A recent study has demonstrated a link between careers talks in schools and academic achievement. As I have just become a volunteer Enterprise Advisor, alongside being MD of Haines Watts Hereford, it’s a timely reminder of the good that can be achieved when educators and employers work together.
I am a firm believer that there needs to be more synergy between the world of education and the world of work. Any employer who has interviewed candidates with no concept of what ‘work’ is will feel the same. Up until now I have only really seen it from an employer’s perspective but the research conducted by the charity Education and Employers has shown there are significant advantages for pupils as well.
Their research, ‘Motivated to Achieve’, showed a change in attitudes amongst children who had attended careers talks with volunteers from a range of industries and professions. It was found that ‘employer encounters’ influenced the pupil’s plans and subject choices, motivated them to study more and ultimately improved academic attainments. It is particularly encouraging that lower achievers and less engaged learners responded best to career talks. The research is supported by anecdotal evidence from teachers who believe that employer encounters help pupils see the value of education.
The Enterprise Adviser Network looks to go a step further than careers talks, partnering senior business leaders with schools and colleges to help them develop a careers strategy with the employability of pupils in mind. As an Enterprise Advisor, I will advise on the skills and aptitudes employers are looking for, offer practical assistance in refining interview technique and facilitate other employer encounters.
The Enterprise Advisor Network is a positive and effective initiative to bridge the gap between the worlds of work and education but it’s not alone. One of the most radical new approaches to education is being developed right on our doorstep in Hereford as the New Model in Technology and Engineering (NMiTE) takes shape. The curriculum of this new University, which opens its doors to its first cohort in 2020, is being developed in partnership with engineering companies to balance high level technical education with workplace skills. Rather than a focus on exam results, NMiTE students will ‘learn by doing’ making them work-ready practical problem solvers.
The success of NMiTE and the Enterprise Advisor Network in preparing young people for the world of work remains to be seen but the evidence suggests that increased collaboration between education and work is a good thing for all and I’m pleased to be playing my part.
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