The Importance of Employer Engagement
Research suggests that there is a clear need for schools and colleges to embrace a broader range of employer engagement activities. Strategic approaches to employer engagement will recognize that one size does not fit all and that engagement activities are relevant across various levels of education. As survey data clearly shows, approaches which combine careers exploration, hands-on learning experiences and first-hand experience of working environments are likely to optimize outcomes. K-64 sets a high value on employer engagement as a means of providing young people with access to reliable information which has the potential to influence thinking and behavior.
There is a widespread view that employer engagement enhances attainment primarily through improving motivation, and also that young people are able to make more informed decisions at ages 14, 16 and 18 if they are able to relate their educational choices to understanding of employment opportunities and the demands of recruiters. Evidence is compelling that school-mediated employer engagement does enhance the school-to-work transitions of young people: the more they have the better, in the early labor market: hence the high value of multiple, short, career-focused interventions.
Where pupils are particularly disengaged from education, there is clear support for more intensive exposures to the working world through mentoring, extended work experience or work-related learning educational programs. For higher achievers, evidence is strong that personalized use of employer engagement can help secure access to the most competitive undergraduate courses. Here, young people often need to demonstrate insight into careers related to their courses of study and the advantages of post-16 job shadowing become clear.
Types of Employer Engagement
- work experience placements and related activities (job shadowing, part-time working and pupil volunteering)
- career talks, career networking and mock interviews
- workplace visits
- business mentoring
- enterprise competitions
- curriculum enrichment and real-world resources (including work-related learning qualifications).
- increased engagement and attainment
- improved transitions from education to work
The Role of K-64
Catawba County has many employer engagement activities already in action. These include:
- Job Shadowing
- Career and College Promise
- Reverse Job Fairs
- Education Matters Extreme STEM Tours
The role of K-64 is to inventory these activities and support expansion of access for employers and students. Many of our existing programs are limited in scope and size due to a lack of funding, staffing, or business sponsorship. K-64 can insure that all employers and citizens have equal access to these opportunities while providing a roadmap to career opportunities with multiple entry and exit points.