#LearninginLockdown – A Call to Arms

Just over one month ago, more than three million senior school pupils in the UK prematurely ended their normal learning structure. But school is still running, and students still need to receive careers information and guidance until the end of July 2020.

4000 Careers Leaders across the UK are crying out for support to help them meet their regulatory requirements against the Gatsby Benchmarks for Ofsted inspections. Nothing stops in education for a little pandemic! And that means they need more than just a few short job role videos. They need to replicate traditional activities digitally, including assembly talks or competitions or classroom activities or workplace visits or careers fairs.

These activities need to cover all eight Gatsby benchmarks (though not all at once!) including Stable Careers Programme (consistent, comprehensive longterm relationships), learning from Labour Market Information (especially relevant now as so much of the labour market is shifting with COVID), addressing the needs of Vulnerable and SEN students, linking Careers Directly to the KS3 and KS4 Curriculum, and Personalised Careers Guidance for every pupil (which is the bit that Careers Leaders really need to evidence clearly)

80% of secondary school and college pupils now benefit from engaging with employers at least once a year. Two-thirds are gaining from regular work experience. Through a concerted effort of schools, colleges and employers, the gap in making sure every single young person benefited from experiences with employers fell from 1.2 million to 700,000 young people in just eighteen months.

The education debate has understandably focused heavily upon the pressing concerns regarding qualifications in the absence of examinations, safeguarding and home-schooling arrangements. But we must also make the transitions that young people were intending to make into further and higher education, employment or apprenticeships a priority. Young people will take these steps in, perhaps, the most difficult labour market conditions in living memory.

So BESS is setting a daily exercise for anyone who hears the call. This could be a video, but it could also be a blog, a Slideshare presentation, an audio recording, a webinar, a drawing, a story, a song. Time to get creative!

We purposefully want to encourage videos that have a homemade look and feel, partly because that’s the reality right now as no one is on site or in their office, but also because we want *everyone* in construction to be inspired to have a go! Careers Leaders need volume of content, not just the Scorsese productions. Just a quick look at the analytics on TikTok videos shows how something homemade can still be really fun. Content only needs to be as professional as an assembly talk or classroom activity would normally be. Let’s really lean into the homemade!

Some people are rightly quite anxious about their current situation with furlough and homeworking, and we’re keen to maintain that honesty in this content because kids are absolutely paralysed about the future they were previously imagining. Students are very happy with honesty. And Careers Leaders will *really* appreciate it because it’s going to take a while for things to get back to any kind of normal.

Evidence from previous recessions shows that the impact can last for years. Research in the US shows that graduates who enter the job market in a recession earn less for more than a decade. And UK evidence shows young people who have experienced prolonged unemployment are still feeling the effect in their wage packet 20 years later.

It is more critical than ever that these young people benefit from the regular support from employers that they were starting to enjoy before the lock-down.