How should education prepare pupils for the new world of work?by Clarissa Farr / July 18, 2012 / Leave a comment
Published in August 2012 issue of Prospect Magazine
© Marquette University
Graduating from university in the late-1970s was a leisurely affair. I can hardly remember the Milk Round and few of my intellectual friends saw themselves stooping to train as accountants or solicitors. Why the rush? We knew we would find jobs and were confident that the rounded education and loyalty we offered would be just what employers were looking for.
How different things are today: the job market is tougher and schools, universities and parents view the purpose of education very differently.
With nearly one million young people unemployed, few secondary-school age children could be unaware that their prospects are different from those of their parents. In schools, “employability” is a focus in itself: academic qualifications count, but so do an understanding of the job market and the personal qualities of flexibility, imagination and adaptability. Careers education is a serious business. At the school in west London where I am head, the “Take your daughter to work” scheme for 13 year olds is followed by a conference showcasing how former students plotted their own route into medicine, the law, journalism, architecture, and so on. Diagnostic online profiling, subject choices and guidance on applying to university ensure that in the final three years of school, the focus is on the long term.