Talks and workshops from employers are important. AllAboutSchoolLeavers’ research shows that over 90% of careers advisers want employers to offer careers talks and workshops. A quarter of young people say these activities are the thing most likely to convince them to take up an apprenticeship, school leaver programme or sponsored degree. And from a statutory perspective, schools are expected to work in partnership with local employers and other education and training providers like colleges, universities and apprenticeship providers, in order to give students the best possible careers guidance.
Evidence from the Education and Employers Taskforce shows that access to a network of employers is associated with better outcomes for young people. Employers can pass on the benefits of their experience to both pupils and teachers, helping to link curriculum subjects to employment and providing an overview of the different routes into careers.
Through talks and workshops, employers can demonstrate the opportunities available – whether that’s work experience, or an apprenticeship, or even standard employment, for example – and advise young people on how to access them. They can explain the skills needed for these opportunities, and allow students to engage with representatives from the organisations face-to-face.
AllAboutSchoolLeavers’ research shows that despite their popularity with both students and careers advisers, 40% of schools have less than £500 a year to spend on this sort of activity. There are some free opportunities however; some campaigns (themed weeks like National Apprenticeship Week, for example) and charities look to promote specific industries and messages, so teachers should be able to find volunteers to visit and speak to students about their job, career or the educational route that they took, on themes like Women in STEM, Apprenticeships, and Languages.
AllAboutSchoolLeavers’ research shows that over 90% of careers advisers want employers to offer careers talks and workshops. A quarter of young people say these activities are the thing most likely to convince them to take up an apprenticeship, school leaver programme or sponsored degree.
If you are arranging employer talks and workshops at your school, it is worth focusing on large national businesses as well as smaller local ones – this will present your students with the best range of opportunities. Engaging with larger brands can be tricky, so AllAboutSchoolLeavers is working on a range of solutions to help teachers and careers advisers to do this more effectively. This will allow teachers to alert organisations of what they are hoping to arrange – dates, how many students will be in attendance, their age and genders, for example – and sign them up to provide talks and workshops. If this is a service you might like to use, please contact our Communications Executive, Georgia Leefe, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Example agenda: employer workshop
Industry expert(s) or a key representative(s) from the employer engages students in a 45-minute talk, outlining what it’s like to do what they do, work where they work, and how they got there.
10:15am: Question & answer session
Students are encouraged to ask any questions they might have following the talk. As well as finding out more, this is also a chance for them to engage with people from the employer, taking the first steps in networking.
10:30am: Group activity
Breaking out into smaller groups, students are given a task to complete, tackling a problem relevant to the employer, for example, or coming up with a concept. Representative(s) from the employer either sit in with each group (if there are enough individuals to do so) or ‘check in’ with each group during the activity, discussing what they’re doing and why, and any issues they may be encountering.
Each group feeds back to the wider group on what they’ve achieved, how they’ve overcome challenges and what else they would like to do given the time.
Students are able to talk more informally to representatives from the employer, and can ask any further questions. For those inspired to pursue a career in that business or industry, this is a great way to start building relationships, perhaps paving the way for work experience or a place on an apprenticeship or school leaver programme.
Students can also sign up to a monthly mail-out from the employer, highlighting school leaver opportunities within the business.