Qualifications that take pupils from the classroom to a career

By: Lucy Thompson

Product Manager

Friday 27 October 2017

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I recently attended the Schools, Students and Teacher Network (SSAT) Annual Lecture where the discussion was centred on how well we’re preparing pupils for the future world of work. CACHE Associate Director, Julie Hyde, was amongst the panel members conducting an insightful debate on the findings of the Taylor Review and how it should be the responsibility of us all, not just the government, to ensure that we support our pupils to navigate the complex landscape that lays before them.

Issues around political matters, such as Brexit and the growing “gig” economy, now exist that many of us didn’t have to anticipate when we were 16 years old. The next 5-10 years involves significant change in workers’ rights and freedom of movement which may impact upon the career prospects of current and future school-age pupils. How does someone prepare themselves for a future of such unprecedented uncertainty? To echo the esteemed SSAT Panel member’s unilateral comments, the answer lies in resilience and agility.

We must support our pupils to develop the skills to succeed - skills which enable them to not only perform a job role, but also with transferable skills that make them agile in the face of change, able to communicate effectively and to have the ability to apply those skills to new situations.

Technical education, which embodies these ideas of practical, transferable and tangible skills, coupled with traditional academic education, will provide pupils with a solid foundation of knowledge from which to tackle this brave new world.   

My personal appreciation of just how powerful it can be to consider real scenarios to support learning, wasn’t realised until I began my own MBA at University, some 10 years ago. Suddenly statistics weren’t just numbers I was able to manipulate through calculation - they represented opportunities, money, people and jobs. This experience leads me to wholeheartedly believe that we should be arming pupils from a young age with real and practice experiences that can make learning more concreate and relatable.

As Schools Product Manager at NCFE, I visit schools around the North East who deliver our V Certs in an effort to understand more about how we can help them to maximise their pupils’ achievement potential. We understand how important it is to provide robust exemplar materials and improved qualification assessment methods, and to facilitate a supportive and collaborative network.

At NCFE we’re committed to creating high-quality, practical qualifications that equip our pupils for the world of work. We are passionate about creating a learning journey that supports an individual’s development and gives them the knowledge and skills they’ll need to succeed in their chosen career paths.

Ultimately, we should be encouraging our young people to try things and appreciate real world issues throughout their education. School should not be about limiting choices and forcing everyone to ‘fit’ into a prescriptive academic learning model, but an environment in which to stimulate a pupil’s interest and excitement in the world that lays before them. 

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