The difference between being dragged or pulled and being pushed is not just a semantic one. We all know and have worked with people who need one or the other, it isn’t often that you meet an individual who needs both. The same can’t be said of organisations or leadership teams where to sell your worth or project you need to be equally adept at doing both.
It sounds silly to say but there is often a huge gap between what schools think employers want and what employers think schools can provide or how they operate. This is doubly strange when you frame this around Gatsby Benchmark 5 and the need for schools to provide encounters with employers and employees.
I was standing in front of a mirror in an ill-fitting suit, repeatedly sticking my hand out while practicing, ‘hello, my name’s Michael I’m very pleased to meet you’. Back then I was a rather unconfident young man, floppy hair and pimpled. I was about to participate in my first and only ‘mock-interview’, to be held in the shadows of Chester Cathedral at the Northgate Street offices of Barclays Bank. I can still feel the pangs of anxiety as I rang the bell and waited for a George Banks type figure to open the door. The finals words of advice from my mother ringing loud in my head, like one of the nearby Cathedral bells…’remember to shake their hand, shake it firmly’.
The aim of any careers programme should be to create provision that is tailored to fit the needs of each individual student. It might not be possible to create a wholly bespoke programme but we should make it easier for each student to have a programme that feels as much about them as individuals as it does about their peers. If they don’t feel involved then they don’t have ownership – this is why getting benchmark 3 right might just be the key to the success to your whole strategy.
The impact of COVID-19 on young people shouldn’t be understated; it will be several years before we fully understand the effects. What we do know is that young people need the help and support of Careers educators now more than ever before. They need us in understanding ever changing job markets and new recruitment practices as well as revisiting the universal skills that are still required to have successful careers. Outstanding leadership remains the constant factor in embedding this provision and delivering impact.