Our 3rd Annual Careers Education Conference – #sameandifferent

Posted: Wednesday 16th November 2016

Our 3rd annual joint conference with Talentino! was held on 8th November at the Hilton Hotel in Reading. This year, Leonard Cheshire Disability was involved as they are a partner with Talentino.

James, one of our 6th Form students, opened the conference and spoke eloquently about the right of young people with learning difficulties to have paid employment and effective careers education.

Over the last year, Brookfields School and Talentino have continued to influence not only local practice and policy but also nationally policy and practice. This has been achieved through our joint work and the publication of articles, news items on the BBC as well as briefing papers for the Department for Education and other leading organisations supporting Careers Education.

The theme of the conference was based on our briefing paper, ‘Same and Different’, jointly written by Talentino and Brookfields School.

For this year’s conference, which was the largest yet, we welcomed Leonard Cheshire Disability Charity as a partner.

The conference was incredibly well attended and received by nearly 70 delegates from across England, ranging from special school leaders, teachers and practitioners, Virtual Schools, the Chief Executives from leading national careers organisations and charities, observers from the DfE, all of whom wanted to share their experiences and learn more about effective Careers Education for young people with Learning Difficulties and additional needs.

Ryan Gibsion, Leader of the National Gatsby Project, spoke about the national pilot looking at the Gatsby Foundation Framework. Ryan shared his research and examples of how mainstream and special schools are using the 8 Gatsby Bench Marks to audit their Careers Education provision to ensure that it is robust and meaningful for their learners.

Dave Barker from the National Valuing Family Forum spoke from personal Pathway to Employmentexperience as a family member about the importance of working in partnership to support young people into sustained paid employment. Dave spoke about the need to inspire families to lead in getting their children into employment.

Julie Grant, Brookfields School’s Employer Engagement Manager gave an insight in to how she has managed to sign up over 60 small, medium and large businesses to be part of the schools Pathway to Employment programme.

The highlight of the conference was the inspirational young people Brookfields School who talked about their work experience placements and why it is so important that they are given a chance to learn and practice the skills, knowledge and understanding so that they gain fulltime paid employment. Well done and thank you to Cameron, Paige, James and Samuel.

With so many inspiring people in the room who are using Careers at Every Level, the Careers Education programme Brookfields School and Talentino have developed together, this was a golden opportunity to network and share good practice with each other, which we did through the ‘Market Place’. New ideas and initiatives were shared and new partnerships developed, building upon the amazing practice of the 34 schools Careers at Every Level is now used in.

The afternoon saw delegates choose 3 workshops to attend from 9. These ranged from ‘Careers Awards and your school’ led by Jan Ellis (Chief Executive from Careers Development Institute); ‘19 to 25 Provision’ led by Barry Currell from Talentino!TM LogoThe Catcote Academy; ‘Careers Quality Mark in Special Schools’ led by Steve Stuart (CEO of Careers England). Other workshops focused on Supported Internships; Creating a whole school career development strategy; STEM Employability Skills for Key Stage 3 using enterprise; Enterprise Case Study; Job Coaching; and Tracking Independent and Life Skills.

As a result of the work which took place in the day, Talentino and Brookfields School will be presenting an open letter to Minister Halfon, Minister of State at the Department for Education responsible for careers education in schools. It will highlight the solutions everyone at the conference believe need to be put in place locally and centrally to remove to the barriers preventing young people with learning difficulties receiving equitable high quality access to careers education, work experience, job opportunities and sustained employment.

We would like to thank everyone who attended the conference, who shared their work, ideas and thoughts.

By working in partnership, we will be able to influence cultural change, make a difference and change the life outcomes for young people with learning difficulties and their families.

If you would like to know more, follow us on twitter @pathwaytoemploy or @TalentinoCareer or look for #sameandifferent

You can also find out more about our work on www.talentinocareers.co.uk or www.brookfieldsschool.org

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