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Employability Skills for Students - Advice/Views Sought!!

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by Stacy191, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. Hi

    Would welcome advice and tips on how to bring careers advice and employability skills into the classroom. I teach maths in secondary school, though I am less concerned about the subject area and interested in tips that others have used that I might adapt. My issue is that I do not feel the careers advice is adequate in the school and the students need a lot of motivation and support to be able to see the benefits of why they should be intereted in learning - until they are about to leave the school and it is pretty much too late.

    Also, I would like to engage employers but the really do not know how and am not getting much support from management. Is this anyone else's experience and do you have any tips for approaching businesses and addressing the issue with management?
     
  2. Hi

    Would welcome advice and tips on how to bring careers advice and employability skills into the classroom. I teach maths in secondary school, though I am less concerned about the subject area and interested in tips that others have used that I might adapt. My issue is that I do not feel the careers advice is adequate in the school and the students need a lot of motivation and support to be able to see the benefits of why they should be intereted in learning - until they are about to leave the school and it is pretty much too late.

    Also, I would like to engage employers but the really do not know how and am not getting much support from management. Is this anyone else's experience and do you have any tips for approaching businesses and addressing the issue with management?
     
  3. Hi
    I do a lot of work experience visits and used to run my own business, and both my brothers still do. So do most of my cousins (there are quite a lot of them - all industrious!).
    There is a relatively consistent reply to the question, "If you wanted to employ a 16 year old school leaver in an office job, and were sorting through CV's to thin the list down, what criteria do you apply?"
    The almost universal answer is, "5 GCSEs at C or above, including ICT, English and Maths."
    I usually reply that at some schools many students don't do GCSE ICT, or sometimes many GCSEs. They say that if they have enough with the requirements set above, they don't even read the rest. Only if there aren't enough applicants that meet the minimum requirements do they then read further.
    My older brother told me last week that he had over 100 CVs for one post he advertised, and even with the above pre-selection process still had too many to decide between.
    Our problem, as an industry (teaching), is that we pat the kids on the head and assure them that a D or lower is OK, or that a BTEC or NVQ or whatever is as good as a GCSE. We do that because it helps our league table results. But we do them no favours. The real world is harsh.Mr Gove is sort of right in that regard.
    For non-office work (trainee plumber for example), qualifications are not nearly so important. My cousin Kevin (who actually trained as a teacher), runs a big building company. He does big interview days and makes sure he sees everyone. Personality is what he looks for.
    My guess is that if you asked the pupils what they wanted to do, you would see that traditional education is not always as relevent as we as educators might wish. In that mr Gove is wrong.
    I met one of my 2009/2010 Year 11s last week. He got no GCSEs at C or above. Got a job straight away and is still there. At what? He is an apprentice thatcher. And loving it. I spoke to his boss. He thinks his apprentice is really well suited to the job and is doing very well. What did he learn that really helped? Not a lot at school. I see these type of leavers almost every day. Driving tractors, dry stone walling, plumbers. And without exception loving it. Round pegs and square holes.
    Do I see the "Can't be bothered" teenage leavers as well? Yes. Too lazy to get GCSEs, too lazy to get a job. But they are generally a lost cause anyway. Change has to come from within and despite all the intervention and help we can give, it rarely makes a difference. Depressing sometimes.
    Why not invite some businesses in? Just ring them up, explain what you are about, and you will be surprised how positive a response you will get. So why don't schools do this much? Because those nasty businessmen and women won't pull their punches and too many little darlings will be traumatised by the truth. So you have to be selective on who you invite, and eventually you find someone who won't upset the apple cart. And then you realise that is no good.
     
  4. FluffyKat
    Thank you for your comprehensive response. Lots to think about and I share your views on Mr Gove's policy agenda.
    I guess my concerns are how can we show students that what they are learning (or not) has some link to the outside world and to allow for those who will prosper in careers that require good GCSEs and those that are more suited to good personalities and aptitude.
    I am fairly new to teaching and want to be able to do my best for each group even within the constraints of reducing budgets, targets and timetable commitments!
    I will follow your suggestions of inviting businesses in. I think that pupils do need to understand what employers want and why paying attention is important. Even if the message is tough.
    I believe we need to provide opportunities for students to engage with employers whether that is to learn their requirements and/or to build up the confidence to let their personalities shine and put forward what they have to offer if they are less academic [I guess this also applies whether they are academic or not].
    I have started talking with senior management about enhancing work experience so that there is follow through into the classrooom, but am getting strange looks.............. Is this your experience?
     
  5. Yes. Why on earth bring them face-to-face with the real world? Wouldn't after they leave be a better idea? (that's sarcasm BTW).
     
  6. Hi there.
    It might also be worth contacting STEMnet. Although they mainly focus on promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths in school, they try and link this with the 'real' work. Many STEM ambassadors work in industry and are more than willing to come into schools to discuss their jobs, career prospects and the like. You can ask STEMnet to tailor it around what you want to acheive.
    Before moving into teaching, the company I worked for (an engineering consultancy) had strong links with a few local schools. Following being approached by schools, we arrange to have students visit our offices and see first hand what our jobs were like, what qualifications we needed. We were also able to take them to a working construction site (they were not allowed on the site, just looked through the railings - before anyone has a fit) but the kids loved donning the high vis jackets and hard hats. We also went into school schools during careers fairs, and science days.
    Best of luck! It sounds like your managemnet might need some convincing!
     
  7. Thanks, really helpful.
    Just curious, what influenced you to leave the engineering sector and enter teaching? And have you been able to develop your curriculum based on your experience?
    Also, have your views changed on education since joining the profession?


     
  8. 1. Use the armed forces. I know both the RAF and the Army do maths based activities in school for free.
    2. We do a programme in school where we invite people in to departments to talk to the students about why the subject is important. You'd be surprised at how many businesses want to get involved. Its a cheap and easy way to meet their CSR targets.
    Brilliant to see (at last) a maths teacher prepared to do more than teach for the exam. Keep it up!
     
  9. Thanks for your support and the ideas.
    Just to double check - they do this voluntarily?
     
  10. Well they wouldn't charge the school if that is what you mean.
    A possibly is to contact your local Frederation of Small Businesses - FSB, www.fsb.org.uk, you'll find a contact telephone number there - and tell them your interest. This could save you a bit of time. Large companies will already have some sort of a scheme going. But the smaller businesses - ie 90% of all businesses - will not.
    My advice would be to target a given occupation* and try and find someone willing to right off an hour of thier time. Structure would be 10-15mins talk - about the job - 15-30mins - pupils ask any questions - and a 15min round up between you and the class. Also the more precise you can be, the more likely you are to get someone, so you might want to sit down and make a list of what you want to achieve.
    Then target another occuption etc etc. You may also want to consider doing this on the hour after the school day ends.

    *Businesses get an endless amount of junk thrown at them so the more precise you can be the more likely you will be to hook into something, i.e. do some homework!
     
  11. BTW: I think it's a bit risky to invite people in to indicate why a particular subject is important as they my struggle to answer if pushed since the splitting up of subjects is for academic reasons rather than work related reasons. MKuch better is 'here is occupation X what skills do they utilsie the most etc etc'.
     
  12. Thank you so much for the advice and contact organisations. And thank you to all who have advised. Will let you know how I get on!!!!
     
  13. Do you know now that you point it out it is so logical and obvious, but because of coming at this from an educational perspective it forces you to think in a linear way, rather than focusing on what the business needs/how we operate in the real world!!
    Good to get the challenge on my approach and lots to think about.
     
  14. Work experience coordinator, is a good way to build up links. I organize w/exp and we organize it no outside agencies charging a fortune for places students are not interested in. From have I build up contacts talking to employers direct, these people come into school and do CV building letters of application, frequently ask questions at interview and what employers are looking for. I do a mock interview day students come in dressed up for a interview, these employers interview and give feed back on how to improve.
    No senior staff are only interested in GCSE results and do not see the bigger picture, the students listen to and take notice of employers especially from top companies on what they should do.
    Good Luck

    Graham
     
  15. Thank you so much, this is really helpful.
     
  16. Hi
    Would welcome insight on how your schools are dealing with advice and guidance for students in light of the changes to the connexions service. My school doesn't really seem to have a clear idea about how this is going to be delivered and it would be helpful to find out what is being done elsewhere and the issues you are encountering?
     
  17. Thanks for this. Is this what your school are using?
     

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