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Government announces new Careers Strategy

Government announces new Careers Strategy

By Andy Pickles, CEO and Founder of U-Explore

Today, the long-awaited Careers Strategy was finally revealed by the Skills Minister, Anne Milton. This welcome announcement serves as a reminder that schools are doing everything they should be if they are to ensure all their students leave with the qualifications, skills and attitude to enable them to make a positive transition into post-16 education and ultimately on to employment.

The Gatsby benchmarks of good career guidance are central to the strategy, and rightly so, but have been in existence for some time now and I am happy to see many schools I visit adopting them, despite the challenge of implementing them into an already busy timetable and often with limited resource; both financial and human.

Unless careers education becomes core and is appropriately financed (and consistently across all schools) with meaningful measures there is a risk that – regardless of a strategy – it will always be a ‘bolt on’ in many schools as other priorities will understandably take preference such as attainment, attendance and progress.

In my opinion, there is no greater priority than ensuring every child has access to the appropriate careers information at the right time. This includes access to multiple encounters with employers across industries, including STEM, as well as professional guidance along the way to help students to navigate their path from education to employment. After all, this is the future workforce who will drive our economy in the years to come.

It’s vital we do the best we can to help schools and colleges deliver the best version of this strategy, understanding the individual circumstances of their school.

Thankfully at U-Explore, we have spent the last two years shaping a product and a support service that schools and colleges are turning to which enables them to deliver a flexible careers programme tailored to meet the dynamic of their situation and available resource.

We launched Start in 2016 – a comprehensive and free careers platform – and is now used by more than 2,000 schools and colleges in the UK to support the delivery of a personalised journey relevant to each student’s specific aspirations and needs.

We agree that online careers information alone is not a ‘magic bullet’ for delivering good career guidance and that schools must plan and connect a coherent programme of activities. Start, however, is designed to underpin this programme as a resource accessed regularly by students from Year 7 to 13, with tools to support schools to deliver the right information at the right time, and in good time.

Whilst the software is free – and always will be – we also recognise that many schools need additional support to make things happen and to evidence against the internal and external benchmarks being laid out. We therefore also offer a support service that covers staff CPD, strategy planning and implementation, along with tailored reports on student activity in Start to monitor and measure the impact of careers education and guidance across the school.

And finally, one of the most valuable things we offer our registered schools and colleges using Start is the opportunity to be part of a network, through which we can make valuable connections and share good practice. With the Government’s announcement, now is the perfect time to join this network and here are two opportunities to get started –

  • We run a series of free, regular webinars with the next one scheduled for 12th December which will focus on how Start maps to the Gatsby Benchmarks – you can sign up here
  • On Friday 26th January 2018, we will be speaking at an event hosted by one of our partners, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, in Canary Wharf, London to highlight Start’s successes to date and future plans – you can join us and register your interest here