The International Labour Organisaton (ILO) predicts unemployment for over 212 million people worldwide, with young people affected disproportionately. It is vital that we power up our approach to careers education.
Every parent wants their child to learn how to read and write and get a good set of qualifications. Giving children an understanding of what’s out there has go to be part of the mix. Parents are often not best placed to help their own children when it comes to discussing the full breadth of life’s possibilities. We know our own industries, but the detail of even our close friends’ professions can be a mystery. In many deprived areas, there are some households where no one works at all and the school-to-work transition is even harder.
When piloting to a year 6 class in a Colchester Primary, one film featured a product designer talking about materials and their properties. Some children did not know products were designed; they hadn’t made the connection between seeing objects around them and realising there were jobs in design. Imagine how triggering that understanding at an early age can open up a new world of possibilities and purposeful engagement.
Over 500 schools have used this practical approach. It’s a defined bank of short films and lesson sheets, curated by curriculum experts that cover the core subjects in KS2. Imagine a maths lesson in “algebra”. A class can get a glimpse into the world of a computer games developer and he’ll illustrate exactly how he uses algebra. Or an advertising executive can add bite to an English lesson on the subject of “using short sentences for effect”.
My goal is that no child in the UK ever asks, “Why am I learning this?” I’m proud to say that in schools using the Yes Programme the classroom question at the start of a new topic is “Tell us who uses this?” We are having an effect. We’ve had a few “yes moments”; girls wanting to be vets and engineers as a result of the films in the bank.
Schools are best placed to regularly thread career information through the curriculum from early years through to the last day of school; giving children a balanced view of what’s out there and how it connects to their work in the classroom is critical.
So let’s be galvanized together. Great qualifications, excellent reading and writing skills and knowledge of the doors they might one day walk through are part of the mix that our modern education system has to deliver. After all, it’s hard to get somewhere in life if you’ve zero idea of what “life” looks like.