From education to employment

England’s schools exporting world-class careers education

A group of officials from Spain visited schools and met officials this week to learn about England’s world-class system of careers education.

Schools in England now work towards a set of high standards called the Gatsby Benchmarks of Good Careers Guidance. First published in 2015 by the Gatsby Foundation, the Benchmarks brought together the best bits from careers education systems around the world.

The programme is attracting attention from around the world due to its positive impact on schools and young people. As well as Spain, officials from Hong Kong to Norway are also trialling adapting the Gatsby Benchmarks for their education systems.

Fast-changing world of work

The Benchmarks are designed to provide young people with the information, advice and inspiration they need to prepare for the fast-changing world of work. They include an emphasis on interacting with a range of employers, learning about careers across different subjects and receiving personal guidance.

In a visit organised by the British Council and Spanish organisation Fundación Bertelsmann, representatives from the Spanish government, employers and not-for-profits this week visited England to learn about how the Benchmarks work in practice.

Leading areas of the country

The delegation met officials from the Gatsby Foundation, the Department for Education and the Careers & Enterprise Company – the organisation that supports schools with training and resources to help them meet the Benchmarks.

They also met representatives from two of the leading areas of the country – The Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership.

The delegation then visited schools including The Misbourne secondary school in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, which is one of the top performing schools in the country for careers education. They met teachers and pupils and learned about their excellent careers provision.

John Yarham, Interim Chief Executive of The Careers & Enterprise Company, said:

“It’s never been more important to prepare young people for the fast-changing world of work. With the clarity that the Gatsby Benchmarks provide and thanks to the hard work of leading schools like The Misbourne, careers education in England has changed dramatically over the last few years. We’re now at the stage where we’re exporting our world-class system to neighbours in Europe and beyond.”

Jo Meloni, Headteacher, The Misbourne, said:

“At the heart of everything that we do are the young people who come through our gates every morning. Our aim is for them to leave us as world-class students who believe that anything is possible and that they have the tools to achieve their goals.

“By working closely with the Local Enterprise Partnership and the Careers & Enterprise Company, we have developed a well-informed, comprehensive and engaging careers provision which students really value. Careers education at The Misbourne is not an add on, it runs through our curriculum on many levels. We are really pleased to have had the opportunity to share some of our work with the delegation from Spain.”

Juan José Juárez, Senior Project Manager at Fundación Bertelsmann

“We are delighted to learn first-hand from the impressive work The Misbourne secondary school and The Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership have done around the Gatsby Benchmarks. The Fundación Bertelsmann has been working for a year and a half adapting the Gatsby Benchmarks to the Spanish context, and this learning visit with high representatives from Spain will be the starting point of a pilot project in Spain for the next school year.”

Beth Jones, Head of Careers Programme. the Gatsby Foundation, said:

“The Gatsby Benchmarks were created after looking at the best career guidance systems around the world. I am very pleased that the hard work of schools and colleges over the last two years, and the support provided by The Careers & Enterprise Company and others, means that we now have other countries looking to England as the world leader in careers.” 

Marina Jackson, Under 19 Skills Manager & Careers Hub Lead, Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

“Since the launch of the Buckinghamshire Skills Hub we have been facilitating the strategic coordination of careers provision across Buckinghamshire to improve opportunities for young people. We are delighted to be able share the successes of the Buckinghamshire Skills Hub with colleagues at an international level.”

Gerarde Manley, Careers Hub Manager, Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP), said:

“We are delighted to share how the LLEP Careers Hub has made a measurable and sustainable impact across schools and colleges in Leicester and Leicestershire.  As one of the first wave of Careers Hubs we a proud of the progress made working with Careers Leaders and Enterprise Advisers in meeting the Gatsby Benchmarks.

“I hope highlighting our journey so far can demonstrate to Fundación Bertelsmann the impact that working with schools in our region has on improving careers and enterprise programmes and improving outcomes for young people.”

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