For the past year, I have been fortunate to lead the East Sussex County Council Primary Careers Hub. It is a one year pilot funded by the Careers and Enterprise Company and East Sussex County Council. Our aim was to enable system-wide change in delivering careers related learning in the primary curriculum. It essentially aims to support schools and businesses in broadening horizons and raising aspirations for young people.
The pilot involved 23 East Sussex primary schools. Most were suburban, some urban and some rural. They were of a range of sizes and socio-economic contexts. They all had a strong commitment to developing their curriculum to incorporate careers related learning at every opportunity. All schools were represented by a ‘Careers Champion’ – someone with experience, with leadership qualities and with a good knowledge of the curriculum. These ‘Champions’ participated in monthly training sessions which allowed development of resources, sharing ideas, networking, and support from careers experts. With the onset of the Covid19 pandemic, training switched to an online format, with remote support as schools adjusted to home learning and a change in delivery of the curriculum. Many of the events planned in schools were postponed but a significant number of careers related learning events happened in the sixth months prior to lockdown and school closures.
A closing summary that identifies what we set out to achieve and how we met our key performance indicators is included here. A full report is available at www.careerseastsussex.co.uk along with a comprehensive set of free resources to support careers related learning and a set of 20 case studies that describe the range of events, approaches and outcomes at each of the schools involved. The full report also includes useful training documents, presentations, capacity audits, curriculum mapping templates and a memorandum of understanding.
As part of our work we also commissioned ten short films. These were designed to make links between the curriculum, essential employability skills and the ‘real world’ of work. Filming involved interviewing 16 employees from local businesses in East Sussex and asking them why certain skills were important in their role. Participants included ambulance dispatchers, game designers, paramedics, construction engineers, research scientists, museum and gallery education leads, operations and finance managers, and physiotherapists. Thanks to James Bloomfield of InBloom Video for filming and editing and to all the employers and employees who took part.
As the pilot closes and we reflect on our achievements, we are keen to share these resources and ideas with as many primary schools, prep schools, junior and infant schools around the world as possible. The case studies and the free resources will help any school get started. There has probably never been a more important time for children to learn about essential employability skills.
“Inspiring our children to aspire to great things remains our responsibility. Providing them with a ‘landscape of knowledge’ about the careers available to them will continue to reinforce the importance of everyday learning and create young people who have the confidence to pursue any goal they set for themselves.“Helen – Deputy Head, Seaford Primary, East Sussex
Once children see the connection between the curriculum and the real world, everything else will fall into place. It is never too late to start talking about careers related learning and children are never too young to find out about skills and be exposed to a range of careers to spark their imagination. Feel free to comment or get in touch to find out more about the pilot.
Primary Careers Hub Lead