University IAG for Schools - Meeting the Quality in Careers Standard: how teachers can make the most of what universities have to offer
Guest Blogger: Sophie Craven, Schools and Colleges Liaison Service, The University of Huddersfield
Careers provision in schools and colleges is once again firmly in the spotlight. As those of you in careers roles in schools will be aware, The Quality in Careers Standard (QCS, 2017), sets the new gold standard for good CEIG provision in schools. The QCS, the national quality award for careers education, is routed firmly in the 2014 Gatsby Foundation’s eight Benchmarks for Good Career Guidance, which many schools were already working towards.
However, in a recent State of the Nation report by the Careers and Enterprise Company (2017) it was found that whilst many schools were partially meeting the Gatsby benchmarks, much of the current provision is still falling short. The report provides some ‘lessons’ for schools on how to improve provision and talks of the need to ‘build capacity’ and ‘engage with stakeholders.’
There is no doubt that universities, as well as other stakeholders, have a vital part to play here and can certainly help schools to build that capacity. More specifically, universities can provide support in a number of key ways towards the QCS national assessment and accreditation criteria.
CPD opportunities for staff involved in delivering CEIAG (B1.2)
The QCS states that staff should be competent to deliver CEIAG and possess up-to date knowledge and information. Universities can offer a wide range of ongoing CPD activities for teachers and advisers – on topics from UCAS and student finance to the development of degree apprenticeships. In addition, some universities also offer accredited CPD for careers staff. For example, The University of Huddersfield offers a post graduate professional qualification in careers guidance, accredited by the CDI.
Working with external partners including universities to enhance and extend CEIAG provision (B1.5)
Universities can offer a wide range of activities for students including subject and generic workshops, lectures and visits – both on and off campus, to help schools build their capacity. One of the measures of success cited in the QCS is that ‘by the age of 18, all pupils who are considering applying for university should have had at least two visits to universities.’ This highlights not only the importance of engaging with universities, but more specifically the value of taking pupils out of school to experience the campus environment first hand.
Involving and supporting families and carers in CEIAG provision (B1.6)
QCS highlights the need to involve parents in the process and many universities can provide support in this area too, for example, offering sessions on topics such as UCAS, student finance, study skills and options talks during events which include parents evenings.
Making the most of working with universities
In order to gain maximum benefit for you and your students when engaging with universities, ensure that the sessions are embedded appropriately within a subject area or school careers programme, and not just used as a bolt-on. Engage with a range of providers to offer an insight for students into a number of different universities. Finally, consider how best to prepare learners and think about the follow-up from the activity and how the learning can be used to support future teaching or individual learners’ career planning.
How to find out what university events and opportunities are out there?
In the first instance, you can search events or request events using UniTasterDays or by contacting the university Education/Schools Liaison Team directly if you have a specific university in mind. In most cases, details of the programme of activity for schools and colleges, including how to book, should be available on university websites.
Good quality CEIAG is critical for the successful futures of our young people – surely none of us would deny the importance of that. Much has been achieved, but there is also much more to be done. The key message here is that you are not alone in this work. Building capacity will only be achieved by effectively engaging with key stakeholders - including higher education providers.