Last week the BBC reported on a new programme to be launched in primary schools by the National Association of Head Teachers, which sees professionals ‘from apprentices to chief executives’ visiting the classroom to broaden the horizons of young learners up to the age of 11.
The full article can be read here but it is hoped that over 100,000 volunteers will pledge an hour per year to come in to talk to local state primary schools about their jobs and their route into work. The scheme known as ‘Primary Futures’ is an extension of the ‘Inspiring the Future’ programme that was set up 5 years ago and has recruited 13,500 volunteers to speak to secondary school pupils.
With such a huge focus at the moment on employer engagement as being a crucial element of careers provision for young people, this latest development perhaps raises more questions than it answers. Are we jumping the gun by shifting the focus onto a younger age group before we have grown it’s much more modest coverage at secondary school level? And, if a charity is proving so successful at recruiting such large numbers of volunteers into its scheme, then why is employer engagement within secondary schools and colleges such an ongoing battle? Is a large scale national strategy the answer, rather than relying on schools themselves to patch together provision?