Children as young as 2 should be introduced to careers education through creative activities, a charity says.
A report for Founders4Schools, entitled titled "More Than a Job’s Worth: Making Careers Education Age-Appropriate", says careers education should be introduced to the youngest pupils, with activities aimed at broadening their horizons and challenging stereotypes.
Research for the report by thinktank LKMco says some nurseries and primaries have added "jobs corners" to their classrooms, where costumes, props and stories about different professions are available.
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Older pupils would benefit from presentations from external speakers, off-site visits and mentoring from age 14, the report suggests.
Careers education in primary school
It recommends that schools should appoint a senior leader, governor or trustee to be responsible for careers education, and that parents should be fully involved.
It also says that funding should be available to help pupils in rural areas to reach work experience locations.
Founders4Schools chair Sherry Coutu said: “We know that solving the skills crisis is the most important issue of our time, and that we are all part of the solution. We are also acutely aware of how difficult it can be for educators, parents and students to be confident in the choices they are making, given the speed of change across the world of work.”
LKMco head of policy advocacy Will Millard said: “This research highlights that careers education is not something that should be reserved for older pupils.
“Although schools do not exist just to prepare young people for the labour market, young children, and especially those from poorer backgrounds, stand to benefit from thoughtful careers-focused activities as soon as they begin school.”