Employers play a key role in bringing the workplace into the classroom and in helping young people form positive attitudes towards schooling, further and higher education, and the early stages of employment or self-employment.
Projects CET has supported have benefitted from engaged employers and business volunteers who have inspired and nurtured the abilities of young people:
- as mentors, coaches and role models
- delivering lessons with teachers, explaining business concepts and the relevance of skills
- giving students with opportunities to engage in real life work tasks and problems, offering workplace visits
- providing work experience, placements and internships
- acting as judges for competitions, pitch presentations,
- helping develop business plans and apply for start-up funding
- talks and lectures, engaging in debates.
The 2018 CET publication ‘Lost in Transition‘ highlights the practical steps employers can make to help young adults make a successful transition from education to work. It suggests that we need a long-term and co-ordinated approach involving a range of stakeholders to address the skills challenge of today and tomorrow.
Examples of Recent Projects and Useful Resources provide information relevant to employers.
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Commercial Education Trust
Pathways to Success
These are tough times for anyone entering the labour market, starting a business or trying to progress in their chosen career. Young people, in particular, have been badly affected by political, economic and technological turmoil, with already high levels of youth unemployment expected to rise still further. In these challenging conditions it is clear that workplace success will go to those who can demonstrate not only technical know-how and transferrable “soft” skills, but also a basic understanding of how business works. How, then, can all these very different qualities be nurtured? The stories of the business owners and social entrepreneurs featured on these pages point to some possible answers.
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Education and Employers Charity
Motivated to Achieve
Employer involvement in careers education yields a big return on investment, with a new study by the Education and Employers charity, supported by CET, suggesting that even short interventions can make a real difference.
This study used a randomised control trial to investigate whether attending just three career talks by employee volunteers had an impact on students’ GCSE results, the hours they planned to spend revising for these exams, their attitudes towards learning, and confidence in their career prospects. Around 650 Year 11 students from five schools took part in the trial and were split into an intervention group that attended three 20 to 30-minute careers talks and a control group that did not attend any.
The results indicate small but consistent improvements in the attitudes of the intervention group, and a ‘positive and statistically significant’ relationship between revision hours and career talks. The results also reveal an indicative, direct link between career talks and the intervention group outperforming their predicted GCSE results relative to the control group.
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Commercial Education Trust
Future-Proofing the Next Generation
Today's school leavers and graduates face a future certain to bring uncertainty. Many will be doing jobs that do not yet exist, using technologies and skills yet to be invented. CET recently commissioned a study of what types of learning experiences are currently available to help young people both understand the world of commerce, and to develop the skills and attitudes needed for a successful working life.
A research team led by Professor (Emeritus) Prue Huddleston of the University of Warwick’s Centre for Education Studies carried out the study, which included a literature review, followed by observations and interviews at five case study organisations and focus group work.
The study concludes that while it is vital to prepare students to move into the world beyond education, how this is done is just as important as to whether it is done at all; that to be effective, such education needs to be integral to the curriculum, not a ‘nice to have’ add-on; that financial constraints are holding back educators from doing more to develop the know-how, attitudes which young people need to succeed in work and other parts of their lives; that even with limited resources, schools would be more likely to prioritise commercial education if it became part of a statutory personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) curriculum; and that methods used to assess traditional learning are not always appropriate for programmes designed to develop enterprise and employability.
- July 2018
Commercial Education Trust
Lost in Transition
Lost in Transition explores the challenges of preparing young people for work. It concludes that developing skills in young people is one thing but being able to apply and utilise these skills is another. It argues that we have known for some time what skills are.....
needed for the workplace but that delivery is patchy and a co-ordinated approach is now needed to help young adults make a successful transition from education to work.
Based on case studies which show how design, content, context and teaching methods can be part of a shift from ‘more’ to ‘better’. With recommendations for employers, educators and policy-makers. Lost in Transition is a summary of research conducted in 2017 by Trisha Fettes entitled ‘Putting Skills to Work’.
External Evaluation of Future Frontiers Career Coaching Programme
Only an estimated 10% of schools provide adequate careers advice to their students, most of it online, leaving few opportunities for face-to-face guidance that is highly recommended for supporting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Future Frontiers works primarily in London but also in areas of high deprivation on the South Coast of England, delivering one-to-one careers coaching alongside a range of meaningful employer interactions that are aligned to the aspirations of young people. It currently works in 15 schools, supporting over 1,300 pupils, with over 470 university students and business professionals as career coaches.
CET grant support is for an external evaluation of the Future Frontiers coaching programme in two parts, to be undertaken by two research universities. The evaluation will test the programme’s effectiveness as well as track pupil destinations.
The Missing Piece, The Essential Skills That Education Forgot
Tom Ravenscroft believes there is something fundamental missing in education and in his book ‘The Missing Piece’ he reflects on the essential, non-academic skills which will be essential to thrive in the 21st Century. These are teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, creativity, listening, presenting, aiming high and staying positive.
He reflects on a decade of work with Enabling Enterprise (see ‘Recent Grants’), how he identified these skills, and the and the principles of how they can be built and used.
With a future of increasing automation, Tom makes a powerful argument that these skills are going to be vital not just in a school environment but in life in general.
Trisha Fettes – academic researcher
Putting Skills To Work
There has been a long history of identifying skills needed to perform well in the labour market, but employers have been persistent in voicing concern that those leaving education are not ‘ready’ for work. ‘Putting Skills To Work’ is a study by academic researcher Trisha Fettes which explores practical examples of programmes which incorporate commercial education and how they can improve individuals’ ability to apply the skills, knowledge and know-how they learn in education, as they transition into work.
Institute of Education, University College London
Internship has attracted considerable attention for a number of years and yet until 2011 had rarely been the subject of serious research. In this guide, Prof. David Guile and Ann Lahiff look at the differences between internship, structured work-place learning, and unpaid work experience. They explore how employers offer access to internship and what models of learning are associated with best practice internships. They also offer recommendations for policymakers, companies, stakeholders and for interns/prospective interns.
Education and Employers
Teenage Apprenticeships, Converting awareness to recruitment
Recent Government figures have shown that despite the overall number of apprenticeships increasing, the number of under 19s starts have stagnated at around 20%. This project explores the characteristics of schools and individuals who buck the trend and asks: what distinguishes schools which guide significant numbers of pupils into apprenticeships from those which do not? What distinguishes young people who express an interest in apprenticeships in their mid-teens and go on to secure one from those who do not?
The study concludes that apprenticeships suffer from an image problem due to a shortage of knowledge and information and that support should be provided to schools and colleges to further raise the confidence of school staff in providing advice to interested students. It also advocates for more apprenticeship events involving employers; for schools and colleges should do more to engage parents; and for awareness of apprenticeships to be raised at a younger age. It also notes that schools and colleges should do more to challenge gender stereotypes and broaden the aspirations of young women who are thinking about apprenticeships.
Education and Employers
Drawing the Future
Drawing the Future is a survey which asked primary school children aged seven to eleven to draw a picture of the job they want to do when they grew up: over 20,000 entries were received from the UK and internationally. To determine the factors influencing career choices, the survey asked participants whether they personally knew anyone who did the job, and if not, how they knew about the job, as well as their favourite subject.
The survey findings highlight that children from an early age often have some sophisticated and thought through ideas about who they want to become when they grow up. They also show that from a young age children often stereotype jobs according to gender and their career choices are based on these assumptions with the majority of boys wanting to be sportsmen and girls wanting to be teachers. Additionally, children’s career aspirations are most influenced by who they know – their parents and friends of parents and the TV and media. Worryingly, less than 1% of children have heard about the jobs through people from the world of work coming to their school. And the survey shows clearly for the first time that this is a global issue.
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