The 2017 DfE Careers Strategy sets out that every further education institution should use the Gatsby Charitable Foundation’s Benchmarks to develop and improve their careers provision. The Gatsby Benchmarks are not a statutory framework but by adopting them, the EKC Group can be confident of meeting the actions set out in the Careers Strategy: making the most of everyone’s skills and talents, DfE December 2017.
From September 2018, every college will have a nominated Careers Leader who has the commitment and backing from their senior leadership team, to deliver the careers programme across all eight Gatsby Benchmarks. Every college will be asked to name this Careers Leader. (Statutory Guidance, DfE January 2018)
A successful careers guidance programme will be reflected in higher numbers of students progressing to positive destinations such as apprenticeships, technical routes, university or employment. Destination measures provide clear and comparable information on the success of the EKC Group in helping all of their students undertake qualifications that offer them the best opportunity to start their chosen career.
To ensure we are meeting the requirements of our students and statutory expectations, the EKC Group is committed to providing high quality IAG, careers education and careers guidance. Both the strategy and accompanying action plan are available on the EKC Group website to chart progress against the Gatsby Benchmarks.
This document outlines the EKC Group’s CEIAG Strategy that has been devised in response to the rationale above. It has five main headings:-
The purpose of CEIAG at the EKC Group is to support students to make realistic and well informed decisions about their choices and futures within the context of a college environment which will raise their aspirations; help prepare them for life intellectually, morally, socially and financially; encouraging participation in Higher Education; developing enterprise and employability skills and responding to the needs of each individual student.
Our aim is that all students will leave the EKC Group with the skills and knowledge required to support their entry to apprenticeship routes, higher education or employment. 2 This strategy builds on the national requirements for careers, enterprise and work related learning and is tailored in line with the above ethos and direction of the EKC Group. It supports the goals of the EKC Group Strategic Plan:-
To drive educational change with the communities we serve
To provide exceptional learning opportunities
To achieve outstanding outcomes for students and employers
In order to ensure effective delivery of careers provision we want to ensure that all staff support students in their career exploration and planning. All staff have a role to play in ensuring students have a well rooted understanding of their strengths and the progression pathways open to them. CEIAG is seen as a whole EKC Group responsibility, shared by all staff and demands a comprehensive approach which permeates the whole curriculum. As such, areas are expected to incorporate links with employers and employability skills in the delivery of every programme.
Each College / Business Unit will have a nominated Careers Lead who can liaise with the Executive Director of Student Experience and Wellbeing, the appointed Careers Lead to offer a consistent CEIAG approach across the EKC Group.
The governing body will be appraised at least annually on the CEIAG offer and developments around CEIAG. Destination Data will be discussed.
The EKC Group is committed to funding L6 CEIAG qualifications for staff with responsibility for CEIAG across the local curriculum, each college will have at least one member of staff qualified or working towards by January 2019. The EKC Group is also committed to rigorous quality assurance procedures to ensure that CEIAG is meeting the demands of Government guidelines and has been accredited with the Matrix standard. An action plan will be developed and reviewed each year by the executive member responsible for the EKC Group strategy for CEIAG.
Evidence suggests that a mixed delivery model is most effective in meeting students’ needs with integration of career learning into Study Programmes through: embedded lessons, reflection and support from mentors and enrichment activities for impact including social action, encounters with a wide range of employers and access to information, advice and guidance from student support teams.
An annual overview of the EKC Group Careers Programme can be found in Appendix A.
Collaboration with apprenticeship, community partners and higher education providers, and with businesses are all important in helping equip students with the knowledge, skills and behaviours for career success. They can bring additional expertise and insight into each college and motivate and inspire students to see where different choices can take them in the future.
The EKC Group has very strong links with the business and enterprise community. Many of our partners help us improve employability skills further by through giving talks, work experience placements, attendance at conferences and developing ‘real-life’ project briefs.
Measuring the impact of the careers programme is critical to ongoing development and success. The EKC Group recognises that this must be done in a robust way and will seek to formalise monitoring and evaluation of the internal service to customers. This will draw on feedback from staff, stakeholders and students and focus on the critical development of skills for success and positive progression. The EKC Group will look to maintain the external validation of its provision through the Matrix Standard involving a systematic review of provision and targeted approach to development.
The College closely monitors the progression routes of students which feeds back into the CEIAG action plan. The data is displayed by relevant programme areas which helps to raise the aspirations of current students by inspiring them and giving them ideas of their future steps.
The College receives annual UCAS reports which break down the data into categories that allow the EKC Group to monitor progression of students across high – low tariff universities, understanding the high-level breakdown of subject areas applied for.
In the 2014-15 academic year, we saw an introduction of an Employability Skills self-assessment, aimed at all HE students. The data informs us of how well equipped the students feel and how we can address their needs further.
Student voice is an important part of monitoring the careers provision and students are asked for feedback on 1-1 interventions with the student support teams. This is supported by twice-yearly student experience walks. Student feedback will be considered on a thematic basis through the internal Office for Student Affairs to inform future practice.
It will be as important to collect feedback from other stakeholders such as parents, carers, employers and the internal voice of curriculum staff in the design and delivery of careers information and guidance. This will be gathered though adding specific questions to relevant surveys.