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Closing the Gap 2019

20 Jan 2020

Employer engagement with schools and colleges is critical to the delivery of world-class careers education. In recent years, the number of employer encounters and workplace experiences that young people receive has increased significantly, aided by a system of national support and coordination. But there is more to do – and we know what it will take to finish the job, enabling all young people to engage meaningfully with employers, so that they can be inspired by and better prepared for the world of work. 

1. Employer engagement matters

The Government’s Careers Strategy places employers at the centre of careers education for young people. This is because of the compelling evidence that exposure to business has multiple impacts, including a positive effect on young people’s aspirations, awareness, skills as well as their attitude to studying.

Young people are now experiencing, and needing to adapt to, a fast-changing labour market. And we know that fewer young people are undertaking part-time employment in addition to their studies. This makes the need for high quality workplace experiences and links to employers even greater during their education. Aside from the positive effects on young people there are benefits to business and to the employers that take part – by raising the skills of staff involved and by developing talent pipelines.

The Careers Strategy sets out an ambitious goal of providing at least one encounter with an employer per year for the seven years that young people spend in secondary and further education (a minimum of seven encounters), as well as at least two experiences of the workplace before they leave full-time education.

2. We are seeing progress

We track the volume of student engagement with employers through detailed data from 4,000 schools and colleges in England. Our analysis shows that more young people are now accessing employers during their time in secondary education than in recent years.

Four out of five young people now meet employers every year to learn about the world of work and two out of three leave school and college having had experiences of the workplace.  In the last 18 months the number of young people who don’t regularly meet employers has fallen rapidly.

Thanks to the efforts of employers this gap has reduced by nearly half in the past 18 months - from 1.2 million to 700,000 out of a total student population of 4 million.

Read the full findings

Find out more about our Closing The Gap report.

Download the report


Read a summary of the report.

Download the executive summary