New Employer Standards are improving education outreach

Jan 23, 2024 | Attraction & marketing, Home Featured, News

A new self-assessment framework for employers is improving the quality and precision of education outreach at scale, explains The Careers and Enterprise Company.

Employers are now front and centre of modern careers education. When young people meet with multiple employers in multiple ways, they gain skills, networks, confidence, social capital and are better able to understand new and changing routes into work – disadvantaged young people benefit most.

There are clear business benefits too. The broader and deeper outreach programmes are, the more employers say they help close skills gaps and develop and diversify talent pipelines.

At a time of acute skills shortages, businesses are gaining significantly from effective outreach, helping shape the workforce of tomorrow.

The Careers and Enterprise Company’s new Employer Standards are designed to improve the impact of education outreach, benefiting business, young people and ultimately the wider economy. Outreach leading to intake.

Our Employer Standards are a new self-assessment framework designed to support companies and improve the quality and precision of education outreach at scale.

They help companies target their work with schools and colleges to align with their business strategies, create the impact they are looking for and compare their programmes to other industries.

Nine Employer Standards

There are a total of nine standards based on the best available evidence about what works in education outreach.

They include providing meaningful opportunities for young people (standard 1), building their essential skills and explaining their relevance to prepare them for the workplace (standard 4) and partnering with education and other businesses (standard 8).

After completing the self-assessment, businesses gain an understanding of how they are performing against each standard on a sliding scale from ‘aspiring’ through ‘achieving’ to ‘exceeding’.

Analysis includes how they compare against businesses of their size, sector and region. There’s also access to specific support and resources to improve impact and raise quality standards.

Standards in practice

More than 400 companies, who together employ more than one million people, have already used the Standards to assess the impact of and help shape their education outreach. They include leading national companies like BAE Systems, Tesco, Lloyds Banking Group, KPMG, Coca Cola, Morgan Sindall and Thatcher’s Cider.

These employers are reporting direct business benefits from the work they are doing with schools, colleges and students

More than four in five (83%) say it is helping develop new talent pipelines, with 86% saying it is encouraging young people to take up careers in their sector. Seventy per cent say it is helping close skills gaps.

At a time when, according to the British Chambers of Commerce’s Quarterly Recruitment Outlook, nearly three quarters of firms (73%) are struggling to recruit people with the right skills, companies across the economy say their work on the front-line of the education sector is helping drive recruits through the door and delivering value for money:

  • Nearly four in five (78%) say it’s encouraging young people to apply for roles in their business. Three quarters (75%) say it’s boosting apprenticeship applicants.
  • 72% say it’s improving early years recruitment. Nearly four in ten (37%) say it’s helping cut recruitment costs. More than two thirds (67%) say it’s helping improve the diversity of their workforce – another key boardroom challenge.
  • Employers that engage parents in their careers outreach report additional benefit in their efforts to attract young talent and recruit. These employers are 30% more likely to say their outreach is helping them close skills gaps versus employers that don’t engage parents (82% v 63%).

The Employer Standards also highlight areas to work on. While 41% overall currently help prepare young people for job applications, the focus tends to be on areas like interview practice (71%). Only 35% support on other areas like assessment centres, psychometric testing and presentations, despite these being increasingly common features in recruitment and selection.

With the business community continuing to face persistent and pervasive skills challenges together with the pressing need to support our young people to become fit for the jobs the future, working with schools and colleges is a proven way of developing young people’s skills for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

With the new Employers Standards business can gain the insight and support they need to be part of the solution, make a difference and play an active role in helping shape the skills of their future workforce.

Meeting Registration – Zoom to sign up to our next webinar on the framework and tool on Tuesday 13 February between 12.00 and 12.45.

You may also be interested in…

What makes good employer engagement in schools?

How to build an effective school outreach programme

Work experience for teachers is forging stronger employer partnerships 

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