Doceo Development Written evidence (EDU0084)

 

  1. Doceo is a social enterprise that equips students in years 9 – 13 with the employability skills they need to thrive after education. Our workshops, resources and social media tools give students a growth mindset to prepare them for the digital and green future of tomorrow.
  2. The focus of our submission is to update the Committee on the actions Doceo has taken in support of equipping young people with employability skills and provide recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the 11 – 16 curriculum. Our submissions follow the themes summarised below:

 

Collaborate and Partner with Organisations

 

  1. In our experience, we have found that there is a gap between the skills employers need today, the skills schools currently provide, and the skills students believe schools should provide. Partnering with organisations will allow the government to identify and bridge this skills gap in a cost-effective way. This would provide schools with access to specialist teaching resources to support the development of skills that are required in the modern economy.
  2. We recently conducted a survey with 14 students aged 11 – 16 from our Doceo community and found 35.7% of students agreed with the statement: “The current national curriculum for 11 - 16-year-olds has been effective in giving me the skills I need to progress into post-16 education and employment.”  42.9% neither agreed or disagreed with the statement while 14.3% and 7.1% disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement respectively.
  3. Further research from a study by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills has found that 78% of employers believe that working with schools can help provide young people gain skills relevant to the workplace (UKCES, 2015). Working with organisations can help provide insights into the skills that are currently in demand for school-leavers, as well as those that will be required in future for digital and green jobs. This creates an effective mechanism to ensure the 11-16 curriculum is aligned with workforce needs and provides students with the relevant employability skills and knowledge.
  4. Collaborating with organisations can provide students with networking opportunities that can lead to future employment prospects. This is particularly important for success in a digital and green economy where many jobs will be created by start-ups and small businesses. Collaboration can also give students the opportunity to apply classroom learning in a real-world context; further developing the employability skills and knowledge required for their future careers.
  5. Overall, collaborating and partnering with organisations allows the 11-16 curriculum to consistently be relevant, up-to-date, and aligned with industry needs. This reduces the skills gap currently faced by students and provides students with the best possible chance of success.

 

Incorporate Digital and Green Skills in the 11-16 Curriculum

  1. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, over 60% of young people who are currently in education will end up working in jobs that are yet to be created.
  2. Furthermore, the European Climate Foundation commissioned research from Ernst & Young (EY) into the global pipeline for renewable projects. The report found that the current pipeline in the UK includes 540 clean energy projects which will support 438,667 jobs. Approximately 135,000 jobs would be created in the North, Midlands, and East England, with a further 57,000 jobs set to be created in Scotland. The creation of these jobs will require students to have employability skills like commercial awareness, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and resilience.
  3. The digital and green sectors are expected to be key drivers of economic growth in the UK. Incorporating employability skills in the curriculum will provide young people with the skills they need to participate in these sectors and contribute to the economy.
  4. In our survey referred to in paragraph 4, we also asked students to rank several employability skills on a scale of 1 – 10 (1 being not important and 10 being very important). The following skills received a rating of 10 from our students:
  5. Our findings in paragraph 9, coupled with the fact that 35.7% of students believe the current 11-16 curriculum is effective in equipping students with skills relevant for a digital and green world, suggests there is a significant skills gap in the digital and green sectors. This will make it difficult for employers to find suitable candidates from the pool of school leavers.  Incorporating the skills identified above into the curriculum will help young people acquire the skills needed in these sectors, which will help to bridge the skills gap.
  6. Overall, employability skills should be incorporated into the curriculum to address the skills gap. Teachers should be provided with training to help them incorporate these skills in their teaching. Additionally, schools should partner with organisations to supplement learning with professional skills training for students.

 

Enhance Work Experience Opportunities

  1. Work experience allows young people to develop employability skills like teamwork, communication and problem-solving, which are highly valued by employers. Enhancing work experience opportunities can improve the effectiveness of the 11-16 curriculum by providing a practical learning experience to supplement classroom-based learning.
  2. Secondly, work experience helps young people make more informed career choices. Providing work experience during the 11-16 educative years helps students receive a realistic understanding of job roles, industries and working environments. This can help improve the transition from education to work; thus, increasing the effectiveness of the 11-16 curriculum. According to a study by the Education and Employers Taskforce, young people who had four or more encounters with employers while at school were 86% less likely to be unemployed or not in education or training (NEET).
  3. Additionally, work experience can provide young people with exposure to new technologies, including digital and green technologies, as they are developed in the workplace. This can help young people improve the digital and green skills developed in schools, which are critical to success in the future economy.
  4. According to a study by the Association of Graduate Recruiters, 43% of graduate employers used work experience placements as a means of identifying future recruits. As work experience typically helps students build networks and contacts in different industries, enhancing work experience opportunities can be valuable for future job searches and career progression.
  5. In summary, enhancing work experience opportunities can significantly improve the effectiveness of the 11-16 curriculum in equipping young people with the skills they need to progress into post-16 education and employment in a future digital and green economy.

 

Emphasise Practical Learning and Encouraging a Growth Mindset

  1. In addition to reforming the curriculum to include digital and green skills, partnering with organisations to support the delivery of employability skills, and enhancing work experience opportunities, encouraging a growth mindset is important in bridging the current skills gap faced in the economy.
  2. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, the top 10 skills needed for the future workforce in 2022 are:
  3. Cultivating a growth mindset, which is a belief in one’s ability to develop skills through effort and perseverance rather than natural ability, can equip students with the ability to be self-sufficient in upskilling for a digital and green future. According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, students with a growth mindset outperformed those with a fixed mindset. This suggests a curriculum that enforces a growth mindset can promote motivation, resilience, and a willingness to learn and improve; all of which are essential qualities for success in post-16 education and employment in the digital and green economy.
  4. In effect, practical learning and a growth mindset can improve the effectiveness of the 11-16 curriculum by allowing students to better develop the essential skills needed in the workforce of the future.

 

Recommendations

  1. The government should collaborate and partner with organisations to identify and bridge the skills gap between the current national curriculum and the skills required in a digital and green economy.
  2. The 11-16 curriculum should be reformed to incorporate employability skills identified by students and employers. This includes communication, emotional intelligence, teamwork, critical thinking, and problem solving, decision making, organisation and planning, commercial awareness, and creativity.
  3. Teachers should be trained by partner organisations to incorporate these employability skills in their teaching. Schools should also partner with organisations to supplement learning with professional skills training for students.
  4. Work experience opportunities should be enhanced to provide practical learning experiences that supplement classroom-based learning and help students make more informed career choices.
  5. The government should encourage an emphasis on a growth mindset in the 11-16 curriculum to promote motivation, resilience, and a willingness to learn and improve. This will equip students with essential qualities for success in post-16 education and employment in the digital and green economy.

 

2 May 2023

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