Employer Engagement in Education: Literature Review

By Dr Anthony Mann (Director of Research and Policy, Education and Employers), and James Dawkins (Research Analyst, Education and Employers).


The purpose of the paper is to unwrap and disaggregate what happens when a young person in a learning environment comes into contact with the working world. The paper considers the range of common employer engagement activities (work experience, job shadowing, career talks, workplace visits, enterprise projects etc) and asks what can each be expected, typically, to give to participating young person in terms of employability skills, attainment and employment outcomes, and changes in insights and attitudes. Moreover, it explores whether different types of young people, as defined by attainment levels, learning difficulties and engagement patterns, can be expected to gain particularly from different types of activity.

This paper presents a review of research literature relevant to typical employer engagement activities and the primary outcomes (attainment and employment) considered. Given the relative paucity of high quality research material on employer engagement activities, the widespread inconsistent use of terminology to describe the same phenomenon, the availability of much research of interest in public – rather than academic – literature, and the fact that insights of value are often to be found in works addressing outcome areas rather than describing process, simple key word searches of research databases are unlikely to fully provide material of greatest value. Rather a critical exploration of literature is undertaken, following links between papers and drawing on the considerable library of research materials compiled by the Education and Employers Taskforce.

The report was commissioned by the CfBT Education Trust.

Read the full ‘Employer engagement in education: literature review’

Also relevant to this report is: Teacher and pupil voices on employer engagement (January 2014)

Find our latest bibliography on the topic of employer engagement in education here.