Improving the. employability. of 16 to 19. year olds

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1 Improving the employability of 16 to 19 year olds A strategy for schools and colleges in South London John Allen - for Business Education London South - June

2 Index page no PART ONE 3 1 Introduction 4 2 The emerging 14 to 19 curriculum 6 3 Employability in the 21 st century Table 1 - Outcomes of the employer survey Recommendations 12 5 A strategy for South London a) Key principles b) Main objectives c) Learning outcomes Table 2 Central London Employability Skills framework d) Assessment of learning Table 3 Accrediting the employability of young people e) Central coordination f) Institutional management g) Differentiation h) Progression i)the employability of girls j) Recommended activities Table 4 A possible programme to improve employability Employer engagement 20 7 Ensuring quality teaching and learning 23 PART TWO Further information Addenda 1 Table 5 Key educational developments Table 6 The government s timetable for change 3 A 14 to 19 entitlement for London 4 Student questionnaire 5 Employer questionnaire 6 Table 7 How student s value previous experience 7 Table 8 What students think employers want 8 Table 9 - A management checklist 9 QCA s framework for work-related learning 10 Table 10 A code of conduct 11 Table 11 The main benefits of education business slinks 12 Table 12 Ways in which businesses can support learning 13 Table 13 Checklist for effective business links 14 Bibliography PART THREE - Case Studies A Charles Darwin School, Bromley B Holy Cross School, Kingston-on-Thames C Ravensbourne School, Bromley D Croydon College E Bromley College F Richmond College - Business G Richmond College - Law

3 Part One Improving the employability of 14 to 16 year olds in South London 3

4 Introduction The challenge 1. The suitable employability of young people has been an issue for educationalists and employers for many decades. Traditionally the education system in England has been mainly concerned with identifying those students who can progress to university and the pursuit of academic excellence - with the expectation that suitable employability will be at best a by-product of such learning. The result is that many employers feel that the academic qualifications most young people achieve in schools fail to equip them for the world of work. Employer criticisms of leavers from school and Further Education provision tend to focus on inadequate generic and transferable skills such as communication, team working, attitude and the ability to follow instructions. Some employers have also noted a lack of commercial awareness amongst leavers. Historical context 2. The traditional curriculum in English schools has always tended to marginalize the development of these skills. Business studies in most schools is an optional subject for learners and in many schools personal, social and health education (PSHE) programmes have a low priority and status and are often the responsibility of form tutors who either do not understand the issues or want to teach the lessons. Since the raising of the school leaving age to 16+ in 1974 vocational and work-related learning has tended to be focused on those students who would have left school at 15+ in a previous era. 3. There has, however, always been an element of the curriculum for 14 to 19 year olds that attempted to prepare them for employability. The Newsome Report (Half our futures-1963) that led to the raising of the school age to 16 recommended a strand of practical learning for those who would have left school earlier. Young Enterprise was established in the same year initially targeted at high achievers. Legislation in 1973 made it legal for school students to be absent from school on LEA approved work experience programmes. Ten years later this received a major boost through the national TVEI programme saw the introduction of the National Curriculum and annual testing of pupils. When the National Curriculum eventually reached Key Stage 4, in 1992, much of the attention was focused on purely academic issues and many of the work-related initiatives at that time were side-lined. By the end of the 1990s, however, the pressures of the economy and wide-spread disaffection by many learners were persuading ministers to return to the work-related and vocational agenda. A series of Green and White Papers on the future of secondary and tertiary education have led to changes in regulations and encouragement to schools and colleges to collaborate in better preparing young people for working life. Unfortunately the tendency to stay in education and training longer means most of the young people to benefit from these changes have not yet entered the employment market in large numbers. (See also pages 6 7.) 5. There has been a rapid growth in the provision of vocational courses for 14 to 19 year olds in schools and colleges and, statutory guidance, operating from September 2004, requires secondary schools to ensure that all year olds will have opportunities to develop knowledge and understanding of work and develop the skills for enterprise and employability. However, no such framework is available to cover year old learning. 1 Technical and Vocational Education Initiative 1983 to early 1990s 4

5 The South London Employability Review 6. The local Learning and Skills Council (LSC) for South London commissioned Business Education London South (BELS), the local education business links consortia, to undertake a review of provision in all the South London boroughs as a preparation for developing an education strategy for the boroughs that will improve the employability of young people in the area. The review was based upon research and analyses of current policy documents and evaluations of developing provision. A copy of the review can be found on the South London Partnership web site. The pilots 7. Following the production of the review LSC South London funded seven pilots to trial a range of approaches to improving the employability of 16 to 19 year olds. Three pilots took place in school sixth forms and four in colleges of further education. Lessons learned from the pilots and case studies from each institution have been incorporated into this strategy. The case studies can be found in Part Three, from page 47 onwards. The author 8. John Allen is an independent education consultant for the 14 to 19 curriculum, specialising in careers education and guidance and vocational and work-related learning. Until his retirement in August 2000, he was Principal Officer: Work-related learning at QCA and a member of their Curriculum Section. He managed QCA s programme relating to the development of work-related learning and careers education and guidance within the curriculum and qualifications for 14 to 19 year olds. He is the author of a range of publications on vocational and work-related learning from the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) and the Learning and Skills Network (LSN) formerly the LSDA. 5

6 The emerging curriculum context The government s vision from 2005 onwards 9. Government plans for the future of secondary and tertiary education in England contain proposals which are aimed at improving the preparation of young people for adult and working life. Government policy for the future of education must be seen in the context of the DfES Five Year Strategy and the Every Child Matters agenda. The Five Year Strategy, from 2004to 2009, has five key principles, namely greater personalisation and choice; opening up support services; greater freedom and independence for headteachers; a major commitment to staff development (from 2007 onwards); and stronger partnerships with parents, employers, volunteers etc. The Every Child Matters agenda has five objectives for all young people. The strategy aims to ensure all young people will be healthy; stay safe; enjoy and achieve; make a positive contribution (including through the development of enterprising behaviour); and achieve economic well being (including being ready for employment). 10. The government s 2005 White Paper, 14 to 19: Education and Skills outlined a number of key developments for the next ten years. These proposals were refined in the 14 to 19 Implementation Plan in February Ministers propose to: strengthen GCSEs and A levels; enable young people to have a greater choice of what and where to study ; change GCSEs in English and mathematics to include compulsory units in functional skills; help schools develop when-ready approaches to assessment; re-configure vocational learning within 14 specialist vocational pathways each one leading to a new national diploma for each vocational sector between 2008 and They hope to achieve these objectives through: funding to improve Centres of Vocational Excellence in all areas (CoVEs) and to create 200 specialist vocational schools. reviewing the curriculum at Key Stage 3and focusing on those who leave primary schools weak in functional skills; a strong core curriculum for the 14 to 19 phase; routes to success for all including new ways of engaging all young people; rigorous assessment in which we can all have confidence; a sharp accountability framework which makes sure that we offer the best to young people; greater support for vocational learning in schools and colleges.; introducing progression targets for schools, to encourage them to improve staying on rates further guidance for schools from QCA on integrated approaches to personal development; better personal finance education; a focus on personal skills and thinking and learning skills; investing money in enterprise learning. Further details can be found in Addenda 2 on page 27. 6

7 How institutions are responding to the new developments 12. About 25% to 30% of schools are still providing the same curriculum to 14 to 19 year old learners as they have done since the introduction of the full National Curriculum at the end of the 1980s and in some cases before then. However the vast majority of schools have begun to develop a curriculum that is more appropriate to the needs of young people in the 21 st century. Such schools have taken advantage of: government encouragement for schools to develop a curriculum with character and diversity that meets the needs of learners ; greater flexibility in statutory requirements at Key Stage 4; opportunities for disapplication from aspects of the national curriculum; the development of new qualifications for use in schools pre 16; changes to performance tables for 16 year olds; funding for 14 to 19 Pathfinder projects and Increased flexibility programmes for 14 to 16 year olds; the Qualifying for success changes post-16 (Curriculum 2000); 14 to 19 area inspections and subsequent action plans. Key developments in schools and colleges 13. The most significant developments in the 14 to 19 curriculum over the last ten years that relate to the employability of young people are: Growth of vocational courses at Key Stage 4 and post-16. All government statements about the future of education post 14 have stressed the vital role of vocational learning in enabling the nation to respond to economic and employment changes in the 21 st century. Statutory requirements for careers education and citizenship in key stages 3 and 4 and work related learning at key stage 4. Preparation for the coming of the 14 new specialist diplomas in vocational sectors in 2008 to 2010 which will be an entitlement for all 14 to 19 year olds from 2013 onwards, including a placement in the vocational sector. Establishment of local collaboration partnerships between schools, colleges and training providers, across the 14 to 19 phase. Many of these are based upon old TVEI consortia. Development of vocational skills centres in a number of geographical areas where there are problems inherent in moving students from one location to another to gain vocational experiences. Government funding to develop a work-based option. In 2004 ministers launched a major initiative to enable level 2 learners to follow work-based programmes while still at school in Key Stage 4. The Young Apprenticeships scheme has been given two years of pilots before its national roll-out in September In their White Paper on the future of the 14 to 19 curriculum ministers announced their intention to create a parallel entry to employment for schools programme for level 1 and Entry level learners at Key Stage 4 who were under-achieving in school - to be known as The Engagement Programme. 7

8 Employability in the 21 st century 14. Employability has been defined as the combination of knowledge, skills, attitudes and personal qualities which are valued by employers. Different employers in different sectors and different organisations may vary in the qualities that they value. 15. In 1998 a CBI report on employability identified a number of key factors that determined whether or not young people were able to find employment on completing their education, such as: the state of the national economy; the availability of jobs in the locality; local service infrastructures (in particular transport); local training patterns; human resource policies selection procedures used by local recruitment staff; skills shortages; the quality of the education of applicants for jobs. The changing nature of employment 16. When planning to prepare young people for working life, schools and colleges will need to take into account the constantly changing nature of work at the start of the 21st century. Vocational and work-related learning in schools and colleges needs to reflect current and emerging practice in the work place. This requires teachers to be in touch with emerging patterns of work, employment and employability. 17. A number of key patterns in employment have emerged over the last two decades: decline of primary and manufacturing employment and the growth of service sectors; organisational structures are changing and there are fewer unskilled and low skill jobs; continuing increases in higher level jobs and a reduction in traditional manual occupations; patterns of flexible working (e.g. part-time, job shares, self-employment and home working) are becoming routine; jobs at all levels are beginning to demand multi-skilled personnel who can display communication and teamwork skilled and are enterprising and willing to accept responsibility; increasing range of responsibilities within jobs, because of de-layering within organisations. a shift away from skill associated with manual dexterity towards those associated with the understanding and monitoring of complex systems; moves away from routine processes towards co-ordination and communication; increasingly wide range of general work skills are demanded in many jobs such as ability to use IT; the pace of change in the workplace and beyond requires individuals regularly 8

9 to update and upgrade their skills making lifelong learning essential communication skills becoming regarded as core employment skills; most individuals will change direction several times during their career; some jobs that current pupils will do have not yet been invented Forces for change 18. These changes are the result of a number of major forces acting upon business, such as: the technological transformation of markets, revolutionising information and communications, creating new possibilities for what, how and where work is done; the globalisation of markets, supply chains, work and capital which demands new sensitivity and a more rapid response from businesses resulting in changes in cost and quality; new employment patterns emerging, with the rise in importance of the knowledge worker, the growing numbers of self-employed people and small businesses, the erosion of the traditional concept of the job as full-time, permanent and male, and the consequent changes in the role and outlook for trade unions; new organisational structures emerging, with the introduction of the networked organisation, the reduction and streamlining of corporate centres, the sub-contracting of whole functions, and the growing use of independent specialists; environmental issues for business, such as rising threshold of public concern and expectations, and the need for businesses to fulfil a significant role in helping to solve global environmental problems; pressure on companies from more demanding employees, customers and communities who expect their individual needs and values to be respected; maintaining the licence to operate i.e. the need for companies to maintain public confidence in the legitimacy of their operations and business conduct. Generic skills 19. A number of studies have identified generic skills of importance emerging in the changing workplace: procedural skills relating to the performance of tasks; technological skills relating to the use of information technology; interpersonal skills relating to communication - written, verbal, linguistic, cultural, networking and willingness top fit into a team and company culture; knowledge-based skills relating to needs of the job and to logical thought and conceptualisation ; enterprise and entrepreneurial skills relating to the use of resources, pursuing goals and being proactive, flexibility, creativity and openness to new ideas; initiative and determination, enthusiasm, work ethic, reliability, selfdiscipline, confidence and awareness of own strengths and weaknesses to go with the requirements of the job; 9

10 customer care qualities such as consideration in dealing with people respect and politeness and willingness to compromise; self-starters displaying motivation and a visible desire to work and to learn salesman-like skills to persuade an employer to hire an applicant. Enterprise capability 20. Predictions that up to 24% of the working population may be self-employed by the end of the decade and the need of employers for employees who are more enterprising in their approach to employment will require a major development in enterprise capability. The Davies Review of the economy and enterprise in education (2002) described enterprise capability in the modern world as the capability to handle uncertainty and respond positively to change; to create and implement new ideas and new ways of going things; to make reasonable risk/reward assessments and act upon them in one s personal and working life. This depends on the development of: knowledge and understanding of concepts such as organisation, innovation, risk change etc.; skills such as those for decision making (particularly under conditions of uncertainty), personal and social, leadership, risk management, presentational; attitudes such as self-reliance, open-mindedness, respect for evidence, pragmatism, commitment to making a difference; qualities such as adaptability, perseverance, determination, flexibility, creativeness, improvisation, confidence, initiative, self-confidence, autonomy, action orientation. South London employer s preferences 21. Four of the pilot projects involved asking local employers to complete questionnaires through which they identified their priorities in terms of qualities they looked for in young employees. The results of this survey can be found in on page Significantly most of the employers focused on personal and inter-personal attributes such as: good attendance and regular punctuality; willingness to listen; good team working skills; politeness and respect for others; smart appearance at interview/work; a desire to work and learn and a can-do attitude. 23. Basic functional skills, which the government believes are a priority for most employers, came low down on the list for most of the employers in the survey. Computing skills came 29 th out 40, while mathematical skills were 37 th, 38 th and 39th. Good grammar and punctuation was 21st and good spelling came 32nd. 24. Most of the employers involved in the survey did not give a great priority to academic qualifications, such as GCSEs, A levels and degrees and they averaged out as 25 th out of 40. This raises important issues as to why so many employers insist on these qualifications as a basic entry requirement if they are not necessary for success in the workplace. Large numbers of young people who might have the personal qualities essential for success in the workplace are denied access to jobs because the academic entry requirements debar them. 10

11 Table 1 South London employer employability preferences Results of the surveys- based on 63 questionnaires Rank Quality No. 1 Good attendance 3 2 Willingness to listen 8 3 Respect for others 13 4 Good team working skills 14 5 Regular punctuality 2 6 Smart appearance at interview/work 1 7 Honesty & integrity 34 8 A can-do attitude 35 9 A desire to work Politeness A desire to learn Initiative Determination to succeed Able to organise own work Strong self-motivation Speaking clearly 7 17 Willingness to adapt to the company culture Liveliness Confidence Good physical fitness Willingness to do as they are told Good grammar & punctuation 5 23 Creativity & enterprise Willingness to compromise Good academic qualifications (GCSEs/A levels/degrees) Good arithmetic skills 9 27 Good self-expression Experience of the specific occupation Telephone skills Computing skills Career ambition Awareness of their strengths Good spelling 4 34 Good vocational qualifications Key skills qualifications Awareness of their weaknesses Neat handwriting 6 38 Ability to use statistics Financial understanding General experience of work 32 11

12 Recommendations LSC London South 25. LSC London South should follow the development of this strategy by funding its dissemination and a coordinating group to oversee the implementation of initiatives to develop the employability of young people in South London. The LSC should also consider the cost implications to education business links organisations in South London as they seek to support schools and colleges with the implementation of the proposals. Business Education London South 26. BELS should manage the dissemination of the strategy, the coordinating group and the coordination of education business links organisations in the support of schools and colleges. BELS could also undertake the sharing of examples of effective practice in developing the employability of learners. South London Partnership 27. The partnership should include the dissemination of the strategy and the development of initiatives to promote employability within its priorities. Connexions South London 28. Connexions should ensure that their managers and Personal Advisers in South London are aware of the strategy and the work of schools and colleges to develop the employability of their students. The training of Personal Advisers should include developing their ability to support the development of employability in young people in South London. Senior management in schools and colleges 29. Senior managers in schools and colleges should undertake an audit of how their institutions currently prepare students for employability and identify how they can respond effectively to the issues raised in the strategy. Consideration should be given to : developing a policy for the personal development of their students that includes ensuring their economic well being and readiness for work; identifying a member of staff to coordinate the work, and enabling the coordinator undertake the work effectively; encouraging a whole-institution commitment to the importance of ensuring all students leave with the attributes that will enable them to succeed at the next level and enter employment effectively at the appropriate stage of their life; providing appropriate staff development for all involved in developing the employability of students; regularly monitor and evaluate their programmes to improve the employability of students. Employers and employer organisations 30. Employers should clarify the qualities they want from young employees and disseminate their priorities to schools and colleges in South London. These processes can be supported by local employer organisations. Employers should review their human resource policies, job advertisements and selection procedures to ensure they enable them to recruit those young people in South London who have qualities they seek. They should review whether the qualifications they currently ask for are the most appropriate for identifying future employees who would best succeed within their organisations. They should also work with local education business links organisations to identify how their businesses can support schools and colleges in developing the qualities they seek in young employees. 12

13 A strategy for South London a) Key principles 31. The initial review identified the need for key principles and specific objectives to underpin the strategy. All teaching and learning to improve the employability of 16 to 19 year olds should: build on learners work-related learning in KS4 with an initial review at the start of their post-16 programme; relate to the students 16 to 19 learning programme; focus on the specific development of skills and other attributes that are relevant to employability in South London; involve direct contact with the world of work in South London through links with local employers; reflect current and emerging practice in the workplace; recognise the principles in the Every Child Matters proposals and in movements towards personalised learning; enable students to have ownership of the development of their own employability skills; be consistent with the movement to more integrated approaches to the personal development of learners; include elements of enterprise learning and the development of citizenship skills; ensure all learners have access to impartial information, advice and guidance that is accurate, up-to-date and free of stereotypes; be differentiated to include learners of all abilities; recognise the wide range of needs, interests and aspirations of learners; recognise the global and trans-national aspects of employability in the 21 st century; include aspects of review and reflection by teachers and learners during each learning activity; ensure progression in levels of learning; address issues relating to both genders; recognise cultural differences in South London; address the global implications of employability in the 21 st century; ensure the safety of all learners at all times and in all locations; be consistent with the issues raised in the South London Employability Review. b) Main objectives 32. The main objectives of this strategy are to ensure that: all 14 to 19 year olds learners in South London have access to learning opportunities that focus on the development of qualities required for employability in the area; all schools and colleges in South London are aware of their responsibilities in supporting the development of the employability of their students, and of the range of approaches available to meet those responsibilities; educational support agencies in the South London boroughs are enabled to provide effect services to their schools and colleges; employers in South London are aware of how schools and colleges are developing the employability of their students and how they can work with those schools and colleges to ensure the learning is effective. 13

14 c) Learning outcomes 33. The initial review identified the need to produce a framework of the learning outcomes and skills young people in South London will need to acquire to ensure appropriate employability in the area. Schools in Central London have for a number of years used a framework originally developed by Focus, the Central London TEC. This framework can provide schools and colleges in South London with a basis for identifying appropriate learning outcomes for activities with their students. Table 2 The Central London Employability Skills Framework Apply basic knowledge and skills Communicate simply, clearly, effectively when writing and speaking; use numbers accurately; use ICT technology to organise, present and evaluate information. Manage themselves Plan and use your time well; create good impressions in people you met through being well presented and well prepared; set goals and accept responsibility for your actions. Develop their personal reputation Demonstrate, for example, commitment, enthusiasm, honesty and integrity; demonstrate a positive can-do attitude towards work and problems; show sensitivity to people from different backgrounds and cultures Apply academic/vocational knowledge and skills Find ideas and information from different sources; combine ideas or information in new ways and communicate the results; be creative by making links between apparently unrelated ideas, information and experiences. Apply career and workrelated s knowledge and skills Set and follow career goals and understand the need to travel and move to find work; develop a career action plan; be enterprising by spotting personal and business opportunities. Manage their work Achieve objectives and targets set for you at work; work to agreed standards of performance and quality; work effectively and always be on the alerts for ways of improving the quality of your work. Manage the contribution to their team help to achieve team objectives by cooperating effectively with all team members; work together to generate ideas and solve problems; manage or supervise effectively other people or situations. Develop their networks Develop contacts through education, work experience, mentors and the local community; become involved with voluntary work maintain networks that can be called upon for support and advice. Develop their capability Respond positively to feedback from others; take the lead in developing and following through plans for your learning, training and personal development; show that you have learned by making a greater contribution at work. 14

15 d) Assessment of learning 34. The initial review identified the need for models of audit, self-review as well as assessment and recording to enable students to have ownership of the development of their employability skills. Schools and colleges should audit where in their curriculum students are able to develop the learning outcomes identified in this strategy. (Addenda 15 on page 45 is a suggested audit tool.) Every year staff responsible for improving the employability of students should produce an annual report for governors outlining key developments and areas for improvement. 35. Assessment of learning is essential as it can: support monitoring and evaluation; motivate and assist learners; support the development and design of activities; support appropriate progression; support preparation for Ofsted inspection. 36. QCA has provided guidance on Recognising achievement through work-related learning to support the statutory requirement at Key Stage 4 which is also relevant for post-16 learning. They recommend that schools (and colleges) provide evidence of achievement through: diaries, log books, notes, review sheets written by learners; Individual Learning Plans and/or career plans; completed application forms/cvs; reports or witness statements from others (employers, training providers etc); photos, art work, displays, videos or role play/work; Powerpoint presentations; recordings of interviews, talks or performances; print-outs of self assessment and other test results (Fast Tomato, WHAMI, Kudos etc); examples of student work/products etc.; recordings of discussions by students during debriefing events; self assessments by students (skills checklists or quizzes etc.); peer group assessments; marking of students work ; using qualifications specifications without the formal assessment; adapting programmes such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme; producing local awards or certificates; electronic systems of recording achievement (e.g. WHAMI); (where appropriate) accrediting learning through approved qualifications. 37. Some schools and colleges have used a record of achievement to support the assessment of students learning. The recent demise of DfES materials and folders for Progress File means they will in future have to consider developing their own materials or using a local record of achievement for South London. 15

16 Table 3 - Accrediting the employability of young people Awarding body Award Levels GCSE grade equivalence AQA GCSEs in English, mathematics and ICT (to 1 and 2 OCR BTEC include functional skills tests from 2009/2010) if work-related contexts are used AQA AS levels in a range of subjects if work-related 3 OCR BTEC contexts are used All Vocational courses in a range of sectors 1, 2 and 3 Vary Most Occupational courses in a range of occupations 1, 2 and 3 Vary Many Key skills certificates, especially Working with 1, 2, 3 and 4 Vary others ABC Certificate in Skills for working life Entry AQA Certificate in preparation for working life 1 & 2 2 = ½ B ASDAN Certificate of personal effectiveness Entry, 1 & 2 2 = B ASDAN Certificate for career planning Entry, 1, 2 & 3 2 = B ASET Certificate in skills for working life Entry CCEA Certificate in employment skills Entry C & G Certificate in preparation for employment Entry C & G Certificate in personal, team working and 1 community skills Edexcel First certificate in employability skills 2 double B GOAL Certificate in skills for working life Entry NCFE Certificate in preparation for employment 1 & 2 2 = ½ B NCFE Certificate in enterprise NOCN Certificate in careers education and guidance 1, 2 & 3 2 = double B and preparation for working life NPTC Certificate in skills for working life Entry OCR Certificate in career planning Entry, 1, 2 & 3 2 = ½ B OCR Certificate in preparation for employment Entry, 1 & 2 2 = ½ B e) Central coordination 38. The initial review identified the need to create a coordinating unit to oversee, monitor, evaluate and develop the strategy over time. This unit should meet regularly and include representatives from: LSC South London; BELS; South London Partnership; the six EBPS; other EBLOs; Connexions South London schools and colleges local employer organisations. 39. The coordinating group would be tasked with: disseminating the strategy to schools, colleges and employers and the local media; supporting institutions promoting the employability of 16 to 19 year olds; coordinating the role of support agencies; ensuring quality standards; monitoring and reviewing provision in South London. 16

17 f) Institutional management 40. The DfES has published guidance for managers in schools and colleges on effective frameworks for institutional management of the preparation of young people for working life. (Vocational and Work-related learning at Key Stage 4 - DfES/0836/2003). This guidance suggests a number of key elements for such a framework: a senior manager with overall responsibility; a coordinator; a work-related learning working group of staff; in-service training of members of staff; funding and resources; administrative support for teachers; a policy statement; an audit of existing provision; including work-related learning in the development plan. (An extract from the DfES framework can be found in Addenda 8 on page 37.) g) Differentiation 41. All activities that seek to promote the employability of young people should be differentiated to meet the interests, abilities, needs and aspirations of individual learners. Special focus should be given to the needs of gifted and talented learners with high aspirations in terms of management careers and the statutory professions. Schools and college should focus on how employability tasks support the objectives of students A levels and are linked to their aspirations to progress to university. This can be supported by the involvement of staff and students from universities to in the learning activities in school and colleges, possibly through the Aim Higher programme. A further focus can be on issues relating to employability in the professions. One of the seven pilots for this project focused on employability in the legal profession. (See Part Three.) Schools and colleges could focus on the skills identified by the Association of Graduate Employers in Graduate skills for the 21 st century. 42. A number of education support agencies offer schools and colleges employability days that focus on management skills in the workplace through simulated challenges based on real problems in the workplace. 43. Further consideration should also be given to the needs and aspirations of students with learning difficulties. One of the government s major concerns about the education of 16 to 19 year olds is the lack of appropriate progression opportunities for young people with serious learning difficulties. QCA has published specific workrelated learning guidance for teachers of students with learning difficulties which may help planning in schools and colleges. h) Progression 44. The preparation of young people for work needs to ensure progression in levels of demand and achievement. Teachers need to: identify relevant prior learning; work together with teachers in other institutions in their local 14 to 19 partnership to identify opportunities for progression; encourage students to review their prior learning; develop work-related activities that build upon prior learning;; ensure graduated levels of demand and possible achievement that differentiate according to prior learning. 17

18 i)the employability of girls 45. A survey of the opinions of young people in 2000, for the DfES, found that 63% of teenage girls believed their education did not reflect the changing role of women at work and in society generally. In April 2006 the government s Women at Work Commission published their report on the employment of women in Britain, Shaping a Fairer Future (2/2006). The report identified two key issues relating to the employment of young women Too many girls, mainly from working class backgrounds, choose occupations that are low paid and offer few promotion opportunities. Many well qualified girls, with excellent GCSEs, A levels and degrees, are overtaken in terms of pay and promotion by less qualified men within five years of employment. 46. The Commission recommends that the education of girls, and boys, should address these two issues. Much of the answer to the problems lies earlier on the education system at Key Stages 1, 2, 3 and 4, however teachers of post-16 students need to identify if their students fully understand the implications of gender issues in the workplace and are able to address the issue sin their own careers. 47. Work-related activities with post-16 students that seek to improve employability should address: the rights and responsibilities of workers; equal opportunities legislation; gender discrimination; gender stereotyping; the glass ceiling and reasons for it; role models of individuals and organisations that demonstrate more appropriate attitudes to gender in the workplace; sexual harassment in the workplace; the role of Trade Unions in defending workers rights. i) Recommended learning activities 48. The initial review recommended that schools and colleges be supported in a range of learning activities with a focus on the development of employability skills. Following the pilots and the surveys the following range of activities are recommended. 18

19 Table 4 A possible programme of activities to promote employability skills 1 a self review task about their own sense of employability at the beginning of year 12, for all students; 2 tasks that require students to reflect on learning through their part time jobs; 3 work-related and enterprise contexts for teaching and learning in A/AS levels with a focus on developing employability skills; 4 work-related contexts to the development of functional skills in English, mathematics and ICT GCSEs; 5 making vocational learning more work-related with a focus on employability skills; 6 a core personal development programme for all students with tasks that focus on employability skills; 7 promoting wider opportunities for work experience for 16 to 19 year olds linked to their main programme of study and with specific intended outcomes linked to improving employability; 8 implementation of QCA s personal, learning and thinking skills framework; 9 enterprise activities that build on prior experiences in Key Stage 4; 10 promoting the development of Citizenship post-16, with a focus on economic well-being that identifies and builds on prior citizenship learning in Key Stages 3 and 4; 11 employability days and application and interview events involving local employers; 12 visits to local business premises to interview employers and their staff; 12 talks by employers and professionals in different sectors about their career and the nature of their work; 13 business mentor schemes accessible to students studying at all levels; 14 open access to up-to-date and impartial information advice and guidance that is free of stereotypes; 15 a focus on the needs interests and aspirations of both boys and girls, gifted and talented learners and those with special learning needs; 16 recording of learning in a personal profile or Individual Learning Plan, with evidence of achievement; 18 the opportunity, where appropriate, for students to have their learning accredited through nationally recognised qualifications. 19

20 Employer engagement 49. The initial review identified the need to: strengthen and broaden models of business links post-16 for schools and colleges; clarify employer requirements and expectations in South London in a form that support the development of work-related learning post-16; inform local employers of curriculum developments relating to improving employability and how they can support schools and colleges; identify local business champions to promote employability for 16 to 19 year olds in schools and colleges in south London; identify and disseminating case studies of effective approaches to preparing learners for employment in South London; 50. Schools and colleges need to maintain and build upon their good relationships with employers. Many businesses that no longer work with schools and colleges have identified a number of negative experiences that have persuaded them not to continue such relationships. Education business links organisations such as BELS and the local EBPS can provide help and support to schools and colleges working together to ensure more effective links. In particular: efforts should be made to enable all partners involved to have all information about relevant factors affecting the link activities and the young people involved, including special needs or medical problems; partnerships and roles within the partnership should be clearly defined, keeping the learner at the centre, possibly within a local protocol; teachers need to ensure their expectations of employers are realistic; activities should be planned well in advance; employers need to be prepared and briefed for their roles in supporting teachers; involving employers, where possible and appropriate, in the initial planning will increase everyone s understanding and commitment to the learning activities; support should be provided for employers during activities and placements and there should be regular feedback and follow-up, including involving as many employers as possible in the evaluation; operational difficulties and obstacles should be identified and addressed within the partnership; partnerships should be reviewed periodically when the admission of new and exit of existing partners can be considered; the role of business links in supporting vocational and work-related learning should be included in the company s own operational and development plans with clear strategic priorities, planned action and evaluation; schools and colleges should develop an education-business links strategy with their local EBLOs and agree an annual action plan for support needed. Identifying new links 51. Schools and colleges have traditionally used a range of methods to identify new links with businesses in their locality. Working with their local EBPs these can include: taking advantage of links identified through the governors; using organisations where parents are employed, for example those in the new intake every year, identifying businesses through friends and relatives of teachers; using students involvement in part-time jobs; pupils who were involved with employers are encouraged to invite staff from 20

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