Careers awareness in primary schools: Putting the 'Ed' in EdTech – FE News

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Whilst the statistics vary depending on the source you use and the definition of what sits in the ‘digital’ sector, women make up approximately a quarter of the workforce. Even less in leadership roles. Overall, the pace of progress to close the gap is at a snail’s pace.
Yet we have the inverse of that figure in the education profession, with the majority of the teaching workforce made up of women. Even at leadership level, whilst the disparity is lower, women still make up the majority.
I’m left wondering if our approach to encouraging young girls to consider a career in digital ought to lead more firmly with the use of the technology – in this case ‘education’ -rather than the technology itself. Could we start to make more of a dent in that gap if we brought to life the ways in which technology can be used to improve the quality of education? Are we doomed to fail if we continue to focus careers information in the final few years of secondary school, talking more of job roles rather than the purpose of the technology we build?
I am an evangelist for the importance of introducing careers awareness in primary schools. Our current model of concentrating careers information from age 14-15 upwards is not serving children well. It is too little, too late, placing the burden on secondary colleagues to fit high quality advice and guidance into a busy curriculum.
In 2019-20 I saw first hand the value of embedding careers into the curriculum for children as young as five. This is not about advice or guidance. It is about enthusing young children to see the art of the possible, showing the application of subjects they are learning, in work situations, to begin the long process of helping them to understand the steps they could take, to do what they are learning to love now, in the future. This need is particularly true for those families who are ill-served in society, who lack the connections and prior educational attainment to support their children to follow their ambitions. It was one of my proudest moments as a governor seeing two 11-year old girls at the National Careers Week launch event from one of our academies share how their learning had encouraged them to explore roles as web designers and software developers.
The UK government has announced its plans to introduce a new career education programme in primary schools. This is significant in moving beyond cramming ‘careers’ into Key Stage 3 and 4. My enthusiasm for how my colleagues in further and higher education can support this activity will not come as a surprise to those who know me. Too often, the silos between the stages of education system detract from what we have to offer one another.
As one of those rare female founders of a technology business, I have much to gain from increasing the diversity in our sector. It is a source of ongoing frustration for me and my business partner. Our products are most often used in the education sector, even if we are not an edtech business in its truest sense. If the future digital workforce enters for their love of education first and foremost, I see this as a win for all of us.
Lou Doyle, the co-founder of Mesma, regional chair for Wise Academies, board member for Education Partnership North East colleges, member of the BCS T Level steering group and both an Apprenticeship and T Level ambassador.
Statistics on participation and learner outcomes in the further education and skills sector, including apprenticeships, reported for January 2014 to present. Contents Latest releases Apprenticeships…
Young people’s participation in education, employment and training and those not in education, employment or training (NEET). Contents Participation in education, employment or training NEET:…
Information on the number of apprenticeship starts, achievements, and participation, and additional traineeship measures. Contents Apprenticeship and traineeships: current data Apprenticeship and traineeships: annual data…
Archived information on apprenticeship vacancies. Contents July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October…
We ask all schools for their: School email address The email address for official communications must be present and include the character ‘@’. The email…
It is our plan that all pupils, in all year groups, will return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term. We have…
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Whilst the statistics vary depending on the source you use and the definition of what sits in the ‘digital’ sector, women make up approximately a quarter of the workforce. Even less in leadership roles. Overall, the pace of progress to close the gap is at a snail’s pace.
Yet we have the inverse of that figure in the education profession, with the majority of the teaching workforce made up of women. Even at leadership level, whilst the disparity is lower, women still make up the majority.
I’m left wondering if our approach to encouraging young girls to consider a career in digital ought to lead more firmly with the use of the technology – in this case ‘education’ -rather than the technology itself. Could we start to make more of a dent in that gap if we brought to life the ways in which technology can be used to improve the quality of education? Are we doomed to fail if we continue to focus careers information in the final few years of secondary school, talking more of job roles rather than the purpose of the technology we build?
I am an evangelist for the importance of introducing careers awareness in primary schools. Our current model of concentrating careers information from age 14-15 upwards is not serving children well. It is too little, too late, placing the burden on secondary colleagues to fit high quality advice and guidance into a busy curriculum.
In 2019-20 I saw first hand the value of embedding careers into the curriculum for children as young as five. This is not about advice or guidance. It is about enthusing young children to see the art of the possible, showing the application of subjects they are learning, in work situations, to begin the long process of helping them to understand the steps they could take, to do what they are learning to love now, in the future. This need is particularly true for those families who are ill-served in society, who lack the connections and prior educational attainment to support their children to follow their ambitions. It was one of my proudest moments as a governor seeing two 11-year old girls at the National Careers Week launch event from one of our academies share how their learning had encouraged them to explore roles as web designers and software developers.
The UK government has announced its plans to introduce a new career education programme in primary schools. This is significant in moving beyond cramming ‘careers’ into Key Stage 3 and 4. My enthusiasm for how my colleagues in further and higher education can support this activity will not come as a surprise to those who know me. Too often, the silos between the stages of education system detract from what we have to offer one another.
As one of those rare female founders of a technology business, I have much to gain from increasing the diversity in our sector. It is a source of ongoing frustration for me and my business partner. Our products are most often used in the education sector, even if we are not an edtech business in its truest sense. If the future digital workforce enters for their love of education first and foremost, I see this as a win for all of us.
Lou Doyle, the co-founder of Mesma, regional chair for Wise Academies, board member for Education Partnership North East colleges, member of the BCS T Level steering group and both an Apprenticeship and T Level ambassador.
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