There are real benefits to students engaging in commercial education activities which develop their personal skills; provide guidance on career options; give them work placements and mentoring; and enable them to experience enterprise and trade.
Delivery of these activities should be integral to the curriculum but there are opportunity costs in providing learners with these experiences, as they are in addition to, and not an integral part of, statutory curriculum requirements.
The 2018 CET publication ‘Lost in Transition‘ highlights recommendations for policy makers to enable young adults make a successful transition from education to work and enterprise. It suggests that we need a long-term and co-ordinated approach involving a range of stakeholders to support young people as they enter the labour market.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
This project funds an evaluation of Career Colleges scheduled to complete in April 2019. Career Colleges, supported by the Career Colleges Trust, offer a choice in vocational education opportunities for 14-19-year-old young people. The research will investigate their genesis, curriculum, stakeholder perception, employer engagement as well as a monitoring tool to drive improvement.
The research will also enable the identification of wider policy implications in relation to 14-19 education, early specialisation in a vocational field and other issues relating to further education, employer engagement, commercial education, skills development and social mobility. The research is co-funded with the Edge Foundation.
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.
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.
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.
This study harnessed insights from UK longitudinal studies to help careers professionals and other school teaching staff identify and prioritise pupils who require greater levels of careers provision as they approach key decision-making points.
Importantly, the study identifies attitudes and experiences (‘indicators’) which schools can influence in order to better prepare their young people for adult working life. The approach adopted is primarily designed to allow schools to identify students requiring greater levels of support to help them become well prepared.
A questionnaire and scoring system was developed resulting in a toolkit which has been designed to be comprehensive – relevant to students at all attainment levels – by making use of robust UK longitudinal data which compares students of similar characteristics (for example, socio-economic background, geographical area, attainment levels) to identify which factors which make a difference to economic outcomes (earnings and employment) in later life. It is available from the Education and Employers website.
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.
Putting Knowledge to Work challenges conventional notions of academic knowledge as context-free and it demonstrates that there are complex processes of ‘re-contextualising’ knowledge through the design and implementation of work-based learning at higher education levels.
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