The government has launched a new careers programme for primary school children to encourage them to think about future jobs early, while nurturing aspirations and challenging stereotypes.
The Department for Education says that by linking lessons in an age-appropriate way to different careers, training and skills, the programme will “bring learning alive”, inspiring pupils about the world of work. It will also provide opportunities for pupils to meet employers and role models from a range of industries, helping to raise aspirations.
The £2.6 million primary school careers scheme will be rolled out across 55 disadvantaged areas of the country where school outcomes are the weakest. It will support more than 600,000 pupils in over 2,200 primary schools.
Robert Halfon, minister for skills, apprenticeships and higher education, said: “To deliver the future workforce that this country needs, it is essential that careers advice and work experience helps young people from all backgrounds to climb the ladder of opportunity.
“The changes we are making to boost our careers programme will raise ambitions from an early age for thousands of children in primary schools across the country, while providing opportunities to unlock talent, think about skills, engage with employers and discover different workplaces.”
From this month, older children will also benefit from strengthened careers advice through a change in the law that will see all year 8-13 pupils have at least six opportunities to meet providers of technical education. By hearing directly from training providers, pupils will get to understand the full range of opportunities available to them, including apprenticeships, T-levels and higher technical qualifications, not just a traditional academic route.
This builds on the requirement that every secondary school should offer their pupils at least one experience of a workplace by age 16 and a further work experience by age 18, giving them the opportunity to get a sense of the skills that are valued in the workplace to forge a great career.
The new primary school careers programme will be coordinated by The Careers & Enterprise Company, working with Teach First who will support primary school teachers to deliver the scheme to their pupils.
Oli de Botton, CEO of The Careers & Enterprise Company, said: “I know from my time as a headteacher how important it is to inspire young people about their future – raising their sights and dispelling stereotypes. Our new primary programme will bring careers inspiration to children early in their school life by connecting them with role models and showing them how different subjects relate to jobs.
“This programme will develop the skills of teachers to deliver career-related learning in lessons. It will help young people from disadvantaged communities explore the world of work in exciting and meaningful ways, raising aspirations and reducing barriers – encouraging children to dream big.”