Half of schools and colleges lack formal links with employers, study finds

Nearly half of schools and colleges have no formal links with employers and almost one in 10 provides no work experience at all, a study by the Department for Education finds.

Research published today shows that 8 per cent of institutions fail to give pupils the opportunity to carry out work experience and 13 per cent do not provide visits to workplaces at which students can learn about careers.

The study, Mapping Careers Provision in Schools and Colleges in England, finds that “nearly all” of the institutions surveyed offer students some support for contacting employers.

This support includes bringing in external speakers or industry specialists to speak to pupils, workplace visits and work experience, it says.

However, these links tend to only be offered from Year 10 onwards, and some organisations “do not use these methods at all”.

Among the 107 respondents, 35 per cent said their school or college had a dedicated work experience coordinator. Although almost half (46 per cent) didn’t have formal links with employers, “the majority did feel confident in working with and finding external partners”, the report says.

A separate research report, also published by the DfE today, finds that 55 per cent of senior leaders have had increased links with employers since the publication of government guidance in April 2014 requiring schools to give pupils “real-life exposure to the world of work”.

The NFER Teacher Voice Omnibus says a further 20 per cent plan to increase their links with employers in the next six months.

Schools and colleges were put in charge of arranging careers advice for students in September 2012. Previously, the responsibility lay with local authorities. The government said the new freedom would allow schools to tailor careers advice to the needs of their pupils.

But since the change, the Commons Education Select Committee, Ofsted and the National Careers Council have raised concerns about whether students are getting the help they need in moving from compulsory education to work or further study.

Dr Anthony Mann, director of policy and research for the Education and Employers Taskforce said: “This tells us that schools do take careers advice seriously. Schools want to provide young people with good rounded careers information. It also tells us that what schools tend to do are the things that are easiest for them to do, so make it easy to do.

“As a charity, we run Inspiring the Future [which organises career talks by volunteers]. That has had a massive response because it is easy and trustworthy.”

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