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7 Simple Ways Your School Can Give Better CEIAG

Every young person needs and deserves good careers education, information, advice & guidance (CEIAG). But is your school doing its bit to ensure this career guidance is as valuable as possible for students?

It’s an urgent requirement, with 92% of students saying they don’t get any career-related advice from their schools. Ofsted recently warned, “Most schools are failing to prepare students for careers,” and the government has responded with a brand new careers strategy, a strategy placing significant emphasis on the importance of employer engagement and merging the world of work with the classroom.

In a recent post, we’ve thrown ourselves into the nitty-gritty of what exactly employer engagement is, as well as sharing six employer engagement activities that we reckon would inspire your students to take on the world. In this blog we’re going to take a look at seven actionable ways schools can develop their CEIAG, giving students a more comprehensive understanding and better preparation for their future.

Develop CEIAG content in all subjects

PSHE lessons have a small amount or career advice and guidance in them. The national curriculum core themes for these sessions are: health and well being, relationships and living in the wider world and so consequently any sort of career-focused learning falls on the back of a varietal subject.

But in truth, each subject should have some applied career teaching included in with subjects in schools leading to a multiple of lucrative and exciting jobs. Sharing and infusing career understanding within all subjects will help inspire students through their everyday learning, and stimulate a better career understanding through applying it to subjects and making it a more consistent action. What’s better than providing every learner with an understanding of how their favourite subjects can help them to gain entry to a wide range of occupations?

With a shortage of candidates for STEM jobs, it’s never been more important to encourage students to adopt a career frame of mind as early as possible. Including the exciting and diverse jobs within Maths and Science lessons may help engage students with the industry earlier. Ways to do this could include subject-specific career lessons, learning about case studies, getting talks from professionals, and much more.

Give all pupils all the info

No matter what the interests or expectations of the student, provide them with all the options available to them.

Half of young people can be expected to go to university, which means half of your student body will not. Students have more post-learning options than ever before when they leave school and shouldn’t be led to the preferred direction.

Many of your students will often assume that university is their only option. But apprenticeships and vocational training are widely accessible and increasingly being viewed as an entry point to rewarding, lucrative careers. The aim should be for all students to get the same quality advice on all routes available to them to aid them in picking the perfect journey for them.

Keep track of your alumni

A great way to know how to give the best advice and guidance to your current pupils is to keep track of what your former pupils did. Showing students positive examples of how previous school leavers have succeeded is a great way to get students engaged with tangible and inspiring case studies. Alumni can also volunteer to mentor students, with their knowledge of the school and the local area making them the ideal candidate to dish out relevant advice.

Conducting something as simple as a school leavers survey can help you improve how your careers advice and guidance is given. You can do this by using smart survey who specialise in education surveys – they have a template available curated specifically for school leavers’ feedback.

Springpod’s alumni solution allows you to do this even more easily. You can create an engaged alumni community to support your students as well get invaluable data to better prepare you when creating bespoke career guidance and classes for your students.

It’s not just about getting the job, it’s keeping it too

A survey conducted with 3000 employers by the London Evening Standard concluded that 57% of students were lacking basic self-management skills.

So as well as training students to interview well and successfully fill out application forms, training them in real-world skills will benefit them. An understanding of time management, basic admin, social skills, leadership, and much more will make a huge difference once they get into the workplace.

A handy free resource you may want to make use of is the career planning toolkit from Worldskillsuk, which includes lessons such as:

  • Building your career journey.
  • Building work skills.
  • Two steps forward, one step back? – being prepared for the challenges and opportunities of a changing world

Use the Gatsby Benchmarks

Implementing the Gatsby Benchmarks has been proven to have a real impact in schools, with 71% achieving a stable careers programme.  

A two-year pilot with 16 schools in the North East of England has demonstrated the significant progress that can be made. By the end of the pilot 100% of the participants were achieving at least four of the benchmarks. 85% were achieving six or more, and three schools were achieving all eight.

Ryan Gibson, the National Facilitator for the Gatsby Benchmarks Pilot said of the success:

“The Gatsby Good Career Guidance pilot in North East England has shown conclusively that the Gatsby Benchmarks work, and work well, for every type of school. They provide a clear framework that can help coordinate activity across the whole school, from subject teachers to governors and administration staff. The Benchmarks also help external stakeholders, such as employers, clearly see where they can fit into a school’s careers programme.”

This all originates from a research report from The Gatsby Foundation in 2013. The report was commissioned by Lord Sainsbury, with Sir John Holman being appointed to lead a research team to focus on international advice for what works in career development.  

Read more about the different benchmarks here.

Make it a collaborative effort with parents

Make sure everyone is on the same page and it’s a team effort: student, school and parent/guardian. 84% of students surveyed by The Telegraph say that they would like more input from schools and teachers when it comes to career guidance. As a result of this, 43% of them have relied on career guidance from parents.

Parents and guardians are always going to know their child very well, and so their support is invaluable. Especially when it comes to implementing a careers programme. Several researchers have found that parents are amongst the most influential sources of career information and advice. In a UK study by Russell and Wardman found that:

“On the whole, young people are more likely to have discussed the various career resource materials with their parents than with their careers teachers or advisers.”

Parents/guardians have the advantage of being able to talk to their children in the informal comfort of their own home. So they are key in ensuring that conversations and discussions on careers and the world of work are infused into many aspects of the child’s life. Let the parents and guardians know what their child is being offered when it comes to advice, support and even work experience. Then encourage discussion between them about this.

Introduce a telephone or email service

Secondary education can be a challenging time for students, particularly if a student is introverted.

In one survey, 34% of students admitted they had never met with an advisor any time during their school career. It’s the age-old problem of ‘you don’t ask, you don’t get’ and many students miss out because they find it too nerve-wracking to ask for help.

A telephone or email careers service, where students could put forward questions or concerns with the comfort of a sort-of barrier, could be a helpful step. Today’s students generally find it easier to communicate via email, and so utilising this could increase interaction with discussions on careers and help less vocal students to come forward and get the advice and guidance they need and deserve.

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Lewis Taplin

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