EngineeringUK calls on Government to bring business into careers guidance - and to start early
Speaking at the Education Select Committee at the House of Commons on Wednesday 31 October, EngineeringUK Chief Executive, Paul Jackson, stressed the importance of working with business to provide face to face careers information for 11-14 year-olds.
Providing evidence at the first session of the Inquiry into Career Guidance for Young People, Paul Jackson said: “Young people will get face to face guidance from somewhere and we need to ensure that it is well informed and early enough to reap the rewards, that means Year 7 onwards.
“Between 2010 and 2020 engineering companies will see 2.74 million job openings across a diverse range of disciplines, so it is essential that information and guidance is available to promote the diversity of engineering careers available and the variety of routes to these careers.
“Involving businesses in careers programmes like The Big Bang and Tomorrow’s Engineers engages young people at all levels, and makes a significant impact. In 2011, 11% of all 12 to 16-year-olds said a career in engineering was desirable. This number increased more than four times for young people who had been involved in Tomorrow’s Engineers or The Big Bang Fair.”
Paul Jackson stressed that current proposals placing responsibility on schools to deliver careers guidance would, in many cases, result in teachers being over-reliant on the new National Careers Service website, which currently does not meet the needs of 11-14 year-olds at a key stage in their school lives. He argued that recent changes to the provision of careers guidance in schools had so far failed to improve a system that already supported insufficient numbers of young people in pursuing a career in engineering.
Paul Jackson said: “Our research shows that teachers base the guidance they give about careers on their own experience and a fifth of science and maths teachers believe a career in engineering is undesirable. It is crucial to the future engineering talent-pipeline that we support schools, teachers and young people with engineering careers guidance.
“An effective careers service would include opportunities for both students and teachers to experience the (engineering) workplace and provide an independent and professional careers adviser in schools and colleges, enabling students to make informed choices from an early age.”
The first session of Inquiry into Career Guidance for Young People took place to explore the extent to which the current provision of careers guidance meets the needs of young people. Witnesses giving evidence also included David Pollard, Education, Skills and Business Support Committee; David Walrond, Principal, Truro and Penwith College; and Peter Searle, CEO of UK and Ireland, Adecco Group.
Footage of the meeting can be seen here
Further information about EngineeringUK can be found at www.engineeringuk.com
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Notes to editors
Inquiry into Career Guidance for Young People
Three key messages
• The UK needs more engineers. Between 2010 and 2020, it is projected that engineering will see 2.74 million job openings across a diverse range of disciplines, including 1.86 million workers who are likely to need engineering skills
• (STEM) teachers base the guidance they give about careers on their own experience and a fifth of them believe a career in engineering to be undesirable
• Focusing careers information at young people pre (GCSE) options, down to Year 7, is essential if we want to have an impact on the shortfall of engineers in the system.
• Information and guidance should promote the diversity of engineering careers available and the variety of routes to these careers
• Programmes like The Big Bang and Tomorrow’s Engineers which bring together the engineering (STEM) community in a partnership approach positively engage young people at all levels, and help bring the realities of a career in engineering home.
EngineeringUK is an independent organisation that promotes the vital contribution of engineers, engineering and technology in our society. EngineeringUK partners business and industry, government and the wider science and engineering community: producing evidence on the state of engineering, sharing knowledge within engineering and inspiring young people to choose a career in engineering, matching employers’ demand for skills. For more information about EngineeringUK please visit www.EngineeringUK.com