Work experience and volunteering – what works?

In case you missed our third ‘what works’ seminar we’ve put together some video resources to give you access to the talks from the event. The video above provides you with a quick taster of the event. But you can also see the full talk from Johnathan Buzzeo on work experience and Joy Williams on volunteering.

We’ll be releasing more detailed reports on these issues in the autumn – but in the meantime I hope that you find this a useful summary of the evidence base.

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John Holman explaining the Gatsby Benchmarks for ‘good career guidance’

I’ve just found this film from last year’s Education and Employers conference of John Holman talking about the development of the Good Career Guidance report.

Since then the Gatsby Benchmarks have really become firmly embedded into our thinking about what constitutes effective careers work in schools.  Given this it is really good to be able to hear John’s defence of the framework.

National Conference on Careers Work in Schools

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Every year David Andrews organises a two-day conference for careers leaders in schools and for advisers and consultants working with schools.  This year’s event is in on 16 & 17 November, in York.  Keynote speakers include me! In addition there will be presentations from Claudia Harris (The Careers & Enterprise Company) and Professor Wendy Hirsh who will be talking about what’s really happening in the labour market.  The programme also includes updates on national developments, case studies of good practice and a workshop on evaluating impact.

Residential and day delegate options are available.  It is well worth booking a place if you can (see link below).

Flyer and booking form York 2017

Gender and apprenticeships

Female Construction Apprentice

I’m excited about the future of vocational education. There is so much going on right now with the T-levels and the apprenticeship levy. There is at least a possibility that we are seeing a serious step forwards in vocational education in England at the moment. What is more, I’m pretty sure that this is a cross-party issue and so even if we do see a change in government the focus on vocational education and skills is likely to endure.

However, there are some things that are concerning about the way that vocational education tends to channel certain young people into certain careers. There is clearly a strong class dimension to this, which I’m also interested in, but in this post I’d like to look at the issue of gender.

A joint TUC and YWCA paper (Apprenticeships and Gender) published a few years ago concluded that the expansion in apprenticeships had replicated traditional gender segregation in the labour market. More recent work by the Young Women’s Trust (Making Apprenticeships Work for Young Women) notes that since 2010 women apprentices have outnumbered men, but that male apprentices get paid 21% more on average.

The Young Women’s Trust presents the following chart to show how male and female apprenticeships differ by sector.

gender differences

What it shows is that women are concentrated in health and social care, business administration and childcare and education. In contrast male apprentices are present in a lot more sectors and have less of a profile in these traditionally low paying sectors.

These differences play out in terms of pay, but they also play out in terms of job quality with female apprentices less likely to report training and more likely to lose their job at the end of the apprenticeship.

All of this is very concerning, but not in all honesty completely unexpected. Similar issues have been reported in the past (as this 2006 article by the Equal Opportunities commission shows). Inevitably the reasons for this phenomenon are complex. It undoubtedly includes a dose of good old fashioned sexism, but the associations of gender with particular parts of the labour market are more complex than this. They undoubtedly include questions about self- and career- identity in young people. How far they can imagine themselves in different careers. They also clearly relate to employer expectations and to the ever questionable idea of ‘cultural fit’. ‘Someone like her just wouldn’t fit in here‘ is a much used excuse.

I don’t have any easy answers as to what it is possible to do about this. But what I am sure is that achieving any change on this issue will require shifts on both the supply and demand side of the labour market. We need both young people and employers to think and act differently. It will also require changes pre-, during, and post- vocational education programme. In other words people need to be recruited differently, supported better whilst on programme and then given ongoing support to transition to the labour market. All of these changes need to be actively alert to gender rather than simply trying to be ‘gender neutral’ – delivering a major cultural change is not going to be easy.

I’d be really interested to hear people’s thoughts about how they deal with some of these issues in career education and guidance processes.

 

 

Show me what you’re made of

I don’t know whether anyone else has seen Stacey Dooley’s Show Me What You’re Made Of? In each episode Stacey takes a bunch of kids and shows them the work that underpins some everyday aspect of their life. In the one that I’ve linked to in this post they learn about how buses are cleaned, but elsewhere they learn about fruit picking, fish canning and a whole host of other undesirable jobs.

This is work experience with a difference. The idea here is not to offer up ‘aspirational’ job, rather it is the opposite. But, these occupations aren’t just being profiled to show young people what could happen if things go wrong. Rather these difficult, dirty and challenging jobs are profiled to demonstrate that all of our lives rely on these things getting done. The show is brilliant for demonstrating the skill and dignity that is associated with difficult work.

I think that Show Me What You’re Made Of offers a brilliant resource for career education. It provides an insight into real work in ways that show both the positives and the negatives. It also opens up space for important discussions about how work is organised and rewarded in our society and also how workers are accorded respect or otherwise for doing important things.

I’d be really interested to hear from any teachers or careers educators who have used it with learners.

Communique from the Eighth International Symposium for Career Development and Public Policy

In June I attended the eighth International Symposium for Career Development and Public Policy in Seoul, Korea from the 18th – 21st June 2017. It was a fantastic event attended by 107 delegates representing 21 countries, international labour market experts, and officials of international policy research and development organisations: the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP), and the European Training Foundation (ETF).

The Symposium discussed changes in the labour market and how career development can help societies to respond to and shape such changes. For further information on the symposium process visit the ICCDPP website.

The final output of the event was a Communique which sets out some key principles for effective career development systems. The idea is that it functions as a summary of international good practice and can be useful for countries to review and develop their systems.

View the ICCDPP Communique 2017

Careers work at Catcote Academy

Catcote Academy from Spearhead Productions on Vimeo.

This is a great film about the work that Catcote Academy have been doing to provide high quality careers work for young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

I’ve often see special schools that do excellent careers work, but this is really interesting work. In particular the really strong connection with employers is hugely impressive and the quality of the testimonies from the employers involved speaks for itself.