Employability education: A review of the Autumn Term | Navigate
Employability education: A review of the Autumn Term

Date: 16 December 2016

As we move into the final days of 2016, we wanted to focus on some of the key developments in employability skills education between September and December.

Ofsted and Government Policy

The most important development this term was the release of Ofsted’s ‘Getting Ready for Work’ survey. This investigated the availability and effectiveness of enterprise education and work-related learning in secondary schools.

Broadly, Ofsted found that employability skills education in schools is poor, and that curriculum and policy were key factors for this. Only 4 of the 40 schools visited by Ofsted were delivering effective provision and it was often unclear whether work-related activity was having any impact.

Ofsted has been very clear: employability skills has to be a focus for all schools (and colleges) and this will be a key part of their questioning during inspection. We have spoken to a number of schools that have been ‘Ofsted-ed’ recently and all have told us that they were questioned closely on their work-related provision.


Once again, there were a number of employer-led research papers that explored employability education and its impact on young people’s job prospects. Again, these confirmed that industry sees employability activity as central to the future success of the country, particularly given the economic and political challenges we may be facing. These included:

  • The Chartered Institute for Management Accountants, which found that 8 out of 10 school leavers ‘lack essential business skills’.
  • The Confederation of British Industry, which released its ‘9th Annual Education and Skills Survey’. This reiterated the need for young people to develop core work skills, such as attitude to work, customer awareness and experience of the work place. It also flagged up employers’ relative lack of interest in young people’s academic results.
  • The Journal of Education and Work reported that those students exposed to the world of work go on to earn an extra £2,000 per year.


There has been a marked increase in the number of conversations educators are having about employability education. Many interesting debates have been had recently on the subject, like this one on the LinkedIn CEIAG group.

It is clear that employability is rising up the agenda for many school, college and Local Authority leaders, as highlighted by the rise in local employability consortiums as well as this call to action by AELP Chief Executive Mark Dawe.

On a final note, we’ve found it very interesting to speak with the dozens of CEIAG professionals who have attended our ‘Framework for Outstanding Employability’ seminars. Across the country we have been inspired by the amazing work being delivered to support young people to develop their employability skills.

As always, we would love to hear your thoughts on how best to deliver outstanding employability provision – as well as the ways we can support you. Feel free to drop us a reply below!