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A new report by the Education and Employers Charity analyses the opinions of British teaching staff on the value different types of employer engagement and work-related activities. The findings come from analysis of survey responses from 390 secondary school staff about their views on sixteen activities commonly undertaken by schools and colleges including work experience, mentoring, enterprise competitions and careers events with local employers.

Teachers identified which of the activities of which they had first-hand knowledge and were then asked whether they felt activities were effective in helping to achieve a range of objectives related to pupil education and career progression and attainment. The survey then sought views on whether different types of pupils benefited from different types of activities.
The results show that it is the informed view of teaching staff that:

  1. Pupils should take part in a variety of different work-related activities
  2. Priority should be given to activities involving workplace experiences and engagement with real-world employee volunteers
  3. As a minimum, pupils should take part in one or more activity over key stages 3 and 4 related to three discrete areas:
  • The development of Career exploration and recruitment skills. Activities include: Career talks, Career fairs, Workplace visits, Mock Interviews and Job shadowing.
  • Skill development through Enterprise activities, such as:  One-day and Long form enterprise competitions.
  • Sustained engagement with the working world. Activities include: Work experience, Community volunteering and Mentoring.
  1. The needs of higher and lower achievers should be considered separately.
  • Pupils should not be treated as a homogeneous group. They are different – notably by achievement level - and can be expected respond to different activities in different waysFor example, higher achievers are felt to best respond to activities developing career thinking while lower achievers are felt to gain most from deep engagements with the workplace, notably work experience and mentoring.

Dr Anthony Mann, Director of Policy and Research at the Education and Employers Charity said:

“This rare study crowdsources the informed views of teaching professionals and provides significant new evidence about how schools can optimise their engagement with employers.  It enables us to group activities in order to act more strategically and make work-related activities more effective for young people. It is a significant step forward in giving teaching staff a toolkit for practice which is fully informed by evidence.”

Claudia Harris, CEO of the Careers and Enterprise Company said:

“This excellent work by the Education and Employers Taskforce helps to set out the best way to target different careers and enterprise activities.  We welcome the research and will ensure it informs our practice in the Enterprise Advisor Network.”