The South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership has now
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To stay updated on the latest economic developments throughout the region, we encourage you to visit the South East Midlands Growth Hub. The SEM Growth Hub also provides free business advice and guidance to all businesses, manages funding and grant programmes and has an extensive resource library where businesses can find additional support.

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Companies and classrooms collaborate to enrich curriculum and career choices

5 June 2023

Group of people standing in a line wearing yellow high visibility jackets and blue hard hats. Standing underneath a dramatic grey, cloudy sky. Teacher Encounters at Kier

New initiative connects teachers to employers to bring skills and workplace experience into classrooms

Teachers from across the county are set to benefit from a new national pilot programme that boosts collaboration with local businesses and improve young people’s careers choices.

The Careers & Enterprise Company’s (CEC) Teacher Encounters programme is engaging local businesses including companies such as Kier, Travis Perkins, the Co-op and the NHS, able to offer teachers tours of work places, industry experiences and practical activities.

The Teacher Encounters programme will bring subject teachers directly into the careers conversation. The new initiative responds to teachers’ views about training available and recognises that teachers are a key source of career inspiration for students.

They will work together with local businesses to:

  • Develop a deeper understanding of local jobs - including the routes in like apprenticeships - and the skills required in the world of work.
  • Pursue teachers’ interests by exploring ways of enriching the curriculum; connecting learning in lessons to how it is applied in the workplace.
  • Build a shared understanding of the similarities and differences between school and work life.

The South East Midlands pilot programme is running between May and July this year and will link around 35 local teachers to local employers. The programme is supported by Pathways CTM.

The first cohort of teachers visited Kier, the UK construction, property and civil engineering company at their site at Luton and Dunstable Hospital on 11 May.

Isobel Taylor, Strategic Hub Lead for the South East Midlands Careers Hub, said: “Getting the right skills and talent is a priority for every business. Participation in the Teachers Encounters programme is another brilliant way for firms of all sizes and sectors to step up and take action to help ensure tomorrow’s workforce are informed and inspired about careers in business.”

The Teacher Encounters programme builds on policy proposals for careers awareness training for all teachers in the Government’s Skills for Jobs (January 2021) and Schools (March 2022) White Papers. Proposals echoed by Lord Blunkett’s recent Learning and Skills Report (October 2022).

  • Research by The Sutton Trust shows that nationally, nearly nine in ten teachers (88%) feel their training doesn’t currently prepare them to deliver careers support to students.
  • A report by PLMR shows while 70 per cent of teachers agree apprenticeships provide excellent future opportunities, only 26 per cent feel confident advising students about how to find an apprenticeship. In contrast, when it comes to university applications, 90 per cent feel confident giving advice.
  • Evidence from two early pilots in Oxfordshire and Berkshire show support among teachers for Teacher Encounters. They say they help them improve their understanding of the range of jobs and routes into the workplace of today. They also help them bring that insight into how they teach their subjects, linking classroom learning to workplace skills.

The South East Midlands Careers Hub is seeking more volunteers from local businesses to ‘Give an Hour’ and support careers activities across the region’s schools and colleges. More information about how businesses can get involved in shaping careers learning in schools, and more about Teachers Encounters, can be found on the Careers Hub section of our site or contact: careershub@semlep.com

Further information 


1. Evidence shows Teacher Encounters benefit teachers, students and business

Emerging evidence from two small-scale pilot projects in Oxfordshire and Berkshire last year shows the benefits to teachers, young people and business from Teacher Encounters.

In Oxfordshire:
• 85% of teachers in the pilot said they had learned a lot about the kinds of jobs and career opportunities in the area; 77% said they would bring local job market insights into how they taught their subject and more than half (54%) said they had more confidence engaging local employers.
• Year 8 students reported a greater increase in motivation in subjects covered by the programme compared to other subjects.

In Berkshire:

• 100% of teachers said they had found out about different roles and pathways into the business, often meeting apprentices and staff who had not pursued academic routes. As a consequence teachers were more likely to agree that engaging with employers helps students make informed decisions about their future career.
• 82% of Year 10 students said the programme had a positive impact on their understanding of jobs and careers, 77% said it had influenced thoughts about future careers and 60% said it helped them make specific plans after Year 11.

Employers in both programmes welcomed the opportunity to build partnerships with local schools, fulfilling CSR and ESG commitments. They said they achieved wide reach to young people through engaging with teachers and expected this to bolster their talent pipeline in the future.

2. How it the Teacher Encounter programme work?

The Teacher Encounters pilot programme will be driven by the Careers & Enterprise Company’s national network of Careers Hubs. They will be awarded dedicated funding for specific projects that engage their network of schools, colleges and employers.

3. About The Careers & Enterprise Company and Careers Hubs

The Careers & Enterprise Company is the national body for careers education in England.

It supports schools and colleges to deliver modern, 21st century careers education that helps every young person to find their best next step.

Careers Hubs bring together schools, colleges, employers, and apprenticeship providers in local areas across England. Schools and colleges in Careers Hub improve their careers programmes and secure better long-term outcomes for young people.

Hubs offer schools and colleges dedicated support from the local hub team and facilitate partnerships with key employers committed to improving careers across an area. Careers Leaders can also access training and support through Hubs.

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