A report published this week (22 January 2020) by the Education and Employers charity, highlights concerns around a gap between the career aspirations of young people in the UK and the reality of the labour market.
It calls for more to be done to address an ‘aspiration-reality disconnect’ in the UK – where the ambitions of our young people don’t match the jobs that are out there.
Recommendations include more support for careers guidance at secondary school level and better labour market information for young people. The report also calls for a significant expansion of career-related learning at primary level.
Here in the North East, we’re already working with partners to achieve all these aims – and have been for some time.
We recently expanded our work to primary level, working with the EY Foundation on a pilot to explore what good career guidance looks like across all phases of primary education, including how schools can connect with local employers to offer primary pupils a range of age-appropriate, meaningful encounters with the world of work. We want to support children to be ambitious from the earliest possible age and start challenging any limiting beliefs they have about themselves, based on their gender or socio-economic background.
The primary pilot is just one strand of our North East Ambition programme, which is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and led by the North East LEP working with partners. Through North East Ambition, we’re also actively supporting all the region’s secondary schools and colleges to meet the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks – placing a strong emphasis on engagement with employers, experiences of the workplace and linking learning to labour market information and the region’s employment sectors.
North East Ambition is integral to our work around skills development and the delivery of our Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) for the North East. Our ultimate aim is to ensure that our young people leave education or training with the skills, qualifications and personal qualities that employers look for. To achieve that, we need real involvement from employers in our schools and colleges, so they can help to shape a future talent pipeline.
If we want to support our young people to understand the realities of the workplace, the expectations of employers and the opportunities open to them, it’s vital that we connect education and employment at every opportunity.
Matt Joyce, Regional Lead, North East Ambition.
You can find out more about what we’re achieving through North East Ambition by visiting northeastambition.co.uk
North East Ambition is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF).