The Guild Programme – Appendix 2 – Employability Skills

1. I’ve called for the maintained sector to have the same freedoms over the national curriculum and their timetables as University Technical College and Studio Schools.

2. There is merit in adopting business hours timetables for the 14-18 hours. Its part of acclimatising students to the world of work and increases the time available to pursue options. The OFSTEAD regime needs to be reviewed in order to reduce administrative load on teachers over and above anything lost to an increase in contact time that such changes would mean.

3. CBI defines employability skills as

  • • Self-management
  • • Team working
  • • Business and Customer Awareness
  • • Problem solving
  • • Communication and Literacy
  • • Applications of numeracy
  • • Application of ICT

4. I have set out elsewhere, (Appendix 1),how I believe that the Maths & English GCSE need to be changed to in order to allow for a singular focus on employer definitions of communication, literacy and numeracy. These are things that can be taught and tested in traditional ways. The other employability skills are more problematic.

5. I argue in favour of a core vocational program for 14-16 year in the same way that we should have a core academic curriculum for GCSE’s.

6. The core vocational syllabus for Year 10 Students should set aside time for group and project work that is focussed on fostering self-management, teamwork, business/customer awareness problem solving and application of ICT. Both BTEC and City&Guilds could be commissioned to write that syllabus with these aims in mind along with the supporting teacher resources.

7. That would still leave time for the student to pursue options that have a vocational purpose but are not necessarily vocational in nature. For instance, there is some evidence of concerns amongst employers over the lack of foreign language skills amongst their staff. Some may choose to study a Foreign Language to enhance employability. A similar rationale may lay behind other students explicitly opting for ICT studies.
8. Recommendation 21 of the Wolfe report called on the models for work experience to be evaluated and the statutory requirement for the same to be removed.

9. Evidence taken by Wolfe suggests that schools had a hard time finding quality work experience placements for pupils in this age cohort. The notion has ‘had its day’ as far as Wolfe is concerned and the statutory requirement for all keystage 4 pupils to have work-related experience has now been dropped.

10. Schools weren’t the only ones who had problems with work experience. Some 31% of employers reported that there was a lack of guidance on how to make the work experience worthwhile. Other barriers, as far as business was concerned was the school timetable, the burden of work involved an and uncertainty on how best to approach schools

11. I see the traineeships that they are currently developing as a pre-apprenticeship programme that can foster the employability skills that both Holt and the CBI have called for. I do, however, stop short of restoring mandatory work experience.

12. In Year 11, core vocational program could be replaced with day release on a traineeship with a local employer which will look in particular at issues of self-management and attitudes to work. The local Guild faculty would be expected to organise these placements. These should remain optionally until such time as the quantity and quality of the placements can be assured. The core vocational program should therefore have a classroom based alternative for Year 11

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