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10th November 2023, saw Helen Taylor, NEAT Academy Trust, attend the Regional Careers Conference hosted by North East Ambition.  The event brought together secondary schools, FE providers, and partners at the Great North Museum. This pivotal event explored the intersection of education and economic growth, focusing on key themes that will shape the future of career’s provision across NEAT Academy Trust schools.

Unveiling Regional Impact

The conference spotlighted pivotal themes such as secondary and FE careers leadership, the influence of the careers impact system, and the vital role of Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs). Discussions revolved around the Strategic Economic Plan, the NE LEP, and the imperative highlighted in the Skills for Jobs White Paper, emphasizing the pivotal role of employers in shaping educational trajectories.

Aligning Skills with Opportunities

The core agenda revolved around fostering a deep understanding of the skills demanded by the evolving regional economy. The aim is to empower the younger generation with the requisite skills, making them an integral part of these growing opportunities.

Conference Highlights: Key Takeaways

1. Strategic Focus Areas:

– Secondary and FE Careers Lead awareness in their role as educators ensuring learners are equipped with knowledge and skills to benefit from these economic opportunities

– Awareness of Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs)

2. Regional Growth Sectors: exemplifying the potential awaiting skilled individuals in these sectors

– Construction

– Green Energy/Net Zero

– Health & Social Care

– Business & Professional Services

– Culture, Creative, Tourism & Hospitality

3. Digital Skills Priority:

– Emphasis on developing basic, softer skills alongside technical skills.

– Acknowledgment of the importance of digital skills.

4. Regional Devolution:

– A £4.2 billion package for the region over 30 years.

– £1.8 billion allocated to skills and education.

5. National Update:

– Insights from Pauline Vipond, Area Manager, Careers and Enterprise Company.

– Focus on meaningful experiences from early years to fully funded careers leader training.

6. Continuous Improvement:

– North East Ambition commits to continuous enhancement through surveys, new meeting formats, and a Training Advisory Group.

7. Career Impact System:

– Emphasis on quality, adherence to Gatsby benchmarks, and standardized continuous improvement.

– Commitment to a personalised system for each learner.

8. Apprenticeships and Technical Education:

– Early Connect Program launched to increase awareness and interest in apprenticeships.

– Objective: Boost the number of learners on the UCAS Apprenticeship Hub and apprenticeship vacancies.

Implications for NEAT Academy Trust: Preparing Our Learners for Life Beyond School

Upon reflection, the conference updates hold profound implications for NEAT Academy Trust and its schools. Moving forward, the focus will be on continuous improvement of our Career’s offer, bolstering employer engagement, and facilitating a more cohesive, inclusive environment for all students, including those with SEND.  We also plan to focus on aligning curriculum, vocational training, and career guidance with the identified growth sectors and the region’s economic priorities.

NEAT’s Next Steps:

  1.  Integration of Insights: Incorporate conference insights into the curriculum and career guidance.
  2. Personalised Learning: Continue to develop and enhance a personalised system to cater to the unique needs of each learner.
  3. Enhanced Engagement: Strengthen partnerships with employers to enhance real-world engagement.
  4. Continuous Improvement: Embrace NE Ambition’s commitment to continuous improvement, utilising new survey tools and meeting formats.
  5. Digital Skills Emphasis: Prioritise digital skills training, aligning with regional and national priorities.

 Looking Ahead: #RealWorldReady

NEAT Academy Trust is poised to empower students for life beyond school. The key takeaways from the conference will be instrumental in shaping a robust and responsive education system that prepares learners for the real world. The Trust is committed to staying at the forefront of educational excellence and ensuring students are RealWorldReady.  

We are in the 2nd year of implementing our Cradle 2 Careers Strategy.  Last year, we made great leaps and bounds into implementing Whole Trust, all ages Careers Education, and started to embed it as the golden thread that runs throughout all that we do.  This academic year, we are down to the business end of embedding it but at the same time learning from last year and revising elements so we can progress and realize our ambition.  

What will success look like?  Setting students up for success: Equipping them with skills, confidence, and adaptability for smooth transitions into fulfilling, successful careers.