Careers is back on the education agenda in a big way. New government initiatives, a new Ofsted framework and fast approaching deadlines for success are playing a key role in motivating schools to critically examine existing careers provision.

With the advent of National Careers Week this week, it’s a great opportunity to reflect on your current careers provision and what you can be doing to shine a light on your excellent practice!

December 2020 is the deadline for schools and colleges to be compliant with the seven Gatsby Benchmarks. So with that in mind, I’ve highlighted below some quick wins you can use in working towards meeting your requirements:

  1. Promote your careers programme. Double check you have all your information published on your website. This was a duty in September, but things may have evolved since then so check to make sure you are shouting about all the great stuff you are doing and that it’s included! This can include any of the activities you are doing for National Careers Week, such as the teacher career door signs available on the NCW website.
  2. Learn from career and labour market information (LMI). There are some great assemblies on the NCW website, specifically this one for KS4 looking at LMI in detail.
  3. Address the needs of each pupil. Every pupil will have different ideas, so starting any careers session by asking a class what ideas they have about jobs is a great icebreaker. This can then be extended into a class discussion stimulated by looking at the excellent videos on CareersBox which cover a vast array of jobs.
  4. Link curriculum learning to careers. This range of 20 motivational subject-specific resources gets students thinking about what subjects they are interested in and what jobs they might lead to. Videos and guides introduce KS3 and KS4 students to the opportunities higher education offers them by investigating career options, outlines skills they might gain and signposts other potential routes such as apprenticeships.
  5. Engage with employers and employees. Use your Local Enterprise Adviser network to find some speakers to come into lessons in the future. You may have had this on a to-do list for a while, but what better week to make time to engage with your local employer support network.
  6. Encourage experience of workplaces. Not just work experience. Try thinking outside the box. Does your school do numerous trips and visits to different places across the school year? All of these are employers, so can you capitalise and ask for a ‘careers report’ each time a trip goes out? What people do they meet? What jobs do they see that they haven’t heard of before? What does the working environment look like?
  7. Inspire students to research. Use BBC Bitesize Careers to explore ‘where could your favourite subject take you?’, ‘explore careers by job sectors’ and ‘careers A-Z: find your perfect job’. The site is also a good source of advice on applying for jobs and next steps (apprenticeships, college and university).
  8. Make careers discussions fun & interactive. Test students’ knowledge of careers and education with questions on which professions earn the most money, who the largest employer in the country is, which famous people did apprenticeships, and more. This can be a starting point for careers guidance discussions.

All of these ideas alongside many more can be found on the official National Careers Week website, and remember that careers isn’t just a focus for one week a year – you can use and embed these amazing resources across your careers programme!

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You can also learn more about the Gatsby Benchmarks and meeting your DFE statutory requirements by viewing the following webinar.