A new series of workshops is helping to improve careers advice in schools by giving teachers a chance to meet with local employers and better understand how their subject areas align with the world of work.
Delivered by Hertfordshire Careers Hub and HFL Education and funded by The Careers and Enterprise Company, the pilot ‘Teacher Encounter Workshop’ series has thus far supported from 12 schools. Areas covered include business admin and computing/IT with Computacenter, the NHS and Hertfordshire County Council.
A 2023 survey of local teachers conducted by Hertfordshire Careers Hub highlights that although 9 out of 10 teachers discuss careers with students on a regular basis, there remains a significant lack of confidence when it comes to discussing technical and vocational pathways. The workshops tackle this issue by setting out the wider post-16 landscape in addition to providing employer insight.
‘The best CPD I have ever attended’ – Marian Lewis, Business teacher at Hitchin Girls' School
Marian attended the Business Administration Teacher Encounter workshop hosted at Computacenter in Hatfield. With 20 years of industry experience working in marketing, PR and communications, Marian was keen to attend an employer-led workshop to discover how closely the curriculum she develops aligns with industry needs.
Kevin Gilmartin from the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) showcased post-16 vocational options, while Computacenter, the local NHS Partnership Trust and Hertfordshire County Council shared insights on the business-related roles needed by their organisations.
Marian said: “The day was really well planned. The session delivered by Kevin was an important reminder for us as teachers to develop awareness of vocational and technical alternatives to A Level – this was the spur we needed to be more proactive with curriculum planning.
“From talking to my students it’s apparent that they don’t associate the public sector with careers in business administration. They tend to look at blue chip private sector organisations so it was refreshing to be able to share details of the opportunities that exist within the NHS – the largest national employer, and the county council – the biggest employer in Hertfordshire.
“I particularly enjoyed hearing from Sariska – the business apprentice from Hertfordshire County Council. Hearing about her journey was a strong reminder about how we, as teachers, need to better support students that are searching and applying for apprenticeship roles.
“After hearing from both public sector employers I was reassured that we cover some of the really important skills within our curriculum. We’ve always maintained the importance of good communication skills and we include some of the soft skills, like how to answer a telephone, already. However, it was also emphasised that the ability to be creative, flexible and think in an intrapreneurial manner are vital to boosting employability.
“I have already begun making changes to my teaching, especially for sixth form classes. We are now going to embed networking skills into our curriculum and focus further on intrapreneurial skills and activities. I’ve now introduced HOP (Hertfordshire Opportunities Portal) into my lessons and am encouraging students to share this with their friends and parents. HOP enables them to be specific when researching local job opportunities. Every school and teacher should be aware of HOP and try to use it within their lessons.
“Additionally, I’ve been able to network with business teachers from different schools. We’re going to compare our respective curriculums and look to incorporate what we’ve learned. The workshop was incredibly enlightening – it was the best CPD I have attended and I would strongly recommend that every Head of Department should attend subsequent sessions.”
Further Teacher Encounter Workshops are planned in 2024. To learn more and register your interest, please contact Gareth.email@example.com
The workshop was incredibly enlightening – it was the best CPD I have attended and I would strongly recommend that every Head of Department should attend subsequent sessions.