Careers teaching: what are educators saying?

It’s crept up on us again: National Careers Week is just around the corner! Up and running since 2011, it serves as a timely reminder of the importance of careers advice in schools and the positive impact this can have on young people’s future prospects.

Careers provision, and lack thereof, has been no stranger to the education press this last year. In fact, MP Nic Dakin wrote in TES this week that careers advice is ‘currently not working’ and school students aren’t being made aware of all the options open to them post-16. Furthermore, in light of Brexit, having effective careers education is critical to help young people compete in the global economy.

It’s clear that helping school leavers put their best foot forward on the career journey is a huge priority for schools, but why is it still such a challenge?

We were keen to hear from those at the coalface, as it were, so headed off to another staple in the education calendar: The National Career Guidance show.

Following lots of interesting conversations with careers advisers and teachers, a clear theme that came to light was the struggle to keep up with constantly emerging work trends and skillsets required by employers. Many of these weren’t even in existence when they were doing their teacher training so it’s a whole different working environment to get to grips with.

In terms of the stumbling blocks they see their young people facing, a recurring topic was around students who simply don’t realise the skills they’ve gained from their everyday lives which would make great additions to their CV. Making the connection that being part of a football team is a direct example of teamworking and communication skills is just a leap to far for many.

And of course, the other big problem on every educator’s lips is, you guessed it, time! We know workload is a massive issue in the education community and this is especially true when it comes to careers and employability. The demand to plan and deliver a comprehensive CEIAG programme alongside all their other responsibilities a school faces, means that it often gets pushed to the bottom of the pile.

The silver lining is that many organisations are now offering fantastic programmes, like LifeSkills created with Barclays, to support teachers make careers education as easy as possible. But with demand so high, there’s plenty of opportunity for more businesses to grab a slice of the action and engage directly with schools. And the benefits work both way: providing welcome support to struggling schools and securing an organisation’s future talent pipeline – a win win!

About the author

Hannah Furrer

Hannah has risen up the ranks from intern, and hasn’t looked back! She heads up Shell’s STEM competition, The Bright Ideas Challenge, supports the running of LifeSkills created with Barclays, and is leading the launch of a flagship educator wellbeing programme for Bupa. She loves getting creative with her projects and seeing the impact her work can have on individuals and their communities.

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