Viewforth High School seeks to ensure that our pupils have the necessary qualifications and skills for success in learning, life and work. Our efforts are very much in keeping with the national importance now placed on employability. Many complex and interrelated factors are involved in ensuring that school leavers identify, enter and sustain positive destinations and we are committed to working with partners to maximise the outcomes for our leavers.

The fundamental importance of work on employability is well summarise in the Careers Education Standard which points out that several Articles of The United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child relate to;

“learning experiences that are offered in helping to prepare children and young people for the world of work ”.

In Addition the fourth edition of How Good is Our School? includes employability as one of the 15 Quality Indicators, citing

“Our young people are ambitious and better prepared for the world of work through progressive learning that connects them more directly to employment”.

Our pupils are also aware of some of the challenges they face after school and in the most recent Pupilwise Survey almost half of our S4-S6 said that they wanted more support to “think about” and to “experience” opportunities in preparation for leaving school.

Wood Report – Education Working for ALL

The challenges Scotland faces in preparing our young people for life beyond school were addressed by the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, under the chairmanship of Sir Ian Wood. Their final report, often referred to as the Wood report or the DYW report, makes 39 recommendations about how to create a common sense of purpose among those who support a young person’s personal and career development.

The Wood Report recognises that no individual group has all the answers but encourages pupils, parents, teachers, schools, colleges, Skills Development Scotland, employers organisations and local authorities to work together to improve the life chances for all youngsters.

Viewforth High School’s programme of ongoing activity and involvement with partners is summarised in our Employability Curriculum Planner. (Appendix 1)

Schools’ Response to the Wood Report.

It is now accepted that preparing young people for the world of work forms a core element of the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence.

This report rightly recognises that;

“Teachers have an important role to play – not as a replacement for careers advisors – but in helping young people understand and develop the skills required to successfully prepare for employment”.

There is no doubt that much professional learning would be required before class teachers felt confident about giving detailed careers advice. Indeed Wood rightly indicates that class teachers are not replacements for careers advisors. However, teachers are the only people who have a proper and up to date picture of the content and skills developed by young people taking their subject. As such, this places the teacher in a position to give general advice on potential progression pathways into further education or employment. It is accepted that additional advice from careers advisors will also be needed to get a complete and up to date picture of the current state of the employment market. Experienced teachers have long noted how the career journeys of our pupils can be influenced by both the formal and informal advice and guidance we give. In essence this is an outcome of the trust our pupils and their families put in us.

Employability Months

This is an initiative formalises our existing good practice where teachers seek to raise the aspirations of our pupils by letting them know how their specific subject relates to a range of career options.

For past two years we have had a concentrated focus on Employability across all year groups for the same two week period. Pupils and teachers felt that this was too concentrated and that the frequently repeated message lost its impact quickly. Because of this feedback the BGE and Senior phase will have separate month long intervals for delivering an employability focussed lesson for 2017/18. This employability focus will occur twice for each group at times thought to be key for deciding future progression pathways.

Two further comments from the Wood report may also be worth considering when deciding how best to take this forward;

“Beginning well before the start of the senior phase and right through to S6, young people should be exposed to a wide range of career options”

“By the end of S3 all pupils should have a demonstrable understanding of the process of finding, applying for and successfully getting and sustaining a job”

Can I suggest the following arrangements, which colleagues should feel free to adapt or supplement.

During the times indicated on the 2017/18 school calendar colleagues set aside 1 period with all classes to look at the theme of employability. Pupils could even be asked to research these questions for homework and report back during class.

  • For classes BGE classes it may be useful to have teacher led discussion on the following

1: What jobs are closely linked to this subject?

2: What qualifications are needed for these and what is the likely pay?

3: What skills do I learn in this class that will help me in work?

It may also be useful with junior classes to look at the different sort of options that this subject can lead to e.g apprenticeships, college for FE or university for HE.

  • For classes in the Senior Phase it may be useful to have teacher led discussion on some of the following;

1: What FE and HE courses are linked to this subject?

2: What jobs are closely linked to this subject?

3: What other type of activities show genuine interest in the subject?

4: Why study a subject that is not one of my main subjects?

5: What is it like studying at university/college?

During discussions pupils may wish to widen the discussion to look at things like personal statements, completing application forms or interview technique. If teachers feel unable to assist, pupils should be directed to Ada Watson, our Careers Adviser or to their year group depute.

Resources

  • It may be the case that teachers are happy to address these employability related questions or others that arise in a general class discussion. If points are raised where pupils will need additional support they should be directed to Ada Watson, our Careers Adviser or to their year group depute.
  • There may be resources online that would illustrate careers that teachers would wish to showcase. Some clips will be available on youtube other information will be available via MyWorldofWork or the UCAS website.
  • The “my world of work” website (www.myworldofwork.co.uk) may be familiar to some pupils from the work already done in PSE classes. It is a good source of job information.
  • Our careers Advisor, Ada Watson is happy to discuss input with staff in advance and to visit classes by prior arrangement with the class teacher.

Conclusion

The fact that our pupils trust us is one evidence of the nurturing nature of Viewforth High School. Such trust gives us the chance to raise pupil aspiration and to provide subject focussed career advice when young people need it. We can also encourage our pupils to consider a broader view of subject choices, career options and job opportunities while at the same time engaging them in meaningful discussion about their skills development and career journey.

A Watt (Rector)

Download: 170901 Employability Months

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