10 most popular research publications of 2015

14 December 2015

Since January, more than 2,500 different users from around the world have visited the Education and Employers research webpages in search of information and perspectives on employer engagement in education.  Join us as we take a look back and count down the most popular publications of 2015.

At ten… Bibliography

Mann, A. & McKeown, R. November 2015. Employer Engagement in Education: A bibliography. Occasional Research Paper 6: November 2015. Find the publication here.

This bibliography references works that we have found to be of value within our own work in the field of employer engagement in education. We published the bibliography in November 2015 and expect that the list of relevant publications will grow year on year.

At nine… What do recruiters think about young people?

Mann, A. & Huddleston, P. September 2015. ‘What do recruiters think about today’s young people? Insights from four focus groups’. Occasional Research Paper 5. Find the publication here.

This paper explores focus group data from eight key commentators in the field of employer engagement in education, gathered for the publication ‘How should our schools respond to the demands of the labour market? Eight perspectives’. Results from the focus groups suggest that recruiters would like greater employer engagement with schools, specifically to prepare students for the transition from school to work. The respondents express that young people need assistance in making sense of careers and how to set goals to achieve career aims, which can be difficult in the current labour market. Recruiters believe that increased employer contacts will foster confidence within young people and also develop the ability to apply knowledge effectively in unfamiliar situations.

At eight… It’s who you meet

Mann, A. February 2012. It’s who you meet: why employer contacts at school make a difference to the employment prospects of young adults. Find the publication here.

This report looks at youth unemployment levels and provides statistical evidence to support the verdict that the more times a young person (aged 14 to 19) comes into contact with employers during their schooling then the less likely it is that they will become NEET by the ages of 19 to 24. The results also show that the more employer contacts that there are then confidence will increase with young people. Young adults surveyed who recalled more activities while at school were less likely to be NEET and earned, on average, more than peers who recalled no such activities. The author suggests that the reason for such increases is related to social capital gains and increased professional interactions that are useful for young people.

At seven… Nothing in common

Mann, A., Massey, D., Glover, P., Kashefpakdel, E. & Dawkins, J. March 2013. Nothing in Common: The Career Aspirations of Young Britons Mapped Against Projected Labour Market Demand 2010-2020. Occasional Taskforce Research Paper: No. 2. Find the publication here.

This paper questions the alignment between the career aspirations of young people (aged between 13 and 18) and estimates of demand within the labour market. It analyses young people’s career ambitions and decisions and how realistic their chosen career path may be. Findings suggest that career aspirations of young people have ‘nothing in common’ with projected jobs available in the labour market. The authors suggest that the careers guidance and enterprise should be alert to what jobs are exist currently and thus provide correct measures for young people to achieve goals in those careers. There is a need for appropriate employer signalling in order to address the problems within the youth labour market.

At six… Key issues in employer engagement

Mann, A. February 2015. Key issues in employer engagement in education: Why it makes a difference and how to deliver at scale. Commissioned by Skills Development Scotland and The Edge Foundation. Find the publication here.

This report discusses how employer engagement can be delivered effectively, efficiently and equitably. Drawing on evidence from the UK and worldwide, this paper identifies the tangible benefits of links between employers and young people in education; looks at some of the reasons such links have not (yet) become deep rooted; and suggests ways of increasing the variety, frequency and quality of future links. The report concludes that employer engagement in education is most effective when delivered at scale, in variety and throughout school lives.

At five… Education responding to the changing demands of the labour market

Anthony Mann & Prue Huddleston. March 2015. ‘How should our schools respond to the demands of the twenty first century labour market? Eight perspectives’. Occasional Taskforce Research Paper 4: February 2015. Find the publication here.

This report analyses recent changes within the labour market through interviews with eight key commentators within the field of employer engagement in education. It addresses the mismatch of students leaving school more qualified than ever before, yet high youth unemployment levels. The report looks at ways that schools can respond to better prepare students for the job completion they are likely to face. It is increasingly necessary for students to leave education with recruitment skills, resilience and support into employment. The authors promote the value that enterprise education can play in helping students apply knowledge in unfamiliar situations, a key skill that employers seek from their recruits.

At four… Understanding employer engagement in education

Anthony Mann, Julian Stanley & Louise Archer (eds). May 2014. Understanding Employer Engagement in Education: Theories and Evidence. London: Routledge. Find the publication here,

This book provides the first collection of research essays on the topic of employer engagement in education. Despite employer engagement increasing in importance within the area of policy, there has been a lack of research in the area. The research papers are drawn out of insights from international conferences and seminars held by the Education and Employers Taskforce.

Authors theorise employer engagement in education through the lens of capital accumulation, within the complexities of the current labour market. Specific types of employer interventions are examined, analysing their impacts on student development and their transition from school to work. It is suggested that the implications of different activities are felt and experienced in different ways by different students, creating a nuanced process. There are socio-economic factors at play shaping the extent and distribution of employer engagement benefits across society.

At three… Literature review

Anthony Mann & James Dawkins. January 2014. Employer engagement in education: Literature review. Commissioned by the CfBT education trust. Find the publication here.

This paper produces a relevant review of research literature related to employer engagement in education. The authors have recognised the limited extent of research within the field, despite the wide interest within policy, and pulls together academic research papers that utilise robust methodologies.

The literature review is split into two sections. The first examines ‘what different employer engagement activities give to young people’, specifically in terms of employability skills, attainment and employment outcomes, and changes in insights and attitudes. This looks at the range of common employer engagement activities (work experience, careers talks, workplace visits, business mentoring, enterprise competitions and curriculum enrichment) and analyses the impacts of these on students.

The second section explores ‘employer engagement strategies to secure specific outcomes’ looking at the implication of employer engagement activities in terms of attainment, engagement and improved transitions to work.

At two… Work experience

Education and Employers Taskforce. April 2012. Work Experience: Impact and delivery – insights from the evidence. Find the publication here.

This report considers the value of work experience to young people within the contexts of: clarifying career aspirations, getting into university, academic attainment and employment. It also examines the quality of work experience and the opportunities and obstacles it affords both young people and employers.

The report finds that work experience placements have different impacts on different students. For some, they are an opportunity to challenge stereotypes about specific careers, for others they allow students to determine careers that are not suitable for them in the future. Work experience placements have been credited for increasing employability skills and a route for offers of permanent employment opportunities. For independent school pupils, the benefits of work experience placements are less surrounding career guidance but more as a useful addition for university applications. Anecdotal teacher perceptions have suggested that work experience placements are linked to higher levels of student attainment, with borderline and low-attaining students gaining the most from experiences.

Most popular… Employer engagement cycle

Steven Jones, Anthony Mann & Katy Morris. September 2015. ‘The ‘Employer Engagement Cycle’ in Secondary Education: analysing the testimonies of young British adults’. Journal of Education and Work. Find the publication here.

This article looks at responses from 380 students who have experienced school-mediated employer engagement. It finds that students gain the most benefit in the form of cultural capital (changes in the way that they feel about themselves and their aspirations) and social capital (new, personal interactions). Students rarely experience gains in human capital (additional technical or employability skills). Importantly, however, it is recognised that these three forms of capital cannot be neatly separated or distinguished from each other – they connect and form each other as part of the ‘employer engagement cycle’. For students who engage in this cycle they are able to draw benefits from all forms of capital accumulation, ultimately better preparing them for the world of work.

The Employer Engagement Cycle

The Employer Engagement Cycle


You may also be interested in our most popular research summaries of 2015!

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