Publicado: 1 marzo 2022 a las 2:00 am
By: James O’Dowd
In the aforementioned EIAs, there will also be a push for new institutions, particularly ‘elite’ (though the word has been dropped from recent comms) 16-to-19 schools, which inspires further questions: Is there demand for new schools at all when investments into existing establishments is lacking? How much funding will be available for these schools? Will teaching take into account career preparation? It’s worth noting here that an “investment of £3.8bn in skills” is “planned by 2024-25”, as are initiatives “enabling 11m adults to gain an A level or equivalent qualification for free.” As separate pieces of the puzzle, these are valuable steps forward in re-training but, from our first-hand experience in schools, what students need more than any other initiative, more than potential new schools and opportunities to train as adults, are comprehensive career programmes, integrated into the curriculum.
For us, a Foundation that provides targeted employability advice to young people from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds, this is an extremely familiar situation. Earlier this year, for instance, my team delivered careers workshops with partner schools in South London and gathered feedback before and after our sessions. On analysis, the figures were equally expected and disappointing:
This data mirrors anecdotal testimonies we received from teachers and parents that there is a profound lack of career education in schools. In time, this will inevitably see another generation of school leavers with limited access to—and knowledge of—the job market. If hour-long sessions improved students’ perceptions of their career aspirations, we can only infer how beneficial a structured careers programme would be, especially one that could be integrated into the curriculum. The principal learning we derived from our sessions was this: the White Paper, and any other plan after it, must consider how career support can be integrated into pupils’ existing learning for optimal outcomes.
At this point in COVID recovery, in the interest of economic growth, the government’s plan must include directives of career education improvement, alongside the early education support and upskilling initiatives already outlined. While the third sector can support schools with employability training, it cannot create an infrastructure from scratch. That’s something only national leadership can do, through well executed devolution, investment into young adults leaving school, and a flexible approach to the future of work.