How to work with schools despite lockdown

Dec 2, 2020 | Apprentices & school leaver

How to work with schools despite lockdown

Dec 2, 2020 | Apprentices & school leaver

How employers and schools can work together despite lockdown was the topic in a recent ISE webinar. Aimee Higgins, Director of Employers and Partnerships, at The Careers & Enterprise Company shares key insights and advice.

Our next generation is the future talent pipeline and has always been critical to business success. It’s now more urgent than ever – for business, society, the economy and young people themselves – that they are supported during this time of unprecedented uncertainty.

A poll of nearly 5,000 teachers for The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) asked what they thought would best prepare students for the post-pandemic jobs market (Teacher Tapp June 2020).

Seventy four per cent said employability skills are now the most important way to improve pupils’ career prospects, compared to 62% who said good academic grades.

Almost three-quarters (74%) of teachers say skills like teamwork and public speaking will better equip pupils to secure a good job in these uncertain economic times.

This belief is echoed by business leaders in a recent poll by Savanta Comres for CEC. More than nine in ten (93%) say essential employability skills like listening, presenting, problem-solving and creativity will improve young people’s job prospects in the post-Covid jobs market.


Skills for the future

The phrase ‘fast changing world of work’ has never been truer. Our changing workplaces and working styles means we need different skills and attitudes from our early talent. More resilient, more able to work independently, with greater confidence to self-manage workloads and ask for help.

In the ISE Student Recruitment Survey 2020, 75% of employers said that resilience would become more important over the next five years – more so than any other skill.

In that same Savanta Comres poll of business leaders, more than three quarters (77%) believe Covid-19 will have a profound and permanent impact on where and how we work, with more than eight in ten (83%) saying skills like self-motivation and reliability to work remotely will now be essential.

Young people can’t develop these skills by themselves. They need support to understand and foster them, opportunities to practice them and networks and mentors to help them recognise and make the most of their talents.

Youth unemployment is growing every month with recent ONS figures showing 300,000 of the half million job losses since the pandemic began were amongst 16-24 year olds.

However, as indicated by ISE’s survey, there are still a large number of opportunities for young people. We need to share these good news stories so that young people don’t lose hope and they understand the growth sectors and emerging roles that will be part of the job landscape when they leave education.

And it’s not all altruistic – if businesses don’t participate during the recession, their brand and industry will be on the back foot. They will risk struggling to access the talent they’ll need to address skills shortages arising from an ageing workforce, Brexit and a changing consumer landscape.


Careers guidance

The CEC is the government-backed national body who connects businesses with education to ensure young people are prepared and inspired for the ever-changing world of work.

Over recent years, we have supported a transformation in careers guidance across the country. Working with all parties to raise the standard and deliver excellence to young people, so they have the best possible start in life.

It can feel hard to connect with education during this time of lockdown, but the infrastructure and support that we’ve set up over the last five years is here to help.

Our national network of Enterprise Coordinators support clusters of local secondary schools and colleges and can help you understand what’s needed locally and make introductions.

During lockdown we have seen fantastic examples of employers transforming their traditional activities of career talks and work experience to deliver them virtually, and we’ve seen young people engage more than ever. Our new “Can Do” guide for employers highlights examples of what employers have been doing and links to support and resources.


Top 5 tips for working with schools

1. Keep engaging with schools and colleges

Careers leaders – the teachers who specialise in careers education in schools and colleges – continue to have ambitious plans to ensure all young people can prepare for the world of work. Employer support is a vital part of making these plans a reality and there’s lots of ways you can reach a broader audience using virtual activities.


2. Work with your local LEP team

Working with your Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) team will help you to understand what schools and colleges need most now. Consider your activities in the context of individual school or college recovery plans and the best times and duration to run activities for. Connect with your Local Enterprise Coordinator here.


3. Share local market Information

It will be helpful to schools and colleges if you can share up-to-date Local Market Information about the opportunities available in your organisation and what skills are required, particularly in this fast-changing labour market.


4. Link with the curriculum

Link your careers activities to the curriculum to make them stick. This will also help to support subject teachers to embed careers in their planning.


5. Target students in need

Work with your school or college to identify the cohorts and students most in need of support and target your activities to help them.

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