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Economically disadvantaged and coastal communities outperform affluent counties in careers provision.

Schools and colleges in disadvantaged and coastal communities are benefiting most from improvements to careers education, according to data released today. 

New evidence released today points to a contrasting picture across the country, with the top five performing areas made up of largely coastal and economically disadvantaged communities, while the bottom five is made up almost exclusively of affluent counties in the South East.

Published in 2017, The government’s Careers Strategy called on all schools and colleges in England to work towards the Gatsby Benchmarks of good careers education. Based on international best practice, the Benchmarks set the standard for world-class careers.

We have today, released a detailed breakdown of how well schools and colleges in different areas of the country are doing in implementing each of these standards. The Humber, Birmingham, North Yorkshire and the Solent all made it into the top five for supporting young people to prepare for the world of work, while the bottom five was comprised of some of the most affluent areas in the country.

These results follow on from innovative pilot work in the North East of England, which set the template for a ‘Careers Hub’ model now being rolled out across the country. When the pilot started in 2015, none of the 16 schools and colleges involved achieved more than three benchmarks. Half did not achieve a single Benchmark. But after two years the vast majority (85%) hit between six and eight Benchmarks.

The report - the first time such regional level data has been released – underlines how communities further from the economic opportunities of London and the South East are blazing a trail in careers education. Examples include:

  1. Cornwall leading the country on work experience, with two-thirds (67%) of schools and colleges ensuring every student has direct experience of the workplace
  2. Cumbria leading on employer encounters, with two-thirds (65%) of schools and colleges ensuring every student has regular, meaningful interactions with employers
  3. More schools and colleges in Liverpool (42%) ensuring all young people learn from Labour Market Information than anywhere else
  4. Tees Valley leading the way on access to further and higher education, with 42% of schools and colleges ensuring all students have access to university, further education and apprenticeship providers.
  5. Schools in the Solent most likely to provide all young people with personal guidance (84%) and ensuring careers educations addresses the needs of each pupil (27%)

Christine Hodgson, Chairman of The Careers & Enterprise Company and of consultancy firm Capgemini UK plc, said:

“These improvements are the result of a huge targeted effort by government, employers and providers to improve careers education for young people that need it most.

“From speaking to schools and college leaders in these communities, we get a strong sense that they are working so hard to improve careers education because they see it as an answer to the social mobility challenge they see every day.

“Young people often have high aspirations, but they don’t always get the support they need to realise those aspirations. By educating them about the possible options that exist, by creating opportunities for them to interact directly with employers from all sorts of industries, these schools are rising to this challenge.”