Parent-power dominates education choices, so let’s get them involved in careers education

Here’s an example of research confirming what we already know; family and friends – parents mainly – top the list of those who influence students’ education choices, according to a new study published this week. The study conducted on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Education & Skills Group asked parents and students: Who do young people really listen to when it comes to choices for academy, school, college and university?

Interesting timing. The research is released just as Section 29 of the 2011 Education Act comes into force, placing schools under a duty to secure access to independent careers guidance for their pupils in Years 9 to11.  It’s now down to the schools to provide information and advice on all the options during and beyond school years; Apprenticeships, training, employment, volunteering, further and higher education – so much ground to cover, so little time in a packed curriculum.  

Here's an example of how a school could organise this requirement within a flexible framework: ASDAN has just brought out a Careers & Experiencing Work short course to help teachers with limited or extensive experience shape a comprehensive but light-touch programme designed to engage young people in a number of careers-related activities, and make them consider all the options available to them as school-leavers. Check it out. And if you like what you see and want to run it there is a National Workshop in conjunction with Centre for Education & Industry (CEI) and CASCAiD that will be held on Weds 21stNovember in the Midlands. This is news hot off the press and we’ll post more information as soon as it’s open for booking.

So, linking this to the family and friends and their influential stage whispers from the wings, let’s use them to support careers education. They’ll have ideas, experience and contacts; they will have discussions with their youngsters; they might be giving them useful info and practical skill-building jobs, e.g. home DIY, as well as being helpful about workplace visits and all of this could be captured and integrated into the young people’s portfolios, which would help them achieve the short course certificate, which in turn would form part of their CV and personal statement, which are crucial to achieving college places or jobs. It all ties up nicely.

Simon Lawrence, Development Co-ordinator - Work Related Learning & Skills

Author: Simon Lawrence, ASDAN Development Manager

Comments

Kath Grant, ASDAN

12.00am, 19 September 2012

One of the downsides of using parents in careers education is that it reinforces the economic advantages or disadvantages of the area in which the learner lives. For example the ratio of parents in the kind of employment that makes them feel OK about participating in CEG is likely to be inversely proportional to the number of learners in receipt of free school meals. Parents who are motivated to pay to send their children to private schools are conversely much, much more likely to offer internships to pupils from that school or participate in other types of CEG activity. This is noted in a number of pieces of research into social mobility and employment and the Employer Education Task Force was put in place to try to even out this situation.

You can be part of re-balancing this though by volunteering to support the Task Force or encouraging friends and family to do so - let's be honest learners think they know all they need to know about what a career in education might be like. Retail assistants, bricklayers, database designers, bus drivers and anyone who is self-employed could really enhance the way that young people understand adult life. Particularly when you remember that for many schools Work Experience pre-year 12 will not happen.

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