National Careers Week 2022 Launch Day

On Monday 7 March 2022, the launch event for National Careers Week took place in Newcastle at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. It was great to welcome the event to the North East for the first time and to celebrate the amazing work of schools, further education & higher education providers, training providers and employers across the amazing North East region. The event was wonderfully organised by our amazing colleagues at the North East LEP who have really led the way in driving careers education across the area.

With the event being held in my home region, it was a privilege to be able to attend the event for the first time. Not only that, but I was also delighted to be invited to speak at the event, representing Southmoor Academy, in front of over 200 people in the room and many more watching virtually online.

The day started with networking over coffee, and it was extremely welcoming to be able to network with colleagues in person, some of whom I’ve only even met through a screen! It was also great to speak to some colleagues who I have not seen since before the pandemic.

The actual event started with a welcome from Lucy Winskell, Chair of the North East LEP and a message from Alex Burghart, MP and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education. Alex confirmed what we already know that good career guidance can inspire young people and help them excel in their chosen area. This was followed by short presentations by the key sponsors: Sandra Beattie, Talent Acquisition Lead Early Career and Academic Partnership at NatWest Group, and Laura Watkins, Multiprofessional Careers Programme Coordinator at Health Education England.

Victoria Sutherland, Head of Evidence at the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, to talk about the importance of understanding LMI. Victoria explained how LMI helps to change what information young people encounter and give a more complete picture. Following this, Careers Leaders from primary, secondary, further education and the National Careers Service took part in a panel. First up, was Morpeth Road Primary Academy, who also brought two young students aged 10 and 11 up onto the stage to explain what they had learned so far. I was delighted to get involved in this panel to represent secondary education and was asked to explain how at Southmoor we think LMI is important and how we ensure that we give students the opportunity to engage with LMI in school to support careers decisions. Following this, a video was shown of some of our Year 10 and 12 students talking about how they use LMI and how our school is supporting them to make careers decisions. This was filmed last week in school, and it was the first time I had seen what the students had said. It was wonderful and so proud of our amazing students. Newcastle College explained how they use LMI as part of a new project with the National Careers Service based at the College.

Sarah Glendinning, Regional Director of the CBI, invited a further panel of Careers Leaders and their respective Enterprise Advisors to the stage to talk more about how employers can help the next generation begin their careers and how employers and education can work together to strengthen careers guidance.

Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director, and Neil Willis, Regional Lead: Education Challenge at the North East LEP next invited a group of colleagues to the stage to share the impact of some of the exciting projects that are taking place around the North East to ensure that young people understand the opportunities that are on offer to them. This section also gave the opportunity to understand how good careers guidance has an impact on transforming pupils’ outcomes which can broaden horizons and raise aspirations.

The final panel was led by Ellen Thinnesen, Chief Executive of Education Partnership North East, and Chair of the Skills Advisory Panel. This section was dedicated to exploring employability skills. Ellen emphasised the importance of equipping young people with a combination of skills which are needed to meet future demands. Ellen also talked about ensuring that we understand the changing nature of skills and that it is important for young people to be prepared for jobs that we don’t even know exist yet. Castle View Enterprise Academy discussed the emphasis they are placing on skills throughout their curriculum, along with two apprentices, one from our Enterprise Advisor partner SETA, who talked about the importance of equipping young people with skills for different jobs that will exist in the future.

The event concluded with a presentation from Chris Richardson, Deputy Director, Service Delivery, Government Business Services who reflected on the morning’s events, followed by a closing summary and reflections by Rosey Stuart, who thanked everyone for making a commitment to making the lives of young people in the UK better and more successful.

The event was a wonderful occasion to hear from some truly inspirational speakers and also to demonstrate the true passion for careers education in the North East. It was a pleasure to attend and a delight to be invited to speak as part of the panel and to represent our school and everything we are doing to shine a spotlight on high quality careers education.

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