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Careers and Enterprise Company

I spent Wednesday and Thursday morning in Sheffield at the very impressive Institute of Sport. I was almost tempted to try out the indoor track but common sense prevailed. I was there for the Careers and Enterprise Company annual conference. 800 people from schools and business were there to share thinking about how young people can be best prepared for what awaits when they leave school. There does seem to be a wind of change blowing through the system. Sir John Holman from York University spoke at the conference. He carried out an international enquiry and concluded that "Good careers guidance is the key to social mobility". The world is peppered with people who received little or no careers guidance. Sometimes they ended up in the right job. But.....

Sir John's report led to what are known as The Gatsby Benchmarks. These say that all good carers provision should have:-

  • A stable careers programme
  • Learning from Labour Market information
  • Systems to address the needs of each pupil
  • Links between curriculum learning and careers
  • Encounters with employers and employees
  • Experiences of workplaces
  • Encounters with FE and HE
  • Personal guidance

I have always believed that young people need their eyes opening to the vast array of jobs that exist - and might exist - in the world. We then have a duty to develop their confidence to a level at which they feel able to apply for jobs that suit their skills, interests and personalities. And, of course, we should show that the curriculum is more relevant than many pupils think by asking employers to help us set up work related projects.

The conference was stimulating as was the school leader event that followed. There is a growing understanding that the system hasn't been working and that we need to do things differently. The Trent Academies Group strategic objective says that "we will prepare our young people to be the most employable in the country". The Board was certainly right to put this in the strategic plan. Engaging fully with the Careers and Enterprise Company makes sense. It can only help us to accelerate the change.

Phil Crompton