We were delighted to have been involved with such a great event, with hundreds of Careers Advisers coming to the spectacular News Building with skyline views of London, who all shared one thing in common; wanting to gain more opportunity knowledge. After a fantastic music introduction from the La Swap Soul Jazz Acapella Choir we had a few opening comments from Central Careers Hub Founder Andy Gardner and his new partner, Simon Perriton, Founder of Just IT.
We had some great speakers at the event who gave a true insight as to what is currently happening in the careers space and the range of options out there for young people looking for a career path. The day consisted of the following sections:
Changes in Policy
“It was a great event – a really high quality programme, better than many conferences that cost a small fortune!”
Katharine Horler from Careers England and Yolande Burgess from London Ambitions took the stage to explain how we’re asking young people to consider working in a world that is difficult to describe and therefore needs much more explanation from Careers Advisers, Teachers and opportunity providers
Employers are stating that students don’t know what their strengths are, what they want to learn and what they can do for an organisation. It’s becoming really important to keep more young people switched on and engaged with the possible careers that lie ahead of them.
Katharine also noted that there are now seven government departments involved in the careers space including; BIS, DFE, Ministry of Justice, DWP and the Cabinet Office. She also worried about the financial health of some of the remaining Careers Companies and how worryingly, many in government still talk about a Careers Service in England, and she is having to constantly point out that such a thing no longer exists.
Yolande explained that there are 3000 schools in London and the key recommendations for them through London Ambitions are:
- Access to impartial, independent and personalised careers education, information, advice and guidance
- At least 100 hours of experiences of the world of work for all young Londoners and a personalised digital portfolio
- An explicit publicised careers policy and careers curriculum in every secondary school and college
- A governor with oversight for ensuring the institution supports all students to relate their learning to careers and the world of work from an early age
- Up-to-date, user-friendly labour market intelligence/information (LMI)
- Formation and development of ‘careers clusters’ across London
- The London Ambitions Portal
Through the 100 hours target we need create a journey which could include role model visits, work experience placements, shadowing, badges, work skills after-school clubs and much more. It’s about changing perspectives and helping a young adult see the world of work through as many different types of experience as possible. She also noted that there will be an announcement of who has won the Careers Clusters bids in early June.
Exam Change and its Consequences
“Many congratulations on a great event yesterday. The location, was not only brilliant but gave the audience an experience which they probably rarely get all. I thought you got the balance of topics exactly right too and wonderful to get so many people from this field in one place.”
Tim Miller, Central Careers Hub and Dr Sam Lucy, University of Cambridge spoke about the current changes in exams and how they will have an impact on young people. Tim spoke about how schools face the GCSE and A Level changes and what this will mean to existing students.
Dr Sam Lucy explained how the students of University of Cambridge are thought of as a stereotype when in reality they are all different from one another with one thing in common, a drive to learn and a genuine interest in the course they are studying. These are students who will do the extra reading and analytical thinking because they know what their course requires. The science and maths courses at the university are extremely difficult and can sometimes be stressful. The university will now introduce pre-assessments to differentiate the students’ academic abilities as an addition to the reduced information now coming from schools with the ending of the mass taking of AS Levels.
“Thanks so much for yesterday’s event. It was a great opportunity to meet up with colleagues, hear fresh ideas and feel inspired.”
Stephen North from BIS spoke about the Department for Business Innovation and Skills’ Higher and Degree Apprenticeships. From what from we heard at the conference, there seems to be a lot of confusion when it comes down to Degree Apprenticeships. People often know what a degree is, and some will know what an apprenticeship is, but when they’re put together, that’s when it starts to raise questions? New opportunities will develop all the time and this route will soon start to become more popular. But things will often be very geographical e.g. Tech Degree Apprenticeships are more common in London, and Nuclear and Aerospace will be around the specific centres for these industries.
But employers really need to start thinking harder about the levy. What careers are going to be filled by apprentices? We know that the levy is a hypothecated tax that employers can use for both their current and new apprentices. However, which companies are a part of the levy? Where do SMEs fit in?
Following on, Harry Rideborough and Maddie Coutts from IBM came to the stage to explain how they have taken a year out of university to come and work in London and gain real work experience. They believe that the Degree Apprenticeship programme that IBM offers is great for students as well. They feel they stand out now that they have the experience. People go to university nowadays with the enthusiasm for the university experience – and you can have this in a degree apprenticeship, especially in IBM. Students will have the support, the relocation and the network with other young adults who are in the same situation as one another. So while a Degree Apprenticeship is very hard work, you get many of the plus points of a traditional degree plus financial support rather than a financial burden.
Opportunities for Women in STEM
“It was a really excellent event, good venue and speakers and great networking opportunity.”
We know that there is a shortage of women in STEM industries, but Milkround decided to conduct their own research with SMRS by gathering focus groups of school leavers and graduates together. They spoke about how women feel that there are more opportunities for men in the industry and it’s not made engaging enough for women in their advertising. It was also further explained how the appearance of a company on a website counts for a lot, as young adults want to use their website experience as online shopping, they want to be able to navigate easily and find what they’re looking for. People who seem like real people are wanted on websites, along with the work environment. Young people want everything they need to know in one place.
“I found it extremely valuable and informative”
Laing O’Rourke started talking about their school leaver schemes and were able to explain in full detail what their Apprenticeships and schemes offer to young adults.
Just IT came to the stage with three of their existing apprentices. Each apprentice began to share their experience on the apprenticeship programme and expressed how happy they were that they decided to take this route. For them in school, apprenticeships were never mentioned to them, and if they were mentioned, they were looked down upon.
Each one wanted the hands-on experience, to get started in their career, but the lack of guidance on apprenticeships took its toll on them, but these three decided to go and experience the world of work on their own anyway. This really reinforces the need for impartial careers guidance in schools
The event was rounded off with closing comments from Sarah-Jane from Milkround. We can’t thank Milkround enough for working with CCH to put on such a brilliant event.
The event was a great way to find out further information from different opportunity providers that can be passed onto young adults who are looking at their career options. We hope to see you at the next event.