Report

Employer Engagement in Education and Training – What the research tells us

This publication presents contributions from the 2018 International Conference on Employer Engagement in Education and Training. The conference brought together delegates and speakers from around the world, sharing perspectives on employer engagement in education and training. The conference was the fifth hosted by Education and Employers, the fourth by the Edge Foundation and the second joint event by the two organisations. The event was made possible through the generous support of the Edge Foundation, the Commercial Education Trust (CET), the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC), the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Centre for Vocational Education and Research (CVER).

The eight contributors featured here were invited by the editors to summarise insights from their conference papers.

The collection begins with an important and timely contribution by Fettes, Evans and Kashefpakdel ‘Putting skills to Work: It’s not so much the What, or even the Why, but How…’ This mixed methods research builds on previous work by Evans, Guile and Harris (2008) and highlights the complexity of the sometimes taken for granted assumption of “skills transfer”. Whilst employers constantly highlight the need for young people to enter the labour market with the necessary employability skills, however interpreted, transferring skills learnt within the education context to workplace contexts is not a straightforward matter. The research conceptualises transfer as a “continuous and transformative process” requiring the support of workplace supervisors and others to help new entrants re-contextualise skills already acquired within new contexts. The problem therefore, may not be a lack of skills but the lack of workplace opportunities in which to demonstrate and develop such skills. The authors argue for ‘a coordinated and partnership approach to supporting young adults in making transitions, with better skills utilisation in mind.’

Two papers: Hanson and Lucas The role of school leadership in increasing engineer employer engagement among teachers and Turkenburg-van-Diepen and Hanley Employer Engagement: Too little, too late, highlight the importance of opening up young people’s perceptions of STEM subjects, and of employment opportunities within the sector. The importance of early engagement at primary school level is discussed in Turkenburg- van-Dieman and Hanley’s work, also the potential motivational gains from employee participation in such schemes. However, such engagement requires a significant commitment of time and resource, which may be vulnerable when other business demands are more pressing. The research also illustrates the importance of well-designed learning activities pitched at the right level to engage young learners; it cannot be assumed that all visitors to schools will possess such competence.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Research for Practice: Papers from our 5th International Conference on Employer Engagement in Education and Training. – Education and Employers

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