Call to action for local employers to support schools in helping raise awareness about the world of work
21 May 2012
About 80 delegates, including local employers and representatives from Career Wales, attended two events held by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and Careers Wales at Llandudno, North Wales and Barry, South Wales
The UK Commission for Employment and Skills shared their recent report, Business and Schools; Building the world of work together, with delegates, as well as a number of case studies of good practice. Many Welsh employers, including those at the events, had taken part in the research for this report.
The events also celebrated the work that is already taking place between local employers and schools and colleges, as well as providing a “call to action” for other employers to get involved. Careers Wales outlined the role that they can play to help broker the initial relationship between an employer and a school and arrange activities such as work experience and taking part in mock interviews.
The report finds that although schools often have close links with local employers, a few simple steps could make these partnerships more effective.
- Increasing the flexibility of work experience placements so that these can be run throughout the year and integrated more seamlessly into the curriculum
- More employer visibility in and around schools – for example, providing materials to support the curriculum; arranging site visits and visiting schools to speak about their business
- Providing up to date careers information and helping to raise the profile of lesser-known careers.
The report calls upon schools, governing bodies, local authorities and the government to help remove obstacles which may hamper effective partnerships, such as inflexible curriculum planning and health and safety fears.
Sarah Finnegan-Dehn, Careers Wales, who presented at one of the event said: “With the current economic situation, and unemployment amongst young people the highest it’s been for many years, it’s more important than ever that local young people are aware of the opportunities available and are inspired by individuals who are motivated by their area of work, so we are asking employers to please get involved and lend their support if they are not already involved. This awareness combined with careers guidance will help young people make effective decisions.”
Lisa Morgan, Communications Assistant at Magnox (Wyfla Power Station), who shared her experiences of working with schools on STEM subjects said: “This event was a great opportunity to meet with other employers and share our experiences of working with schools. The momentum amongst companies supporting STEM in North Wales has grown hugely over the last three years and is really palpable now but, if we’re to give all of our young people, a real taste of industry and widen their eyes to different careers, we really do need more employers to join in.
Supporting STEM is a great way to invest in your local schools, whilst also developing your staff and can be achieved with minimal resources…a member of staff’s time for one day? Wylfa are happy to share our workshop models with first time STEM supporters and provide help and advice in whatever way we can.”
Dr Deirdre Hughes, a Commissioner at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and a careers guidance expert added:
"The UK Commission welcomes the opportunity to work with employers in Wales and other key players, such as Careers Wales, to produce evidence of how business and schools can work more effectively together. The employment landscape is fast changing and there's an urgent need to better prepare young people for future possibilities. I’m pleased that the event and report were so well received by delegates working together to improve young people's access to meaningful learning and work.”
For the full report and related case studies see : Business and Schools; Building the world of work together