What does excellence in inspiring teacher engagement in careers education look like?
04 Dec 2023
Young people are fascinated by what their future might look like and frequently turn to their teachers for information and ideas on the sort of jobs they might be interested in doing.
Connecting jobs and careers with how subjects are taught in our schools and colleges brings innovation into the classroom and provides inspiration for students.
Showing young people the relevance of what they are learning in lessons to its practical application in life and work beyond the school gates improves both interest and motivation.
It also helps young people explore the variety of industries, diversity of roles and different pathways into work that are now available to them.
How best to encourage and support all teachers to be part of the careers conversation in our schools and colleges, and continue to move careers from the margins to the mainstream of education, was the subject of our latest Careers Excellence Seminar – the fourth in the series.
Careers Excellence Seminars are an initiative of the Careers & Enterprise Company. They bring together leaders from the employer and education communities to share expertise, highlight innovation and identify practical solutions.
Below is a summary of some of the key insights and practical learnings shared by the panellists on the ways, means and impact of bringing careers into the curriculum. You can also watch the seminar online now.
- Bringing careers into the curriculum is a powerful way of making learning meaningful and connecting with the broader purpose and integral mission of education - preparing young people for rewarding lives beyond education. Quite simply, it answers the often-asked classroom question – ‘when am I ever going to use this in life?’ Drawing the direct relationship between knowledge and skills gives greater purpose to both.
- A key success factor is the established and sustained relationships between schools/colleges and employers through Careers Hubs. These employer relationships are now central to the modern careers education system - they help build student and teacher understanding of workplace of today and enable collaboration on and co-creation of curriculum content.
- Students are asking teachers about careers, so teachers need to know. Providing opportunity for teachers to see and learn about today’s employment landscape through business engagement works, is part of professional development, can be built into CPD programmes and improves classroom practice by broadening the horizons of subject teaching.
- Giving teachers the time and opportunity to step out of the classroom and meet employers – through Teacher Encounters – delivers additional return on investment. Teachers say the knowledge and connections they bring back into the classroom eases their workload by helping students understand concepts in the curriculum more quickly. Learning is accelerated because it is more meaningful and relatable. Students also say linking subjects with real life makes it easier for them to learn.
- Bringing the teaching and business communities together helps deepen understanding. Teachers learn more about the rich diversity of the employment landscape – while many may know about a particular business or sector, it opens eyes to the huge range of different jobs and pathways that are in any particular business and industry. Businesses in turn learn more about the education world, their future workforce and build meaningful connections. Teachers engagement also develop their professional networks across and outside the profession, which positively impact and improve the support available to students.
- The commitment and leadership of senior leadership teams (SLT) in schools is important to success and helps generate a whole school approach linked to school improvement strategies. Reflecting on and resonating with the mission, purpose, values and ethos of the school is an effective way of galvanising greater SLT buy-in. A holistic approach that encompasses the importance of securing sustainable destinations for young people and setting them up for success beyond education helps build recognition that while there are many competing time pressures facing schools and teachers, time invested in teacher engagement programmes is time well spent – delivering wide-ranging and tangible benefits to schools, teachers and students.
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