'Send teachers on work experience to boost careers advice'

Short placements working in other sectors could improve advice for students, says Careers and Enterprise Company chair

Teachers could benefit when it comes to offering careers advice by taking part in work placements in industry

Teachers could benefit from exposure to other workplaces through short work placements, the chair of the Careers and Enterprise Company has suggested.

Christine Hodgson, who is also the chairman of consultancy firm Capgemini, said there were great examples of organisations working with schools to give teachers experience of other working environments, including Burberry and Teach First.

“With the best will in the world, how can a teacher talk about all the different jobs that are available in a company?" she said. "You get so much out a textbook, but just spending a short amount of time embedded within a company [can help]."


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Opening teachers' eyes

She added: “Teach First is a great organisation and one of the things they do is give the teachers a work placement.

"I think it is great and I think the more that employers can do it the more it will help. I think that over time, as the careers leader gets really rooted in the schools, with proper training and more engagement with the local communities, their own eyes are going to be opened much more to what is going on. I am quite hopeful for that and I think it is quite key.”

The Careers and Enterprise Company has been given funding to help train careers leaders in schools and colleges. Since 2018, schools and colleges have been required to have a named careers leader in place who can be easily contacted by businesses. This is part of efforts started in the government’s careers strategy to improve information, advice and guidance for young people about the world of work.

'Genuine interest in schools'

Ms Hodgson said she believed there was a “genuine interest” from schools in delivering careers support. She added: “I think there’s almost a bit of a sigh of relief in schools that there’s now a way of measuring how you do. So rather than them having to wrestle with ‘what does good look like?’, there’s a great report written by John Holman and there’s the tool and you clearly show what you should be doing and what you need to do to fill those gaps.

“They do have to do it – it is in the statutory guidance but the speed with which they have started tackling it – we couldn’t believe when the Compass tool was launched, it seemed to go from 500 to 3000 in no time.”

She added: “Any tools that can make it easier for schools who are already – obviously – incredibly busy, with lots to do. I think in a lot of ways we are pushing on an open door.”

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