With young people and school leavers in particular needing sound careers guidance now more than ever before, delivering quality careers education in every school is vital.
Here, Dr Ina Goldberg, who was Commended in the Careers Leader of the Year Category at the 2019 Careers and Enterprise Company Awards, shares the successful approach to careers education taken at Oasis Academy Brislington, and how the school has adapted their approach for COVID-19.
The Careers Education Programme
At Oasis Academy Brislington we have developed a stable careers programme which is based on strong relationships with employers, post-16, further and higher education providers as well as charities such as Speakers for Schools and South Bristol Youth. Each year our students experience meaningful engagements with people from various industries either within the Academy or by visiting work places.
We are part of the local careers hub and are involved in various stakeholder groups, which has given us access to a wide range of companies, for example Airbus, DES, EDF Energy and RPC to name a few, who are keen to work with us to ensure our students, of whom 42% come from a disadvantaged background, receive the information needed for them to make good careers choices.
Piloting a New Approach to Develop Careers Champions
Working with these partners provides us with many opportunities to reach out to students as well as parents. A new pilot, which has been supported by the Careers and Enterprise Company, is enabling us to use these connections to build our careers champions programme - a programme to build relationships between our curriculum and employers to show students the connection between knowledge and skills they are learning in school and employability skills wanted by employers.
The vision is to use the outcomes of the pilot to support other schools in Bristol to set-up similar initiatives that bring education and employment much closer together. RPC, one of our current partners, provides our students with various encounters throughout the year. These vary from mentoring, employability skills days to assessment centre style days to prepare our students for their next steps. Since we have been part of the careers hub, an enterprise coordinator as well as an enterprise adviser have supported us. Being part of a community of careers leader and being supported by employers and careers professionals has enabled us to provide excellent careers education for all our students which enable them to build the motivation, confidence and resilience to stand as first amongst equals and to achieve their potential, develop their talent and fulfil their ambition.
Adapting Careers Education for the COVID-19 Lockdown
During lockdown, unfortunately some of this work had to take a step back, however, we still made sure that we provided our students with information such as virtual college tours, checked the destinations, especially those of our most vulnerable students and started planning for our future careers programme.
Many of the employer engagements and careers activities we are planning for next year will be virtual to ensure our students and staff are safe. We will provide parents and students with careers advice and guidance which supports them to make the right choices for their future pathway. This will be communicated through our website and fortnightly careers up-dates.
Successes So Far
The work we have done with employers and providers in school as well as outside of school has supported our quest to provide our students with high quality careers education and as a result we are now at 100% at 7 of the 8 Gatsby Benchmarks. We were also nominated for the Careers Leader of the Year award in 2019 where we came 3rd in the whole country. We are proud that we are making a difference to so many disadvantaged students, which has also resulted in our NEET figures to be far below the national average.
This piece is one of many we will be providing in the coming months as part of the IG Schools Community Hub. Here you will find our calendar of events, including training days, discussion forums, and national conferences, as well as all our content such as interviews with sector experts and helpful resources to enhance teaching and learning. We provide best practice guidance documents in addition to policy updates for those working within the education sector.