A few weeks ago, we attended the inaugural AoC Into Work Conference – Preparing Young People for Work. It was so lovely to have been approached by the AoC to lead a breakout session given our growing work in supporting the FE sector to focus on exactly this.
AoC’s Director of Education Policy, Joy Mercer, lead the day’s events and continued to reiterate FE’s focus, “Colleges get students into work and create a career vision.” She also took the opportunity to highlight the AoC’s latest crusade Careers Guidance: Guaranteed, a push to drive significantly better access for young people to access impartial advice on post 14 education, training and employment options. Their four key challenges are to seek greater Investment, ensure more Accountability and provide wider Access all leading to a more Informed Choice. This theme was explored through the event from different angles by an interesting mix of speakers.
Charles Elvin, Chief Executive of the Institute of Leadership and Management focussed on research highlighting the fact that employers seek “mind set over skillset” and that “resilience is key” to success with the current and future workforce.
OFSTED’s Karen Adriaanse summarised the key findings from her recent damning report of careers advice in schools, in which the common theme throughout was that young people “want more information” on careers and further learning options. Karen highlighted that “many careers advisors didn’t know relevant local labour market information.”
And finally Graham Stuart MP, Chairman of the Education Select Committee, gave a frank assessment of the current challenges faced by the education and skills sector, with high youth unemployment and poor careers guidance a key challenge to the nation’s economic prosperity. Graham had an interesting view of the current state of careers advice available in this country: “Information, advice and guidance needs to be more like a sophisticated Sat Nav, rather than an old wrinkled A to Z book”. This is an interesting term that highlights the need for the current careers system to be more flexible and utilise the very latest data and information relating to the labour market to help shape direction.
The common theme throughout these great presentations was a lack of good, relevant information about the labour market. Locally specific insight provides clarity as to where current and future employment opportunities lie. Moreover, there is a definite desire to understand how transferable skills are developed through formal education and how on the job learning can help provide flexibility in the labour market to respond to change and progress.
And this is what EMSI is all about – providing good, local data on the current and future labour market through easy to use and flexible online tools. The EMSI presentation outlined exactly this, along with valuable input from Alec Brand, Head of Marketing at Greenwich Community College, who provided examples of how the college have benefited from the greater insight our tools offer.
Click here to access the slides from the breakout session.