A report by Deloitte UK and the Education and Employers Taskforce
This report is based on 100 interviews with people from a broad cross-section of organisations working with employer engagement: teachers, leaders, students, Education Business Partnership Organisations (EBPOs), employers, employer organisations and professional associations. On-line surveys were carried out with 500 young people (clustered round years 9-11), staff from 81 primary and secondary schools and 44 employers spread over the UK (the majority of respondents being senior-level staff or board members). Researchers also reviewed existing literature on employer engagement.
Although 95% of young people said they wanted employers to be more involved in providing IAG, 42% had had no contact with employers and a further 42% could only remember a few isolated incidences of involvement. This highlights a “significant divide between what young people want from the careers advice experience at school and what they get”. The need for engagement is further emphasised by the finding that “the impact of employer exposure appears to have a marked effect on how young people feel about their future”. For example, the percentage of young people strongly agreeing with the statement ‘I have a good idea of the knowledge and skills I need for the jobs I want to do’ rises from 23% of students who have had no exposure to 44% of students who have had more than four employer interactions. Similarly, there is a 27% improvement in students’ response to the statement ‘I am confident that I will be able to find a good job’ (rising from 18% to 45% of students strongly agreeing).
Barriers to engagement were found to centre on communication, awareness, capability and experience and geography. The report made some recommendations for overcoming these barriers, some of which were: establishing a single point of entry for engagement and creating a single body of knowledge on the subject; initiating a co-ordinated campaign to raise awareness of the benefits and the support available; redefining working with schools as a business activity, urging employers to commit substantial resources to “maximise the impact of their investment”; and government action to reduce red tape, initiate accredited recognition of employer volunteering and support the development of new offerings.