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Teachers and business say careers education fundamental to support for young people on road to Covid recovery

  • 72% of schools say careers guidance more important than ever due to Covid.
  • 76% of business leaders say now increased need for employers to support young people trying to enter the workplace.
  • Careers education infrastructure delivering critical help young people need and support for local and national economic recovery.

Teachers and business leaders are united in the belief that careers education is central to the support young people need to pick up from the pandemic and find jobs, according to a new report published today.

The Careers Education in England’s Schools and Colleges report by The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) is based on analysis of the latest national polling and survey evidence from business leaders and teachers and detailed data from schools and colleges at the front-line of careers education.

The study shows schools, colleges and business are now working together on a national scale to support young people with coordinated careers guidance, delivering consistent improvement in careers education performance and standards across the country.  

Such support is needed more than ever, with the latest ONS data showing 300,000 job losses since the start of the pandemic are among 16-24 year olds, accounting for 60 per cent of the total number of lost jobs.

Nearly three quarters of school and college leaders (72%) believe careers guidance has become even more important as a result of Covid. The same number say it will be either their top priority or among their top five priorities in the year ahead.

More than four in five business leaders (82%) believe it is important for employers to work with young people in schools and colleges on careers guidance. More than three quarters (77%) say they have a responsibility to ensure schools leavers do not become a lost generation.

Careers guidance has stepped up during the Covid crisis. Nearly nine in ten schools (88%) report the time specialist careers teachers - Careers Leaders - have spent on careers guidance during the pandemic has increased or stayed the same.

Independent research by SQW in the study shows that CEC’s Careers Hubs are leading the charge and accelerating careers education progress. Schools and colleges in Careers Hubs are delivering more than double the level of performance of those outside CEC’s careers education network.

Careers Hubs are partnerships of schools, colleges, LEPs, local authorities and local businesses, helping young people connect closely to local skills and economic need.

Nearly eight in ten schools and colleges (78%) are now in the CEC’s careers education network, working to deliver a consistent national programme of careers provision measured by the exacting standards set by the Gatsby Benchmarks. More than 2,000 of those schools and colleges are now in careers hubs – 45% of the state funded sector. Disadvantaged areas are among the best performing. 

Since the launch of the Government’s Careers Strategy in 2017, overall careers education performance has consistently improved across all measures.

More than nine in ten schools (92%) say careers provision has improved, with the Gatsby Benchmarks being identified as a game changer. Ninety-three per cent feel positive about the future of careers provision.

Seven in ten (71%) of the 260 major businesses who are working with schools and colleges through the CEC network – Cornerstone Employers - say careers education has improved over the last four years.

Young people’s skills and work readiness are improving. Nearly three quarters of young people (73%) say they are more aware of different careers as a result of careers provision.

Nearly seven in ten (69%) say they have a clearer idea about what they need to do to achieve their ambition and three quarters (75%) say they will continue to work on their career goals even when they get frustrated or hit a barrier.

John Yarham, Interim CEO of The Careers & Enterprise Company said:

“This pandemic is having a disproportionate and damaging impact on the prospects of our young people.

“Careers guidance has a vital role to play in supporting them through the ongoing uncertainty and challenges they face.

“Good career guidance matters. It helps young people understand the world of work, make the most of their talents and realise their potential. It also drives positive outcomes for our economy and society such as developing skills, improving productivity and providing a pathway for social mobility.

“The coalition of partners we have brought together and the collaboration created between schools, colleges, business, LEPs and local authorities in communities across the country is driving consistent improvement in careers education performance and standards at both a local and national level.

 “The challenge we face is unprecedented and profound. There is hard work to do and a hard road ahead. It is therefore important we build on the progress made and the knowledge of what works to provide the support our young people need both at this critical time and forward into the future.”

Nicky Morgan, Trustee of The Careers & Enterprise Company and former Education Secretary said:

“The outbreak of an unprecedented global pandemic has created huge challenges to the economy, to education, and to the opportunities open to young people. Careers education has the potential to be part of the answer.

“While we have come a long way over the last five years, we will need to redouble our efforts, building on our infrastructure and local partnerships, to meet the challenge of the next five.

“I have seen the tireless work of schools, colleges and employers to keep things going over the last six months. It is that same innovation and fortitude that will move us forward into a new era for careers support, enabling us to adapt quickly to serve the best interests of young people at this vital time.”

Sir John Holman, Senior adviser to the Gatsby Foundation and Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at York University, who devised the Gatsby Benchmark standards for careers education said:

“What was true before the pandemic, is especially true now.  There are many strategic decisions that need to be taken about next year, about blended learning and digital infrastructure, for example.

“If schools and colleges think about how Careers will be integrated into these decisions, we can build on the great progress that has been made over the last four years

“As we enter the economic recession, students leaving college will need to be able to look critically at the job market, assess opportunities and make well-informed choices.

“Careers is the part of education that gives students these skills, arming them with knowledge about work and about future study and training routes. I urge senior leaders to back their Careers team, and continue delivering the Careers programme that your students need now more than ever.”

The report makes a series of recommendations about the next steps for continuing to develop and deepen careers education in England:

  • Expand Careers Hubs by building on the proven model across the country as the bedrock of future careers provision
  • Empower Careers Leaders through continuing invest in their professional development and status to increase capacity and capability
  • Extend digital transformation through embedding the new Compass+ careers education data platform that enables bespoke careers solutions at an individual pupil level.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT

READ THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY