In News, Projects, Schemes, Skills, Skills Projects, Skills Schemes

I’ve just returned from my latest visit to the North East to see, in person, the impact the North East Ambition Career Benchmarks: Primary Pilot is having in our participating schools.

I can’t believe the first term has finished and we are well into term two! It was fantastic to see how the programme is already having an impact, with some terrific stories emerging from the 70 schools taking part.

We’re delivering the pilot in partnership with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP). The aim is to test how the eight Good Career Guidance Benchmarks, which form part of statutory guidance for secondary schools in England about how to deliver impactful and effective careers guidance, can be adapted for a primary school setting.

The pilot was launched in recognition of the fact children can start to make career limiting decisions as early as five years old. We hope to change that by sowing the seeds of ambition from an early age.

One highlight from my day in the North East was a visit to Bothal Primary School, which focuses on STEM learning. The school is an inspiring example of new, innovative thinking to engage pupils and industry. Incredibly, the school has a whole wing devoted to STEM, with great facilities, such as 3D printers.

Local and global businesses are providing support, with a BMW room next to the AkzoNobel inspiration suite. This is providing a great environment for pupils to understand the skills needed for different careers and to realise there is more to getting a good job than academic qualifications.

My next stop was Lingey House Primary School, which is developing new ways to support ‘career related learning’ through workbooks. These are used to demonstrate the huge range of career options available in different subject areas. For example, working in creative arts and design can lead to becoming a fashion designer, a photographer, a fine artist, a make-up artist, an animator, a dancer, an illustrator and many more. All these roles are described in detail, setting out what the job entails, the qualifications needed and salary expectations.

To bring career options to life, I saw that lots of schools in the pilot are inviting people working in different roles to come in and talk about their job. It’s a great way to engage and inspire the next generation.

A final example of how a school is responding to the challenge of building interest in future work is Percy Main Primary School in North Shields. They are working with a local museum to give the children an opportunity to role play a wide variety of the jobs available within the sector from archaeologist to receptionist. Their parents were then invited in to see their children in action, which is so important in terms of building involvement and engagement in this project.

I can’t wait until my next trip in April to find out what happens next in the schools I’ve been lucky enough to visit. But in the meantime, please look out for more wonderful case studies from this project. They’ll be hosted on the North East Ambition website and available on the EY Foundation social media channels.

The North East Ambition Career Benchmarks: Primary Pilot is supported by funding from the European Social Fund, EY Foundation and the Local Growth Fund.

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