The first week in March, or the 2–7th March to be precise, is National Careers Week, when educational institutions, employers and careers advisers across the country will be shining the spotlight on the many-faceted nature of our working lives, and helping young people and those looking for career changes later in life, to make important career choices.

In the last millennia, careers advice was often limited to a few traditional professions, and many people thought they would do what their parents had done, start at the bottom and work their way up to the top of their chosen profession over the course of a working lifetime. But the reality nowadays is very different. People, and especially young people, are more mobile in career terms than their parents; they move sideways, diagonally and seldom stay in one industry for their entire working life. The world has changed, industries have changed, and the aspirations and desires of young people have changed accordingly.

Technological advances account for many of the differences – the advent of the internet has had a massive effect on the way we shop; high streets are declining, and service industries are taking their place. Predictions about future jobs include the increased use of computers and artificial intelligence (A.I.) to replace a lot of manual labour. In a speech given by Amber Rudd in 2019, on “The future of the labour market”, she said:

“Automation is driving the decline of banal and repetitive tasks. So the jobs of the future are increasingly likely to be those that need human sensibilities, with personal relationships, qualitative judgement and creativity coming to the fore.”

This bodes well for the childcare industry. However, the challenge for all industries is how to meet these changing needs and make sure that the young people coming into the workforce are well informed, well prepared and able to adapt to the changes going forward.

What is National Careers Week?

National Careers Week (NCW) is a not-for-profit company which was set up to promote the importance of good careers education in schools and colleges. It was founded by, and is supported by, volunteers with a wealth of experience and backgrounds in education, business and careers guidance. It is financially supported by industry sponsors such as RBS, Burberry, the NHS and The Royal Society to name but a few.

The week itself is dedicated to celebrating careers information and guidance to help support young people as they leave education. It encourages educational establishments to provide focused careers guidance and activities across all ages to help students make appropriate choices, and start planning for their chosen careers.

NCW aims to empower the 3 key stakeholders, as follows:

  • Students – by providing them with access to resources and by linking the world of education to the world of work.
  • Educators and advisors – by providing them with free, quality resources mapped against the Gatsby Benchmarks - 8 guidelines defining the best careers provision for secondary schools.
  • Organisations – encouraging them to promote their training and career opportunities to the next generation to help engage and inspire them.

How you can get involved – join the Pledge Campaign

The Pledge Campaign encourages individuals and organisations to make a pledge to support National Careers Week, using the hashtag #NCW2020. As an early years setting, it may be a little early to start talking to the children in your care about their chosen careers, but you can absolutely get involved in talking to teenagers and young people about the early years sector, encouraging them to ask questions and showing them what it means to be an early years professional.


Some ways you could do this include:

  • Promoting NCW with the families and colleagues within your setting. You may know parents who have an older child who is interested in joining the childcare sector, who might appreciate knowing where to go for more information.
  • Allowing staff who may be interested in furthering their career, to visit a school, college, training provider or university; or giving them time off, or time at work to complete some CPD courses which can improve their career prospects. Parenta can assist with low-cost, online CPD courses which you can access from our website here.
  • Offering your experience and knowledge to local education institutions during a break or lunchtime, or as part of an organised and structured lesson. An hour of your time talking to students about early years education can give them an insight into the industry and some valuable insider knowledge, so they have a better idea what to expect. A lot of secondary schools now run Health and Social Care GCSEs where your input could be welcome too.
  • Attend a local career event either as a recruiter or an adviser. Talk to young people about the industry and remember to ask questions about their expectations too, so that you can better match your needs to theirs.
  • Provide some work experience for a young person. Schools and colleges often struggle to find work experience placements for students, so offering your setting as a venue will be one way to make a difference.

Alternatively, you can make your own pledge to help with the overall aims of National Careers Week. You can make a pledge on the NCW website here.

The NCW website is full of advice and information for educational establishments which are free to download too, so if you have children of secondary school age who need some careers advice about the childcare or other industries, you can always direct them (and their teachers) to the website too.

Childcare apprenticeships

Another way you can help young people get into the childcare industry is by offering an apprenticeship to a school leaver. Parenta train over 3,000 childcare professionals every year and can offer advice and training for you and your staff from level 2 qualifications right through to CPD and management. If you are interested in apprenticeships or recruitment, contact Parenta for more information.

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