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