Embedding employers in the heart of the education system to help young people with career guidance is key – and Cheshire is leading the way, Esther McVey has said.
The Tatton MP said career guidance is vital to ensure students know what opportunities are available to them, as well as knowing which subject and qualifications they need to succeed.
Speaking in a debate she secured in Parliament on careers guidance she praised her local businesses for the work they are doing to help the next generation.
Ms McVey said: “Before Christmas in my area of Cheshire, AstraZeneca showed 480 pupils how artificial intelligence, virtual reality, robotics, 3D printing and drones could be used remotely to diagnose problems in the manufacturing process.
“Across Cheshire and Warrington, the local enterprise partnership has also been co-ordinating online work experience. In just two months last year, 1,750 young pupils were given a workplace challenge with 43 local employers; those employers worked with the pupils to open their eyes to what was right on their doorstep.”
She said embedding business in school career guidance programmes was essential. It is reported a young person who has four or more interactions with an employer is 86 per cent less likely to not be in education, employment, or training—to not be a NEET—and they can earn 22 per cent more during their career compared with a young person who has had no interaction with an employer.
In her debate Ms McVey also called on Government to ensure all young people get good career guidance, irrespective of where they live and questioned what plans Government had to link pupils with local businesses in their area and ensure access to good role models.
She said businesses offered an alternative to the academic route so often focused on and said “pupil-centric advice” was key, whether that be for higher education or an apprenticeship, or the workplace.
Ms McVey added: “Pupils need to know, in this fast-paced, ever-changing world, what works for them—where they can get the education and the support that they need.”