Skip to 0 minutes and 4 secondsHello. It's Gemma here. Welcome to the Q&A session for the linking curriculum learning to STEM careers. Thank you for taking part in the session this fall. I hope you've been getting a lot out of it. We've met lots and lots of interesting people taking part in the course. We've looked at those small tweaks. We've reflected on our own career strategies in our lessons, and now we're going to be picking up on the frequently asked questions that we've had during this course.

Skip to 0 minutes and 33 secondsSo thank you everyone that's put a question forward for this session. There are three common themes that we're going to pick up on. The first is looking at that employer collaboration and what can you do to formalise that. And after that, we're going to be looking at recording careers learning. How should you record it? Should you record it? And what can we do to make our lives easier in the classroom. And then lastly, we're going to be looking at how we can-- the all important nugget of how students actually know that they're having careers education. They're getting that advice. They're getting that guidance in their lessons.

Skip to 1 minute and 7 secondsAnd, again, just to reaffirm what we've said during this course, as teachers we are not that provide that kind of independent guidance. Whether to be a sounding board, whether to provide information, everything we talk about today we're making that distinction between independent guidance. What we're talking about today is providing that information and that support to students to make those next steps.

Skip to 1 minute and 34 secondsOK. So looking at our first question. Looking at how you formalise a collaboration with an employer, is there a framework out there? Are there supporting organisations that can help you get that going? So I guess the biggest thing is it depends on where you are. It's really regional. The support is varied, and that's mainly because of the employers, and the nonprofits, and the supporting companies that are out there to help. I would say there's no one way of doing it. There's no documentation that I've seen which sets out how you must, but there are some common themes that you'll see. I'm going to go through those now.

Skip to 2 minutes and 11 secondsSo if you are looking at setting up an employer collaboration, the key themes-- the first thing is getting management buy in. And no successful collaboration will ever happen unless both parties have got buy in at all levels. So from a school perspective, from a college perspective, making sure that all the way up the chain you've got buy in to commit staff time to start that collaboration. And then from an employee perspective, working at a responsible level within the company where they can action change that you might need to start that collaboration. Once you've got that buying in place-- so the next thing is to establish the aims of what you're looking for. And that's for both parties.

Skip to 2 minutes and 48 secondsAnd sometimes we can assume that the other party knows what we want, but actually just the open conversation can be enough. So from the school's perspective it might be that you're looking for support with resources or for people to come in from an employer. From a college perspective it might be you're looking for support for a particular support programme or an area of study that needs to be work relevant. What is the employer interested in? Are they looking to get access to students to showcase future opportunities? Are they looking to talk to parents to talk about the opportunities available in the businesses? Have that open dialogue.

Skip to 3 minutes and 21 secondsAnd then once you've got that in place, it's looking at what you can reasonably achieve over time. So is it reasonable to expect 13 members of staff to come into school and deliver different presentations? It might be, but then it might not. Unless you set that out early on, then you might end up getting into trouble later as you go through. Once you've got that in place, evaluate. So is it working? And how do you know it's working? The best way to do this, I'd say, look at staff, look at parents, look at students. Are they getting what they want out of the relationship?

Skip to 3 minutes and 53 secondsSo in terms of evaluation, you've got that conversation you can have with the leadership that are involved. Are they seeing an impact? Are you noticing it? If your aims are clear and you can set those out firmly, then you can actually evaluate and get those aims. So we're looking at an increased engagement in girls into engineering, let's say, so that's an increased aspiration for girls to want to take on that further study. Then you can QA girls before, QA girls after, and you can see if the input that you've had from an employer has made that difference. It might be that you want to speak to staff. Are they more confident now they've had the partnership at working with employers?

Skip to 4 minutes and 28 secondsDo they know how to get the support they need? So there's lots of different dimensions that you can evaluate against. The other thing to have a look at is, I guess, kind of just having an open dialogue. And a lot of people say to me what can an employer do when they come into school. That is a million dollar question because it depends on the employer, and it depends on what they do, it depends on where they work, depends on who they're working with. And the only way to know is just to explore. So if you ask an employer what can you do for me, they might suggest interview experience.

Skip to 4 minutes and 57 secondsThey might suggest coming in to talk to students, and they might not suggest some really, really useful things. So it could be could you come in and could you mentor six former students? Could you provide a Skype meeting for some of our young people so that they don't have to leave school? They can meet with you virtually. I'd say open exploration. It might be that you take a department and you host an inset, an employee site. It might be that you get someone from the employer to come in and do a presentation to staff. Just kind of look where the links are, where the opportunities are and especially curriculum links.

Skip to 5 minutes and 31 secondsThey're obvious when you're there, but they're really hard to guess. And when you put a subject specialist in an employer's situation-- like, I'm an engineering specialist. Take me to a factory. Take me to on site. I'll start to find those links. That's really hard to do when you're remote. So I'd say wherever you can get into a place and bring the staff that you want to be part of that engagement on to site themselves. So lastly, once you've got all of those ideas and you've got all of that inspiration, you need to curate the ask because we've got to be realistic here.

Skip to 6 minutes and 4 secondsSo if you look at the advice around employee engagement, it's having a sustainable point of contact and a curated ask that comes from that contact so different levels. It might be to start off with one person in the company, one person in the school or college who is the contact. It might be as that grows and the confidence within both parties increases actually you devolve that and each department has a contact, faculty contact, use it however you want. But I would say make sure that whatever you want is curated ask so that realistically you know how much time is engaged in the activity.

Skip to 6 minutes and 40 secondsIt might be that if everyone's asking for the same thing or if everyone's asking for a lot of activity, then actually the partnership isn't sustainable, and it's a bit one sided.

Skip to 6 minutes and 52 secondsThe next question we want to pick up on is careers learning. Something that we found in this course is we've talked about making those small tweaks in our lessons. How much of these tweaks do you actually need to record? I get asked this frequently. I'm recording things on lesson plans. I'm recording things in my scheme of work. My advice is always just to hold steady. If you think of the spectrum of careers learning. I start with those small tweak, those conversations, that poster on the board, that what did you do before you did this job, miss or sir? And then you start to grow that to the more complex interactions, maybe writing it into a scheme of learning.

Skip to 7 minutes and 28 secondsRule of thumb is if you not in the room and someone else is delivering your lesson, what careers learning would you need to happen? And then a bit more complex, maybe organising competitions, getting employers in, taking students out on visits. Think of that as a spectrum. My general rule of what you need to record is the rule of thirds. So the first third, the small stuff, the tweaks, the everyday stuff, I don't think you need to record it because you'll never do your day job. That's the kind of stuff that happens by chance. That's the kind of stuff that's every day. It's all a part of the environment.

Skip to 7 minutes and 57 secondsIt's a part of the natural patter that you have with your students. The middle third is where we come to a strategic lesson planning. It might be a starter. It might be a quiz. It might be a homework activity. But, again, think about if you are not there, what's going to happen when someone else delivers that lesson? And it needs to have the careers content in place. So that's the stuff you need to record in your lesson plan. That's the stuff you need to communicate as a department what you're doing. Lastly, when it comes to more complex stuff, that's the kind of stuff like competitions, visits. I'd be recording a whole school level.

Skip to 8 minutes and 30 secondsI'd be passing it to my career leader and just making sure that they knew this was happening. It also forms part of your meaningful encounters with employers, which is something that every single student needs to have one of a year. So kind of shorthand, you've got your small tweaks. You're getting started. I think if you record that, you'll never actually teach. You'll just be too busy doing the administration of it. The middle part is if I was not in that lesson and I still needed the careers learning to take place, what would I need recorded?

Skip to 8 minutes and 58 secondsAnd the last part is the larger interactions, the complex stuff, the planning, that's where I think you need to be involved with your careers lead just to let them know that it's happening.

Skip to 9 minutes and 13 secondsThe last question today is that-- that nugget of a question is how does a child know that they're actually having some careers input in their lesson? Again, something I get asked frequently. My students don't realise they're getting career support. They've had all of this careers learning throughout their lessons, but they just don't realise it's happening. And I'm sure lots of us know a careers leader in school or careers advisor who has had lots and lots of conversations with young people and young people just don't realise that they're getting that careers advice because it's a really fluid conversation. It's a really nice, natural support network.

Skip to 9 minutes and 47 secondsWhat we're trying to do is, I guess, support teachers to be able to highlight that in the easiest way possible. And I'd say go back to your careers learning journey. If you're looking for a way to highlight the careers learning in your lessons and you're not sure if the students are picking up on the links, make those bold references to jobs, make those bold references to employability skills and transferable skills. And try and do that in a way which pulls into the whole thread of the topic. So if you're introducing a topic, introduce the careers learning that is going to take place.

Skip to 10 minutes and 18 secondsIf you're introducing a programme of study they're going to undertake for the next few weeks, introduce the links that they're going to have to industry to further study in the real world. And that forms part of your curious learning journey. And that career is learning journey, whether presented graphically, whether presented in books, whether verbally presented is something that you can share with parents. You can share with students. You can share with colleagues.

Skip to 10 minutes and 40 secondsJust to recap, if you've forgotten what the careers learning journey is it's a nice little summary, which just highlights the things that the young people are going to see, the things they're going to do, maybe a bit of information about the jobs they're going to understand, maybe the transferable skills they'll get from this topic. And it's just pulling those out. I think sometimes we can fall into the trap of if you're doing an activity, it can achieve lots and lots of different things. So example, there might be six employability skills. They might be learning about communication. They might be learning about resilience. They might be learning about listening. Actually, just focus on a couple. Focus on a couple of skills.

Skip to 11 minutes and 16 secondsFocus on a couple of careers. Focus on a couple of local employers, maybe. And highlight that at the start, highlight that throughout, and make that part of your careers learning journey for that topic. So thank you for watching the Q&A. I hope that's giving you answers to some of the top questions we've got on this course so far. And don't forget, if you have got questions as you complete the content, put them into the comments. We really enjoy reading your thoughts, reading your questions and your suggestions. Always keen to know what's working. So in terms of what to do next, make sure that you visit the STEM careers page on the STEM learning website.

Skip to 11 minutes and 52 secondsLots of links there for downloads for posters, for flyers, videos, loads and loads of stuff. And they also-- the new subject specific pages-- we've got design and technology and maths already online, and we'll have science computing coming in the near future. Also if engineering is your bank, then there's a whole suite of engineering curriculum linked to resources for science, maths, design and technology computing. They are already live and ready. So if you go to the STEM careers website, go all the way to the bottom, and you'll find those subject specific links ready for you.

Q&A with course educators

All online CPD courses from the National STEM Learning Centre provide an opportunity to ask the educators more detailed questions as part of the course question and answer (Q&A) session.

We record educator responses to your outstanding questions from your reflection grids and course discussions. If there are ideas from the course you wish to explore further or issues about your own teaching context, then the Q&A provides a final opportunity to explore these with expert insight.


Gemma Taylor recorded responses to topics and questions raised by participants throughout the course on 10 December 2019. Topics included:

  • Formalising employer collaborations
  • Recording careers learning
  • Letting students know that careers learning is taking place

This is an open step, so the video and transcript can be accessed without logging into FutureLearn.

Please note: By posting to this step, you acknowledge that your comment and first name may be included in the video response to be uploaded here and on the STEM Learning YouTube channel.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Linking Curriculum Learning to STEM Careers

National STEM Learning Centre