Press release

Pupils to be advised by employers to pursue ambitious careers

New careers guidance will see employers playing a larger role in careers advice in schools.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Pupils on work experience at the National Grid

Pupils will be inspired and mentored by employers and business leaders to pursue ambitious careers under new guidance for schools published today by Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock.

The Department for Education guidance will ensure schools provide pupils with experience of the world of work to give them the confidence and skills to fulfil their potential.

It will also highlight the importance of pupils gaining the skills that employers must look for when hiring, such as maths and science qualifications.

The statutory guidance states a school’s careers and inspiration guidance strategy should:

  • offer mentoring and coaching, inspirational speakers, workplace and higher education visits, networking events and careers fairs
  • use initiatives that help to forge links between schools and employers, such as Business in the Community, Career Academies and Inspiring the Future
  • ensure pupils have information on the full range of education and training options
  • measure the effectiveness of their careers and inspiration activity by using official data on the education, training and employment of previous pupils

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said:

To be successful in their future careers, young people need inspiration and mentoring as much as advice. This important guidance will encourage schools to help pupils develop high aspirations to realise their potential.

Employers and those themselves in careers they love are best placed to pass on knowledge and enthusiasm to young people. That is why we are encouraging schools to build links with employers to ensure pupils leave school with the skills employers need.

There is now no excuse for schools and colleges not to engage local employers or for employers not to support schools and colleges to help young people in the transition from education to employment.

Today’s announcement comes as part of a broader shift towards more rigorous careers guidance, as outlined in the government’s inspiration vision statement, published in September 2013. Other measures include:

  • requiring schools to offer independent and impartial careers guidance to pupils between the ages of 13 and 18
  • giving the National Careers Service a greater role in bringing schools and employers closer together
  • Ofsted giving careers guidance a higher priority in school inspections

The guidance includes examples of schools that already offer innovative careers guidance. Woodham Academy, in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, invited employers working in the local business park to discuss careers with their pupils. This led to conferences between their 14-year-old pupils and local employers, and an Apprenticeship Challenge day involving speed-networking sessions with businesses and employers mentoring pupils.

The Charter School, an academy in Southwark, has formed mentoring and training links with PricewaterhouseCoopers, magazine publishers IPC Media and King’s College Hospital, among other local businesses. The academy’s teachers also work with mentors to highlight their pupils’ strengths and weaknesses, especially in maths, science and languages. All the pupils on the mentoring scheme have obtained a place at their chosen university or college, or found employment.

Brian Lightman, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

The provision of high-quality careers guidance which enables young people to navigate through the bewildering range of opportunities in a fast-moving world remains an enormous challenge to schools.

We are therefore pleased that this more detailed statutory and non-statutory guidance has been prepared and includes case study examples of how schools are approaching the challenge.

Jake Hayman, founder of Future First, which sets up links mentoring and work experience networks with state schools, said:

We know that young people, particularly from less advantaged backgrounds, often don’t know about the huge range of opportunities that will be available to them in the future.

By exposing them to real-life role models, schools can motivate students, raise aspiration and help young people make informed choices whilst at school.

Notes to editors

  1. View the statutory guidance published today.
  2. View the supplementary non-statutory advice also published today, which highlights good practice and case studies.
  3. Schools have a statutory duty to secure access to independent and impartial careers guidance on the full range of education and training options, including apprenticeships. This was introduced in September 2012 for year 9 to 11 pupils. It was extended to years 8 to 13 in September 2013.
  4. Going in the right direction? Careers guidance in schools from September 2012, an Ofsted report into careers guidance published in September 2013, criticised the previous careers system. The Government issued an action plan in response, as well as the careers inspiration vision statement, which paved the way for guidance that encourages schools to work with employers to offer improved careers guidance.

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Published 10 April 2014