How to get everyone in your school involved in careers education and future readiness
From headteachers to parents, we’ll be taking a look at how school communities, and even multi-academy trust communities with multiple schools, can band together on their careers education, information, and guidance (CEIAG) initiatives.
What do research projects on global warming, trying out for the football team, taking part in work experience, and wanting to work for the BBC all have in common? Careers education and future readiness.
Careers education and future readiness isn’t just a personalised interview with a careers adviser in Year 11. The new CDI framework as well as recent whitepapers, such as the government’s July 2021 Careers Guidance and Access for Education and Training Providers, has necessitated emphasis on careers education that has a direct impact on students’ success now and in the future. And since most educators entered the profession to help kids and to create a better future, the thought of embedding CEIAG further into the core curriculum should be an exciting one.
What follows are our suggestions on ways to get all stakeholders involved and excited about careers education and future readiness.
Headteachers might take a leading interest in CEIAG, but they also might not necessarily have the room on their plates to do so. They are, however, ultimately responsible for the strategic direction of the school, and for fronting any inspectorate reviews by Ofsted, which, as of 2020 includes inspection of careers guidance provision for all students.
The necessity of adhering to the Gatsby Benchmarks for good career guidance means that schools have to show evidence of their careers provision at many stages. A simple Year 11 guidance interview will not suffice.
Digital, ready-made CEIAG lessons, such as those included in Xello, provide an easy way for school’s to tick the box of helping students learn future-readiness skills, but they can be so much more with some thoughtfulness and dedication to implementation.
Many schools seek to address evidence of achieving the Gatsby Benchmarks by hosting HE and FE information sessions, career nights, career fairs, and guest speakers from local enterprise. All of these activities work best with buy-in from the headteacher who truly supports CEIAG programming, has a stake in bringing it to life, and encourages a growth-mindset culture among staff.
Pro-Tip: As the school’s biggest fan and most visible envoy, headteachers can showcase the behind-the-scenes planning as well as the final result. From posters to activities, having access to the plan and how it is being actioned on all year group levels makes social media posts from this stakeholder invaluable. Get them to support with a post or two as your CEIAG initiatives take off.
Careers Leaders and Advisers
This is the team running the show. Careers Leaders are now mandated to sit on the senior leadership team at schools and, therefore, they have a voice in the strategic direction of the school’s values and goals. Careers advisers have a tendency to be the more operational, front-line executors of the CEIAG programme, but not always as each school is different. These professionals are either in-school dedicated roles or sometimes contracted from outside the school.
Like any teachers, careers leaders and advisers have professional learning communities that span across counties and even the nation. By collaborating with others in their networks to share ideas and tackle challenges, careers leaders and careers advisers strive to support a robust and aligned CEIAG experience for their students in secondary education.
Pro-Tip: Show off student work that promotes not only CEIAG, but also links to subject matter curriculum or social-emotional learning competencies. By connecting careers education and future readiness to core curriculum (GB4: Linking curriculum learning to careers), you’re sharing the responsibility with heads of department or subject matter leads and increasing the visibility of both programmes.
Local Enterprise Coordinators & Careers Hubs
Careers Hubs are a product of partnerships between The Careers & Enterprise Company and local institutions. Most schools know that they are able to take advantage of specialist support when it comes to tying together schools, colleges, employers, and apprenticeship providers to help students reach their successful futures.
Enterprise advisers are excellent contributors to have in your arsenal as you push forward your CEIAG strategy. The CEC states that Careers Hubs can offer schools and colleges:
- Dedicated support from a member of the hub team
- The opportunity to have a senior business volunteer (Enterprise Adviser) work with them
- Collaboration, sharing of best practice and the chance to get involved in specific projects
- Key local employers who are committed to improving careers provision across an area
Pro-Tip: Ask enterprise advisers for help with organising speakers to come into your school and share their career journey with you students. What’s more – Xello has a specific Gatsby Benchmark report that is directly compatible with the CEC’s Compass+ tool. So evidencing your progress towards achieving the Gatsby Benchmarks has never been easier!
Head of PSHE
The head of personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education is a key stakeholder and comrade of the careers leader and adviser. PSHE is defined by the PSHE Education Strategic Partners Group as ‘a planned programme of learning opportunities and experiences that help children and young people grow and develop as individuals and as members of families and of social and economic communities’.
PSHE is considered to be a compulsory statutory obligation, monitored and assessed by Ofsted. Linking CEIAG provision and PSHE is like two superheroes joining forces! If careers education can be woven more explicitly into the PSHE curriculum, then everybody wins – especially the students. Because, how can young people develop into contributing members of society without understanding the way in which their academic journey connects to the real world?
Teachers’ responsibilities have increased ten-fold in the past few years. That being said, CEIAG helps streamline multiple initiatives by supporting social-emotional learning, executive functioning skills, raising aspirations and improving student behaviour.
While teachers can weave future-readiness skills into almost any lesson, there are stand-alone ways to encourage excitement around CEIAG as well. From creating vision boards to “About Me” posts to featuring a “career of the month” for their specific subject, there are many ways to embed this mission into the curriculum.
As any teacher knows, the importance of future-ready skills and their necessity to help students gain employment cannot be understated. By weaving practice in organisation, time-management, job interviewing, and career research, subject teachers can help their students feel confident, capable, and empowered to enter the workforce.
Pro-Tip: This is a great opportunity to highlight students who may not achieve academic feats but are hard workers and are practicing future-ready skills. By pointing out these students’ positive attributes at parents’ evenings, families will be thrilled with the school’s focus on the whole child.
One of the most important stakeholders in students’ future planning is their families. By constantly communicating about CEIAG and the impact of future-readiness skills, schools can help move conversations had in the classrooms to conversations families have at the dinner table.
Besides communicating with families about daily activities, schools can provide further enrichment opportunities such as discussing careers education and future readiness during parents’ evenings and other school events, sending home supplemental careers exploration activities, and inviting parents to be guest speakers to talk about their own career pathway.