Real connections made between schools and business in the Midlands at ASCL conference

Date posted: March 10, 2018
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Midlands ASCL conference

Young people benefit from meeting employers to find out about careers and to be inspired in new ways, making that happen is a challenge. Employers feel schools do not respond to their offers of support. Schools are tied by full timetables and lack of resources to organise.

The Careers & Enterprise Company recognises the need to support environments where employers and school leaders can get together to discuss ways to positively engage. Working together with the Midlands Engine will help to make this connection a reality.

On 9 March, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) held their annual conference, ‘Leading The Way’ in Birmingham which brought employers and school leaders together, for the first time at the conference, to make these vital connections.

The Careers & Enterprise Company played a leading role in helping ASCL to bring business leaders to the conference. The event provided an opportunity for these delegates to meet and hear from ASCL General Secretary, Geoff Barton, ASCL President Carl Ward and Paul Drechsler, President of CBI and Claudia Harris, CEO of The Careers & Enterprise Company.

Encounters with the work place are a critical aspect of the support young people need – by connecting them to employers and employees – they have the opportunity to ask questions, challenge perceptions and get a real taste of what different careers look like.

Without these encounters, the world of work remains an abstract concept for many secondary school children, with research indicating that young people are 86% less likely to be employed or in further education or training1. The same research also indicates that with the right number of encounters, they can earn up to 18% more during their career.

Jon Witt, Program Manager at the Rail Delivery Group said:

Being at this event really confirmed to me the important role we have to play as businesses. I intend to follow-up, and see where there are further opportunities for the Rail Delivery Group to provide support.

The Government’s Careers Strategy, launched at the end of 2017, identifies an additional requirement for all pupils in school years 7 to 13 to have at least one encounter per year.

The message from The Careers & Enterprise Company is that although real progress has been made over the last two years, with many employers stepping up to meet the challenge, there’s still lots to be done.

Claudia Harris, Chief Executive of The Careers & Enterprise Company said:

Young people need vivid experiences with potential employers to bring career opportunities to life. It’s fantastic news that so many employers already recognise this vital fact. Over the last two years, The Careers & Enterprise Company has seen a 50% increase in the number of encounters young people have been able to make with the world of work.

But lots more still needs to be done and it’s more important than ever that we connect employers of all sizes and from all sectors to young people. We are asking them to work with us to help young people to fulfil their potential.

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders said: 

It’s hugely beneficial to young people to hear directly from employers, not only on the practical level of understanding future career opportunities, but because it is inspiring for them to see what they can achieve in their lives. We need to work together with employers to create more opportunities for young people to visit workplaces and for employers to come into our schools to talk to pupils. We are therefore very pleased to be welcoming business leaders to our Annual Conference in Birmingham to help make links with more than 1,000 school and college leaders.

Pictured: Group Captain Wendy Rothery, Head of Recruiting & Selection, Royal Air Force

1 Mann, A et al (2017) Contemporary Transitions: Young people reflect on life after secondary school and college.

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