Q5. How does your school ensure that pupils have multiple encounters with employers and employees which enrich their understanding of working practices?

Why is this important?

Young people need to have a rounded and comprehensive view of the world of work if they are to see the opportunities open to them and avoid narrow choices influenced by stereotypes. There are many opportunities for employers to support career guidance. Employers can provide the context for subject learning and role models which challenge conventional thinking about work roles. They also provide a realistic context for practicing CV writing and interview skills. Many employers provide extra-curricular support, for instance, through enterprise activity, providing visiting speakers, mentors and personal development activities such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s award.

Every pupil should have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work and the skills that are valued in the workplace. The challenge for schools is to ensure that all young people receive access to these activities; this requires considerable co-ordination and management.

What strategic questions should you ask the senior leadership team about engaging with employers and employees to deliver career guidance?

  • What is your school’s strategy for engaging with employers and employees and how is this managed and evaluated?
  • What role do the governors have in linking employers to school?
  • How do you ensure a spread of employers and employees (across size and sector) engage with all year groups in your school?
  • What activities are employers and employees specifically engaged with in your school?
  • What use does your school make of the Enterprise Adviser network?

Case study of good practice

Excelsior Academy, a 3-19 academy in Newcastle, has been an essential element in the regeneration in the local community. Each of the schools within the Academy chain are called by the names of famous personalities in the area and linked to their areas of specialism. This places a strong emphasis on employer engagement and provides pupils with means of exploring employment opportunities in these respective industry areas. Excelsior values the contribution made by local employers and has many active links. When employers engage with students it helps to challenge their pre-conceived ideas about the students at the school. The school works hard to engage with them through events and activities such as careers fairs, options events and meetings and presentations to talk about progression. These activities are very helpful and all activities very closely monitored.

Enterprising mind-sets come through links with industry. Asian Business Connections, Added Value and Newcastle United Foundation are organisations representing local employers and they provide activities such as mock interviews and employability workshops. The school has an aim to ensure that every Y11 student should have an opportunity for a mock interview. Employers are also involved in engaging activities such as an annual ‘Dragon’s Den activity’ in which local employers act as the ‘Dragons’.

Essential resources to support your school achieve this Benchmark

Resources for governors:
Resources for school leaders and teachers:
  • Support for developing links with companies: The Careers and Enterprise Company has a network of Enterprise Advisers who support schools to review and develop their strategy for engaging with employers – these pages provide links to local Enterprise Advisers based within your Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
  • A toolkit for managing employer engagement from the Career Development Institute
  • Education and business partnership organisations exist across England and help schools to make links to local companies and employers.
  • The Big Bang Fair is an annual award-winning combination of exciting theatre shows, interactive workshops, exhibits and opportunities for careers conversations from employers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). There are also many local Big Bang Near Me Fairs across the country.

Additional resources to support your school achieve this Benchmark

Resources for school leaders and teachers:

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