Schools should take the lead on career choices for young people

New legislation asks all schools to have a policy for companies to be ‘allowed access’ to pupils

New legislation says all UK schools need to draft a new policy for ‘letting companies have access’ to their students/pupils.  The policy should also set out what facilities the business/education volunteer or provider will have when they visit.

Greatly empowering, for school Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) staff ! Might this be an opportunity for them to check that what they are getting is of good quality and value? Any outside provider can come in and talk about pretty much anything they like – and UCTs and apprenticeships have to be on the agenda !! The government is trying to promote apprenticeships, (61% drop in starts since the companies’ apprenticeship levy was introduced). The government is also putting money towards the T level, a new qualification. The assessors debate for apprenticeships is still raging – meanwhile, in comes new legislation to help shore up the ‘apprenticeship starts’ figures.

CEIAG staff should be taking the lead

Now schools can use this opportunity to put in place their own framework, and say to companies – ‘we will allow you access to our students.  Meet our criteria and flesh out what we have been introducing them to, and we will do so happily.  We’ll let you have a range of boxes to tick – proper choices in terms of business activities –  your visiting staff will undoubtedly prefer to have a structured framework to deliver against’.

That way, a bigger range of companies will be encouraged to come to schools, hopefully, because even small local companies can easily tick some of the boxes about what needs to be covered at each key stage.

True, teachers haven’t typically been out of the education system, so don’t have hands on experience of business models.  But they all know how to teach, given appropriate material. Careers leads in our better schools may decide to use a short e-learning course to get every child familiar with the basic types of companies there are.  Half a dozen ways in which companies in the private sector make a living would serve as a good start.

A dual-purpose resource

The life skills network, the charitable arm of an associated company, Gillban Ltd, has developed such a course. (Three hours max. to look through and digest for teachers – it doubles as a teaching resource which can be used in any classroom with internet access.)

Here’s the model – teachers introduce this to students – six business types in six years – one a year for 13-18 year olds. Then one of each type of business is invited in, via the Enterprise Coordinators and Advisers, so the learner has seen an example of each, as career and/or subject choices are being considered.

Scaffolding is essential – pedagogy is full of its efficacy.  This is the purpose of  the ‘How the world works’ e-learning module. If Enterprise Coordinators distribute this evenly in their own local areas and to all business volunteers, then all the better – it helps consolidates the L.E.P./Local Authority’s position of being a central provider for such inputs into local schools.

Result ? Young people have a  better understanding of the range of the market place, as they emerge out of education, not to mention a greater likelihood that they will choose the option to join a company which actually adds to the tax-generating part of our economy.

Isn’t that to the greater good of post Brexit Britain?

It seems so to us.

We would welcome your views.