Published in September 2015, the Standard addresses the ambition to reduce youth unemployment by better preparing young people for the world of work and is a direct response to one of the recommendations in Education Working for All! The standard reflects existing Curriculum for Excellence guidance; most obviously, in relation to Building the Curriculum 4: Skills for learning, life and work but also in delivering some of the health and wellbeing outcomes that are, of course, the responsibility of all.
At the heart of the new Standard lies a set of entitlements for all learners and a corresponding set of expectations for each of the four key influencers in young peoples’ learning and career choices: you as teachers or education practitioners; parents and carers; employers and, of course, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) the national skills agency.
I know from previous experience that the landscape of Scottish education can sometimes appear cluttered with seemingly unconnected new initiatives that compete for limited development time. Therefore, it’s heartening to know that as schools begin to deliver the entitlements and expectations described in this new Standard it will also help them address some of the other current priorities in Scottish education.
A significant body of research shows more systematic and progressive delivery of quality career education works on two fronts. Firstly it helps young people to develop the essential career management skills needed to successfully navigate the increasingly complex and extended transition from school into further learning, training or employment. Secondly, it has more immediate positive impacts by helping to set learning in a relevant real-life context so raising learners’ engagement and motivation. In turn, this leads to measurable improvements in achievement and attainment and makes a valuable contribution to closing the attainment gap. All of which are priorities in Scottish Government’s new National Improvement Framework.
Support for you
The Career Education Standard acknowledges and builds on the existing good practice seen in classrooms across Scotland and aspires to make this common practice in future.
Fortunately, with such an ambition, you are not alone in implementing the Standard. SDS and other partners are working hard to provide additional guidance and support to help you develop young people’s skills for life and work and so ensure that DYW sustainably improves learning experiences and outcomes for all.
SDS’s team of expert Careers Advisers have started working with pupils from an earlier stage; beginning at the point of transition from P7 to S1 and continuing to be involved at all stages until the end of school. They offer a combination of group and one-to-one activities geared to developing the essential career management skills that help young people make informed learning and career choices providing a valuable complement to school career education programmes. We have been working in close collaboration with Education Scotland and a number of primary, secondary and additional support needs schools across Scotland to develop, test and refine this support.
We know young people are going online for information and help. Only last week Childwise figures showed 7-16 year olds are spending 3 hours a day on line, that’s up to 4.8 hours for 15 to 16 year olds. This growing trend coincides with the news that SDS’s digital resource is already being significantly enhanced, with more on the way. This includes the updated and more intuitive version of My World of Work, our award-winning careers information and advice web service, which launched on 25 January.
There will also be a new dedicated digital offer aimed at CfE second level (P5-7) and an exploration of how P7 pupils can best use My World of Work. These digital resources are accompanied by a range of support materials that can help teachers and pupils to better connect learning in and beyond the classroom to the world of work.
SDS is also working to enhance practitioners’ confidence and skills in the area of career education. We are working with Education Scotland to develop a suite of learning resources that will support career-long professional learning. These will be gradually rolled out over the coming months and will focus on getting to know the Standard, how to make effective use of My World of Work, career management skills and also an insight into career and labour market intelligence and how to access current information.
SDS will also be able to further support schools in engaging and working with employers, and along with the National Parent Forum of Scotland have already developed a guide for parents to career education in schools.
Over the coming months you’ll hear more from my colleagues in SDS on each of these areas and the progress that’s being made.
In March we’ll update you on the launch of the re-developed My World of Work and the new and improved tools and content as well as plans for the future.’
See the National Parent Forum of Scotland nutshell guide Career Education: A World of Possibilities