Talkin’ bout a revolution

So far the year for careers guidance has been one of revolution and change, with a new government policy for CEIAG which includes the Baker Clause[i] allowing further education training provider’s greater access to students within schools. Alongside this we have seen a reinvigorated National Careers Week #NCW2018 and greater partnership working between key agencies within Kent, including the Careers Enterprise Company, Support for Schools (DWP) and ourselves; it is a world of change and transformation. 

With all of this high energy work, it is easy to overlook other areas of transformation within careers guidance and for our clients themselves, notably within the areas of apprenticeships and university applications. It is the former which, many of us are aware, with the continued roll out of the apprenticeship levy[ii] and events at a national and local level to support employers, potential apprentices, teachers and parents/carers with applying for and setting up apprenticeships[iii], including the forthcoming National Apprenticeship Show at the Detling Showground, Kent on the 20th and 21st March[iv] where CXK will be exhibiting and providing support. Such events help to promote a shared optimism and recognition with regards apprenticeships, recognising their place and importance within career development. In addition, these events help to highlight the numerous pre-apprenticeship pathways which are available, from school through to study programmes[v], helping our clients and students become ready for the work place. For anyone considering an apprenticeship we have put together this handout to help with their apprenticeship searching and applications.

Apprenticeships and School Leavers

A second, more subtle area of transformation that may have passed some students and teachers by is that of the Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) data (which we saw released several months ago). Many year 12 students in schools and colleges are now beginning to research and explore the potential pathways which higher education has to offer. These vary from School Leaver Schemes[i] (many of which now include higher and degree apprenticeships) through to traditional university pathways. To help them make an informed choice we encourage them to visit universities, attend taster events and explore league tables and data sets of various sorts, from the new TEF[ii] tables through to the KIS[iii] and traditional guides underpinned by the HEFCE related data[iv]. It is through the new LEO datasets, however, that we have a new source which fundamentally changes the landscape of the information which is available for students to use in making their decisions.

It has been a quiet revolution with many students having their assumptions gently challenged resulting in a growth of understanding. It has been through their independent careers advisers that many students have been introduced to this data. For several months now I have seen students use the multiple LEO datasets alongside the more traditionally available data, to make sense of possibilities. So what is it that has made this LEO data[v] so much more transformational?

LEO data is taken five years after graduation rather than the six months after graduation which other sources use. It is at five years after graduation whereby students have certain expectations (rightly or wrongly) on the return from their studies. Although there are several sites where this LEO data can be found, the most popular site is that hosted by Andy Gardner (co-author of the University Interviews Guide[vi], author of Informed Choices[vii] and all round career management guru). Found at the Central Careers Hub, Andy provides insightful interpretations of the data in his ‘explainer notes’ as well as crucial caveats; as the data is talking about students who graduated five years ago and lacking in ‘real time’ validity but not lacking in currency.

From using it with students in conjunction with the more traditional data sets, guiding students to read between the lines and analyse the differences between the data and the marketing provided by universities, has allowed students far more acuity with regards what the data represents than ever before. If you are helping students with their research, you can find our useful Higher Education handout here to support them.

It is indeed, a quiet revolution which I have observed in schools across Kent, yet one which is gaining momentum and threatens to become a far noisier revolution with far reaching consequences for higher education, the graduate job market, social mobility and the decision making processes of students. I look forward to similar accessible and student friendly longitudinal datasets becoming available in the future of those who take up apprenticeships, as it is in such data that there is nowhere to hide and truths which can be set free.    


Written by: Chris Targett

Monday 12th March 2018