not meet any of the benchmarks at all, according to the Careers and Enterprise Company.
Mr McAuliffe said that while many schools are doing an excellent job on careers guidance, many do not have the resources required.
Teenagers in England are having to make choices about university on the basis of too little information, a report by the Public Accounts Committee warns.
The PAC report says this is due “in large part to insufficient and inconsistent careers advice”.
It also says students have limited redress if they are unhappy with the quality of courses and that shorter and part-time courses have not emerged.
The government says a review of higher education will address such issues.
The report says it’s “deeply concerning” that most students in England don’t have the advice they need to make an informed decision.
“The substantial financial commitment required and wide variation in outcomes from higher education mean prospective students need high-quality advice and support to make decisions that are right for them,” it says. Read more
At the 2018 DiversityInc Top 50 event, more than 400 people were in attendance during the day to hear Executives from AT&T, EY, Marriott International and Wells Fargo give career advice on how to develop and manage a successful career.
Moderator: Shane Nelson, VP, Editor, DiversityInc Best Practices
Melissa Corwin, Vice President – HR, Diversity & Inclusion, AT&T
Ted Acosta, Americas Vice Chair, Risk Management, EY
Kimberly Reed, Vice President, Human Resources – Global Finance and Global Design, Marriott International
Lisa Stevens, Executive Vice President, Regional Banking Executive, Western Region, Wells Fargo
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