Making it easier for educators to provide useful careers programmes for young people

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This week (4th July) F4S welcomed an independence day of a different kind, as we announced a major collaboration with The Careers & Enterprise Company to make it easier for educators to provide useful careers programmes for young people.

School leadership teams will be looking forward to the summer break more than ever, to enjoy the sunny weather and as respite from a very challenging year that meant balancing new curriculums, exam grading structures and much more.

‘Much more’ included the requirement, set out in the Government’s Careers Strategy, to appoint a dedicated careers lead and publish their local strategy on the school website by September 2018, shortly after the new term begins.

I believe the Government is right to raise standards on careers provision in schools and push for more focus, especially for England where it has been lacking for some time. I am also a supporter of increasing powers to The Careers & Enterprise Company, and organisation I helped to establish at the same time I was helping LinkedIn to scale up across markets, to make that happen.

It’s never been more important to help young people prepare for the world of work, so I welcome the opening up of collaborations that make this easier for educators, like the one we announced at the Annual Careers & Enterprise Company’s conference this week. [announcement here].

The great thing about this collaboration is that we sent one of our engineers to set up an Application Programming Interface (API) between our free-to-use platform and The Careers and Enterprise Company’s Tracker tool. This means that the thousands of educators who use our service don’t have to double report – everything they do on Founders4Schools and Workfinder platforms will show up on the CEC tracker automatically.

We also update our recommendations engine so that the guidance we give to educators is even more relevant to them in their school, and reflects other encounters that are taking place on other providers’ platforms. It’s like a guidance system to move them through the Gatsby benchmarks to great careers provision!

I have founded, invested and supported some amazing businesses during my career, and am passionate about technology solutions like this. Whether in the recruitment marketplace at LinkedIn or the housing market with Zoopla, applying technology to connect, collaborate and disrupt is what makes a step change happen. We are on the edge of a transformation for education, and I want to agitate like crazy to help teachers help young people to transition beyond school life in brilliant ways by connecting with business.

As Executive Chair for Founders4schools and Workfinder – two charities dedicated to eradicating the skills gap which is plaguing the competitive advantage of the UK and impacting future productivity – I am proud that to date we have helped educators to connect more than 130,000 young people with business leader volunteers – in more than 370,000 student employer encounters, and that our services are used by educators in every LEP and more than 300 Local Authorities.

So, how did this partnership develop? There were a number of stages:

  1. Research: We identified Cold Spots and pulled together research to find out which areas needed most focus.
  2. We created the BIGRI index, which classified the businesses from which we have volunteers according to their size, growth and location.
  3. Mapping – we then knew which areas could struggle to achieve our target 4 student-employer encounters per student*. This inspired us to introduce Student-Employee Encounters per 1,000 in our Local Authority reporting.
  4. Data – we introduced reporting to show at Local Authority, LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership), constituency and business level, the number of Student-Employer Encounters per 1000.
  5. We introduced Co-ordinator reports, for them to track which schools were achieving their Student-Employer Encounters targets.
  6. We then incorporated research from The Careers and Enterprise Company and collated that to improve the guidance we give to educators and specifically those encounters that make a contribution to achievement of GATSBY benchmarks.

*Four Student-Employer Encounters per student is crucial because research has shown this reduces the likelihood of young people becoming NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) by 86%.

I am completely aligned with The Careers and Enterprise Company in the focus on GATSBY benchmarks to create milestones for connected careers provision that truly makes a difference to student outcomes. We are now embedding Enabling Enterprise’s framework into the personalised recommendations educators receive when they subscribe to F4S learning platform.

We were delighted to announce this collaboration this week. It means that the thousands of educators who use our service don’t have to double report – everything they do on Founders4Schools and Workfinder platforms can be reported to and show up on Tracker – without the educator needing to lift a finger.

I’m sure that will be very welcome come September.

 

To talk about MORE COLLABORATIONS LIKE THIS, contact me on sherry.coutu@founders4schools.org.uk

The Careers & Enterprise Company and Founders4Schools join forces to simplify careers provision for schools

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The Careers & Enterprise Company and Founders4Schools join forces to simplify careers provision for schools

(London, Wednesday 4 July 2018): The Careers & Enterprise Company, established to provide high impact careers support to young people, and award-winning GovTech charity Founders4Schools (F4S) have joined forces in a pilot project to help schools using both services benefit from employer engagement more easily. F4S Founder and Chairman Sherry Coutu CBE delivered a talk at the event transcribed below:

Introduction

I’m Sherry Coutu – an economist turned computer programmer turned entrepreneur, investor, mother and philanthropist.  I am chair of Founders4schools and Workfinder, which are two charities dedicated to eradicating the skills gap which is plaguing the competitive advantage of the UK and elsewhere.

To date, we have helped educators to connect more than  130,000 young people our volunteers – in more than 370,000 student employer encounters, and our services are used by educators in every LEP and more than 300 Local Authorities.  We use technology common in other industries to benefit educators and students here- our learning platform gives any educator who uses our services a ‘GATSBY GPS system’ so they know how to help their students the most.

We are a charity that was founded before CEC existed, but instead of being crowded out by them, we, and the educators, career leaders who use our services have benefited.

I go back a long time on collaboration, in fact, my thesis at Harvard Business school in 1993 was on strategic alliances in high tech firms.  Ever since then, I’ve practiced collaboration and forged strategic alliances and so was very pleased to be asked to talk about the deepening of our collaboration today by Claudia.

I thought I might go back to when I first was speaking to Lord Young about his idea to form CEC and passport – this was several years back when I as an advisor to LinkedIn, helping them roll out across nations, but in particular, helping introduce their API to the developer community in London.

VISION

I was a big advocate of CEC being formed and was pleased when then appointed

LEADERSHIP

And I was pleased when I first spoke with Christine and very much on her mind was getting the Chief Executive appointed.

EXECUTION – enter Claudia Harris, freshly poached from Mckinsey, here to lead

What follows is the story of how our partnership developed.

First Research:   Cold Spots – this was really helpful at pulling together all the research to find out which areas needed the most focus.

→ this inspired me to devise the BIGRI index, which classified the businesses we have volunteers from according to their size, growth and location – so e could map the cold-spots in the UK so we could see where it might be hardest to achieve our 4 student-employer encounters per student.

→ in inspired us to introduce Student-Employer Encounters per 1000 in our local authority reporting

First Funding:  

We introduced LEP reporting, to supplement our constituency and local authority reporting.

We introduced Coordinator reports so that the coordinators could keep track of which schools were achieving their Student Employer Encounters

Research they commissioned & collated on quality of encounters-

  • Inspired us to improve the guidance we gave to educators who used our services and to
  • introduce guidance as to which of the encounters that were available over our services made a contribution to which of the GATSBY benchmarks.

Their introduction to us of Enabling Enterprise spawned that partnership, and we now embed Enabling Enterprise’s framework into the personalised recommendations educators receive when they subscribe to our free learning platform.

Today I’m really pleased to finally be announcing an integration with Tracker, having worked with their team and given them one of my engineers to get their API up and running – just as I used to do for Linkedin 6-7 years ago.  The reason I am so excited about this is it means that the thousands of educators who use our service don’t have to double-report – everything they do on Founders4Schools and Workfinder platforms, can be reported to CEC and show up on the CEC tracker – without the educator needing to lift a finger.

Furthermore, assuming we are given permission by the educator to know where they currently stand on GATSBY, we can update our recommendation engine so that the guidance we give to educators also reflects other encounters that are taking place on other providers platforms

O-Auth transformed a fragmented tech industry some time ago in SV – its nice to see these lessons applied in the UK – our children and grand-children deserve the best, and our educators need all the tools and training in their tools to do the job that only they can do – freeing them of admin hassle is excellent and giving them the worlds’ best guidance whenever the need it (because they are not experts) is a must.  A pleasure to be here with you today – can’t wait to see what we do together in the coming three years –

Let’s move the dots now that they are joined up….

CEC & F4S Tracker Intergration Demo Video

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5th International Conference on Employer Engagement in Education and Training

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With just a week to go before the 5th International Conference on Employer Engagement in Education and Training, I have been reflecting on the urgent need to Equip the future workforce with the skills to enable them to work with, not compete with, technology solutions in the jobs market.   

That’s why I’m delighted to be presenting at the Education and Employers conference (taking place in London on 5 & 6 July) when we will be debating employer engagement and training relative to skills in the context of social mobility, the fourth industrial revolution and the future of the youth labour market.

I want you to engage in this debate NOW.

The Industrial Strategy White Paper, launched on 27 November 2017, presents the UK with an opportunity for purposeful growth backed by significant investment. Couple this with the challenges facing the implementation of new T Levels and the likely shortfalls in the number of apprenticeships, we must build alliances across Government, business and social enterprise urgently.

That’s why we are working in partnership with enterprises like Barclays, The Prince’s Trust and Rolls Royce through the Inclusive Economy Partnership (IEP) and elsewhere.

Founders4Schools celebrated its 3rd birthday as a charity earlier this month. The work of Education and Employers has guided us along the way. Research in 2017 by Professor Anthony Mann et. al. found that just four encounters with business leaders render a child 86% less likely to become NEET (not in employment, education or training) beyond school-age years.

We are an GovTech charity dedicated to improving the life chances of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who lack access to professional role models, by connecting them to business leaders.

This focus has meant that 94% of students who have met business leaders via F4S tell us they are inspired, and their teachers report they are three times more likely to go on to consider studying a STEM subject.

Business leaders are amazing because they encourage students, particularly girls, to get interested in STEM subjects, help them understand local jobs markets, and enable personalised guidance towards 140 hours of work experience. Our extensive range of services focus on those places where young people are likely to receive free school meals and can’t rely on parental networks to make the right connections.

So, I am excited to be presenting alongside Professor Mann on Day Two of the conference.

During my talk I will focus on the Government’s Industrial Strategy and its potential to form partnerships between education and business.

I will show how F4S uses data feeds from the government and commercial services like LinkedIn and Duedil, as well as AI and machine learning to give personalised advice and guidance to teachers which maps to all the Gatsby benchmarks and allows them to progress through all these in record time.

I will demonstrate how these same principles underlie the personalised recommendations given to students from disadvantaged backgrounds when they use Workfinder. Workfinder is our app which enables young people to access 140 hours of varied and meaningful work experience by the time they are 18 years of age.

I will show how, with the aid of AI enhanced technologies like F4S and Workfinder, robots are actually creating employable people rather than ‘eating their jobs’.

Finally, I will bring to life real experiences of how we have made a difference in communities. For example, Stirling Council was faced with accelerating changes to the local labour market. By talking directly to head teachers, within weeks 90% of students in the local authority had met at least 1 employer in their classrooms. The Council is now recommending Workfinder, targeted at students who can’t rely on parents’ networks to help.

There’s so much to discuss. Please come along and join in the conversation.

The 5th International Conference on Employer Engagement in Education and Training, 2018, will be held on 5th and 6th July, at The BEIS Conference Centre, London Westminster. You can purchase tickets Here.