28 Feb

Simple text messages could help children onto careers ladder

Daria Nepriakhina

Parents and carers will receive text messages about local labour markets as part of a year-long project to increase career opportunities for their children.

We Discover Careers Conversations will provide tailored engagement and support needed by parents and carers to use local labour market information to identify careers pathways for hundreds of children.

The Year 9 pilot programme will particularly benefit pupils who are disadvantaged in pursuing their dream careers through not being able to take advantage of existing family networks.

Such networks often open up informal recruitment opportunities – such as job shadowing and work experience placements – which lead to jobs.

LLEP research showed that 93% of 804 parents surveyed did not know about local labour market data in having conversations with youngsters about careers options.

 The pilot project is funded by The Careers and Enterprise Company as part of its work to unearth innovative projects which remove barriers around careers. Its initial focus will be on careers in the Digital, Logistics and Green sectors.

 The LLEP hub has been allocated £100,000 to run a year-long pilot aimed at influencing the flow of children and young people into the careers of the future. 

It will run in Leicestershire and East Yorkshire and will use a mix of text messages and events in participating schools and the workplaces of partners including Intelligent Energy, BAE, Holovis, and Travis Perkins. 

The participating schools in Leicester and Leicestershire are:

  • New College Leicester
  • Beaumont Leys School
  • Wigston Academy
  • Limehurst Academy

Alex Mauger, Assistant Head and SENDCo, Limehurst Academy, said:

Parental engagement is key to supporting young people to make decisions about their future careers and labour market information can be a difficult field to navigate.

We have been linked with some fantastic business and are really looking forward to staging events with them and embedding a range of employer encounters into our curriculum.

The pilot, a collaboration with Hull and East Yorkshire Careers Hub, is designed to better inform parents and carers who want to talk to children about careers opportunities, but who do not have easy access to local labour market information.

A total of eight schools in Leicester, Leicestershire, Hull, and East Yorkshire have been selected to take part in the innovative project.

Parents and carers have significant influence over the career decisions of young people. However, research has shown that some families lack awareness about when they need to make decisions and start exploring careers options with children and young people.

The project addresses that by preparing parents of Year 9 students with manageable chunks of information that they can use at home – comfortably before the young people get to the point of gaining meaningful Year 10 work experience and then qualifications needed in regional labour markets.

Gerarde Manley, LLEP Careers Hub Lead, said:

Parents and carers will be engaged through informal messages and off-site employer events that have travel provided.

Increasing inclusion is one of four core pillars in the LLEP’s Economic Growth Strategy and this pilot makes it easy for parents to access quality information to shape timely conversations around careers.

If successful, the pilot has the potential to be extended to other regions nationwide.

The project runs until December 2023.

  • Picture by Daria Nepriakhina (Unsplash).