In Skills

The Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Minister of State at the Department for Education, will visit Churchill Community College in North Tyneside today (Monday 26 September) to see how an innovative careers education programme delivered by the North East LEP, in partnership with The Gatsby Charitable Foundation, is helping young people in the region make better and more informed decisions about their future careers.

Churchill Community College in Wallsend, North Tyneside, is one of 16 schools and colleges in the North East LEP area currently piloting the Gatsby Good Career Guidance Benchmarks – eight clearly defined benchmarks for good career guidance that improve students’ transition from school to work or further study. The North East LEP region is the first in the country to test the Benchmarks.

During his visit to Churchill Community College, the Minister will meet with staff, students and local businesses to hear first hand how the Gatsby Good Career Guidance Benchmarks are improving careers education in the North East. Sarah Glendinning, regional director of the CBI, will also be in attendance to emphasise the support the wider North East business community has given the pilot.

Ryan Gibson, National Facilitator for the Career Benchmarks Pilot at the North East LEP, said: “We’re delighted that the Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP has chosen to visit one of the schools enrolled in the Gatsby Career Guidance Benchmarks pilot as part of his visit to the North East.

“The programme has been transformational in terms of improving students’ access to careers education and helping them develop the skills employers need. The initiatives the North East LEP has developed as part of the Gatsby Career Guidance Benchmarks pilot have improved collaboration between the business community and the education sector, as well as provide teaching staff with workplace training and personal development opportunities to better equip them with the knowledge and skills to provide effective careers advice to students.”

Skills and Apprenticeships Minister Robert Halfon said: “Good careers advice is vital in helping young people make informed decisions and climb the ladder of opportunity to fulfilling jobs.

“I look forward to visiting more schools and colleges that have successfully improved careers education and guidance.”

Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at the University of York, senior education adviser and former headteacher, Sir John Holman, developed the Gatsby Good Career Guidance Benchmarks after being commissioned by The Gatsby Charitable Foundation to map out what good career guidance should look like in the UK.

He identified eight benchmarks that would deliver good careers guidance. They are:

1. A stable careers programme
2. Learning from career and labour market information
3. Addressing the needs of each pupil
4. Linking curriculum learning to careers
5. Encounters with employers and employees
6. Experiences of work places
7. Encounters with further and higher education
8. Personal guidance

Sir John Holman said: “The North East has a very cohesive schooling community, with excellent networks, and is therefore an excellent region in which to run the pilot.

“I have been delighted with the results to date. It has been heartening to see how the benchmarks can be applied within the school and college environment. The positive impact has been demonstrated early on and the passion of professionals in the North East has been key to the pilot’s success.”

The North East LEP has been working with 16 schools and colleges across the LEP area to implement the Gatsby Career Guidance Benchmarks pilot and measure their impact and success.

Marie Jobson, Head of SF and Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) Lead at Churchill Community College took part in five, one-day placements at some of region’s leading STEM employers to improve the quality of careers advice she could offer her students.

Marie said: “Careers Information Advice and Guidance and the principles behind the Gatsby Good Career Guidance Benchmarks are at the heart of what we do at Churchill Community College. In working towards the benchmarks we support our students to better understand the world of work as well as the opportunities and challenges they will face in their future.

“Working with the North East LEP on the Gatsby Career Guidance Benchmarks pilot has allowed us to build a comprehensive Careers Information Advice and Guidance programme for our students. It is transparent, robust and allows for self and external evaluation of our provision.”

Some of the successful initiatives developed by the North East LEP as part of the Gatsby Career Guidance Benchmarks pilot include The Enterprise Advisor Programme, which sees business leaders embedded into secondary schools on a voluntary basis to help teachers shape the delivery of careers education.

The North East LEP has also played a vital role in bringing businesses and the education sector together to ensure a joined up approach that meets the needs of both students and employers.

Funding secured through the Innovation and Activity Fund has supported pilot schools and colleges in developing innovative ideas around careers education and a workplace training and development programme for staff is already showing positive results.

The Government is currently considering a new statutory guidance that could include the Gatsby Good Career Guidance Benchmarks.

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