Sharing lessons from North East career benchmarks pilot with Spain

The success of a North East careers guidance pilot will be shared across Europe.

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) region is the first in the country to pilot the eight National Career Benchmarks identified by Sir John Holman and the Gatsby Foundation.

Sixteen schools and colleges in the North East LEP area took part in the pilot, which comprises two years of intensive careers activity with schools, colleges and local businesses as well as four years of data collection, gathered and analysed by an independent evaluator.

Now the North East will welcome visitors from Fundación Bertelsmann, a Barcelona-based organisation that aims to improve employment opportunities for young people through projects including projects in career-guidance and Dual Vocational Education.

The visitors are hoping to learn lessons from the Gatsby Benchmarks to help inform their programmes.

Ryan Gibson, national facilitator for the Career Benchmarks Pilot at North East LEP, said: “Good career guidance is vital if young people are to reach their potential and make the most of the opportunities available to them.

“The schools and colleges involved in the pilot have made fantastic progress and we’re delighted that there is now international interest in our work.

“The Fundación Bertelsmann is interested in our strategic approach and how every school is working to the same framework. They are keen to understand how the Gatsby career benchmarks framework is being disseminated across the UK to schools, across regions and nationally through policy work, partnership working and the Compass audit tool.

“The visit really is testament to the success of the pilot and we hope the lessons we share can in turn help young people across Spain.”

The eight Benchmarks were generated following a research project conducted by Sir John Holman and his team. They identified the key elements of good career guidance. It is hoped the framework will now be rolled out nationally.

The two-day visit will see the Spanish delegates welcomed to the North East LEP headquarters to learn how the Benchmarks have been put into action in schools and colleges, and the impact of the framework on career education.

Sir John Holman, author of the Good Career Guidance Report, will lead a discussion on careers guidance.

The delegates will also attend sessions at Newcastle High School for Girls, Castleview Enterprise Academy, in Sunderland, and Harton Technology College, in South Tyneside.

They will talk to teachers and staff responsible for the guidance activities on an operational and strategic level to understand how career guidance is organised within our schools, the role of external partners, the role of parents and families, and how to overcome obstacles in implementing career guidance activities.

The visit will also see the Fundación Bertelsmann representatives travel to London to learn more about the Gatsby Foundation, the Careers and Enterprise Company and the Compass tool.

Beth Jones, Gatsby Foundation: “The schools and colleges involved in piloting the Gatsby benchmarks have shown us what excellent career guidance can look like. We are really pleased that the North East LEP are able to give the Fundación Bertelsmann the opportunity to learn from their great work.”

The Benchmarks have been scaled up in the North East region as part of North East Ambition, which is a commitment to ensure all schools and colleges across the region can benefit from adopting the framework.

(Pictured: Sir John Holman, Denis Heaney, Helen Golightly, Dawn Bewick, Juan Juarez, Hannes Brandt.)