You can never start careers education too early. There is growing evidence that children's experiences in primary school influence their career decisions later in life. By the time they reach secondary school, their perception of their abilities and interests are already set.
Research for the Department for Education and Employment shows that primary teachers are more familiar with the term "work-related activities" than "careers education". But whatever they call it, they teach it in order to enhance the curriculum and help pupils understand the relevance their learning has in the world outside.
The department sys it is important to embed work-related activities in the curriculum, rather than feature them as one-off events. Long and short term planning is essential, particularly in terms of working with link companies. It's also important to design the project to be realistic, achievable and measurable. Local education authorities and organisations such as Education Business Partnerships are useful and the support and interest of senior management is imperative.
DfEE Research Briefing No. 3 Work-related Learning Activities in Primary Schools - Examples of Good Practice (Ref: CIDRDTRB9901) can be ordered from the DfEE Publications Centre. Tel: 0845 6022260