If enthusiasm can help to improve the career prospects of young people, then Munya Badze from Kent County Council is in a good place. His passion and drive came through very clearly when he came to talk to us yesterday about his work with schools.
For a number of years Munya helped connect young people with the workplace through an organization called The Careers and Enterprise Company. Since October 2016 Munya has continued such work as a Kent County Council employee (the Careers and Enterprise Company still pay part of his salary).
Munya’s current project is called the Enterprise Adviser Network. Its concept is simple: get schools and businesses to work together. The rationale is also simple: the more exposure youngsters have to employers, the better their career prospects (see Reference 1).
The Enterprise Adviser Network aims is to link secondary schools with the real ‘world of work’. Key to this is a set of research-backed ‘Gatsby Benchmarks’ that “define world-class career guidance” [for schools]. These are: 1. a stable careers programme; 2. learning from career and labour market information; 3. addressing the needs of each pupil; 4. linking curriculum learning to careers; 5. encounters with employers and employees; 6. experiences of workplaces; 7. encounters with further and higher education and 8. personal guidance.
Despite carrying out a variety of careers activities, many schools have not formalised this and developed a career strategy. This is set to change following publication last December of the Department of Education guide “Careers strategy: making the most of everyone’s skills and talents”, which lays out the government’s plan for raising the quality of careers provision in England. Schools now need to develop a programme of careers education / guidance that meets Gatsby Benchmarks and they need to ensure that all young people are receiving at least one encounter a year with an employer.
A key part of the Department of Education’s Statutory Guidance for schools – is that careers education (which is now assessed by OFSTED) should start younger than before – namely at year 7 (11-12 year olds).
As an Enterprise Coordinator, Munya’s main task is facilitation. It’s his role to bring schools and businesses together to focus on careers and his responsibilities are six-fold:
- Being a contact for school senior leaders
- Supporting the development of the school’s strategy around skills and employability
- Helping schools with achieving all eight Gatsby Goals
- Helping schools identify activities which engage students with the world of work
- Using their networks to bring in support for an activity
- Supporting the school to measure and report impacts.
There are around 130 people like Munya nationally; together they work with more than 50% of the country’s secondary schools. In Kent there are two people with the Enterprise Coordinator role – Munya, and another colleague who looks after West Kent. Between them they cover 47 secondary school (including two colleges of further education).
Standing in front of a screen that states: “Exposing children to different careers ensures children are not limited to thinking they were only capable of certain jobs”, Munya told us that the scheme undertakes many career-related activities. In one picture Munya showed a training event in Ashford where business insiders gave talks to youngsters about careers. In another he described a two-stage event (titled FSB Skills 30:30 - as in Federation for Small Businesses), where in stage 1 youngsters listen to talks, while in stage 2 they take active part in some fun ‘speed networking’ (i.e. talking 1:1 with representatives from different businesses to learn about different jobs).
The Careers & Enterprise Company is funded by the Department of Education, and is match funded by Local Enterprise Partnerships or Local Authorities.
Supported by Enterprise Advisers (senior leaders who are volunteers from business), the Enterprise Adviser Network also helps schools develop a Career Strategy – something that schools haven’t always done in the past.
Munya has found that the scheme is already beginning to get traction from schools; he is also finding more businesses to work with schools. His aim now is two-fold: to grow the network, and to get more business people to help.
In looking out for businesses to take part in the scheme Munya’s not just looking out for the big names that everyone is familiar with. He pointed out that small and medium-sized businesses can also play a very important role – and given that over 90% of businesses in Canterbury fall in this category, these businesses are very important – they have less bureaucracy than larger companies, and it’s easier to build relationships with key individuals such as Senior Managers.
The benefits to schools and students are obvious – but what do businesses gain by taking part in the scheme? Firstly, the scheme can help them fill their skills gap. It provides a good way for businesses to recruit or gain interest from future members of staff. Secondly, it helps businesses to meet their corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments. And thirdly, it also helps staff development. For instance, staff gain presentation skills that they might not otherwise gain.
Another benefit for businesses is that the scheme helps boost staff morale. This is also true for individuals from outside the workplace that participate in the scheme. Even retired individuals can play an important role e.g. they can serve as Enterprise Advisers or they can spend time with students in school, taking part, for instance, in speed networking or mentoring activities.
Munya seems to get great pleasure from working with youngsters. Nevertheless, he is sometimes surprised by what he hears. He recalled careers activities at a primary school in Maidstone last year in which children heard from a variety of people about their jobs. Last to speak to the 8-9 year olds was one of the teachers. Surprisingly, none of the children had thought of the teacher’s role as a ‘job’ for which they got paid – and in a rather sweet comment, one youngster remarked: “We just thought you loved us!”
The scheme is funded until 2020, but ultimately the political climate will affect its ongoing work.
For further information about The Careers and Enterprise Company click here.
Read a previous article about our involvement with the scheme here.
Picture: Munya Badze talking to Members of our Club. Picture credit: Rotary Club of Canterbury.
Reference 1. The Careers & Enterprise Company. (PDF format). https://www.careersandenterprise.co.uk/sites/default/files/uploaded/sme-leaflet.pdf