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Teachers to get work experience in business

22 Nov 2023

  • The Teacher Encounters programme expands by 1,000 - adding to 1,000 teachers who had business work experience with more than 200 companies this year.

  • Independent University of Derby evaluation shows positive impact on teachers and business.

  • 93% of teachers welcome industry experience and want more.

  • 78% say it’s improved the teaching of their subject.

  • 77% of employers say now more able to work with schools - half (49%) intend to do more to recruit young people.

1,000 teachers will be stepping out of the classroom to experience the world of work over the next 12 months, in a Department for Education (DfE) funded national programme called Teacher Encounters. This builds on the 1,000 who have been through the same scheme this year.

Teacher encounters help to link subjects with their application in the workplace. Teachers see first-hand how businesses work, including learning about employment pathways such as apprenticeships. Employers benefit through learning more about schools and how to work with them effectively.

The announcement comes as a new report - published today by the University of Derby - shows the Teacher Encounters programme, developed and delivered by the national body for careers education The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC), is having a positive impact on both teachers and business.

More than 200 companies across the country like Rolls Royce, Hollywood movie special effects company Framestore, Pinewood Studios (the home of James Bond), construction giant Wates and global technology company Siemens are involved and reporting benefits.

More than nine in ten teachers (93%) say workplace experiences were a good use of their time and they would like to do them more frequently – an encouraging result when there are many competing time pressures facing teachers.

A similar proportion (91%) say it has improved their confidence in having careers-related conversations with their students, while nearly four in five (78%) say the experience has improved the teaching of their subject.

Teachers play a key role in students’ career guidance and decisions. The Teacher Encounters programme has increased the ability of teachers to have confident and well-informed careers conversations with students.

More than nine in ten teachers (96%) say it has improved their skills in key areas, like being able to better support their students, link their subjects with careers and improve their knowledge of different career pathways into work. The number teachers saying they now know how to link lessons to the world of work rose 37 per cent (up from 57% to 78%).

The programme also boosted teacher’s confidence in bringing careers into their day-to day work. Confidence levels in talking to parents about their children’s careers (up from 52% to 85%) and talking to students about different routes into jobs (up from 75% to 95%) rose by 63 per cent and 27 per cent respectively.

Employers report significant benefits of participating. More than nine in ten firms (97%) say it’s helped them explain to teachers and young people their future skills needs. More than two thirds (68%) say they’ve learned useful skills through working with teachers. More than three in five said they now had a better understanding of what young people needed to move successfully into work (67%) and the barriers they face (63%).

77 per cent of employers say they are now much more able to work with schools effectively with nearly half (49%) saying they were now more likely to recruit young people. 95 per cent would recommend the programme to colleagues and other businesses.

Jo Higgins, CEO of Dudley Academies Trust, who took part in a Teacher Encounter at manufacturing company Thomas Dudley said:

“I got so much from it. There were so many ideas generated around leadership development for our staff and ways in which we can amend the curriculum, particularly in STEM subjects.

“Teachers are really at the heart of a good school. If we look after our teachers and invest in their professional development, then they will be able to provide first-class provision for the young people in their classrooms.

“Because of the programme, we see our teachers in the classrooms amending their curriculum, witness their commitment and passion for what they’re teaching and the young people being really interested, because it’s so relevant to careers and the workplace.”

Professor Tristram Hooley, who led the research team at the University of Derby said:

“The Teacher Encounters programme has led to a range of positive impacts for both teachers and employers.

“This is important as it demonstrates that well-orchestrated encounters between teachers and employers can have a powerful impact on practice. While the existing research evidence has focused on long, placement-style encounters, this evaluation has found strong evidence for shorter encounters.”

Oli de Botton, Chief Executive of the Careers & Enterprise Company said:

“This new study provides powerful evidence of the benefits of bridging the worlds of business and education and giving teachers meaningful encounters with employers.

“Done well, these encounters inspire teachers, students and employers. Teachers can see first-hand how local businesses work, including the routes in like apprenticeships. Students can benefit when teachers bring this insight into their lessons, linking learning to workplace knowledge. And employers can learn more about the workforce of the future.

“This programme brings careers education further into the mainstream of school and college life. It builds on the enthusiasm we know there is from business to better support schools and from teachers to help students take their best next step.”

Teacher Encounters Evaluation Report

This report is an analysis of the impact of the year-long national pilot programme which delivered over 1000 encounters between teachers and employers.

Read the report

Teacher Encounters Tools and Resources

A teacher encounter provides an opportunity for teachers to engage directly with employers to see and learn about the different career pathways relevant to their subjects, and to observe how their subject is applied practically in business.

Explore more