It’s that time of year when young people across the country start turning their attention to revision, exams and what they will do when they leave school, either after completing their GCSEs or higher exams such as A Levels and T Levels. National Careers Week (NCW) runs from 6th – 11th March with the aim of being a focus for careers guidance, and offering lots of free advice, information and useful downloadable resources to help young people navigate this important time.

National Careers Week is also a one-week celebration of all things ‘careers’ in the UK and it is sponsored by a whole host of diverse industries and work sectors from the BBC to Careers in Racing, the WWF to the financial sector and from Maritime UK to the UK Space Agency, so there really is something out there for everyone, whatever their interests.

The National Careers Week website is available throughout the year and is full of resources, webinar and event details, advice and information, not only for young people but also for educators, employers and parents too. And as we head towards a greener economy, last year saw the launch of the Green Careers National Careers Week category which showcases new jobs in the burgeoning green industry sector.

Social media plays a big part in advertising and raising awareness of the week and participants can use the hashtag #NCW2023! this year to link up to others and raise the profile of the week across their social media partners. Previous years have proved a vital link for young people. During the pandemic, NCW2021 and NCW2022 reached over 1 million young people and had over half a million views of the 2022 Virtual Careers Fair online and over 14,000 resource downloads. All these things are designed to help inspire and inform young people so they can take positive actions towards the future of their choosing.

National Careers Week and early years

At first glance, early years practitioners may see little relevance in National Careers Week and the early years, since the children in our care have not even started school, let alone be thinking about their next career move! But obviously, the early years profession has a very keen interest in National Careers Week since many new recruits into the early years sector join at age 16 or 18 on apprenticeship programmes and the week represents an opportunity to raise awareness of the profession and recruit some new staff.

In addition, there may be existing staff whose own children (or indeed the staff themselves) are trying to decide on their next course of action, for whom some extra information and resources would be very beneficial. Transitions can be a stressful time for families, so anything you can do to help support your own staff will also help reduce stress levels and show that you are an employer who cares about the well-being of their staff at all levels. To this end, we have covered information in two categories which we hope you will find useful.

  1. Raising awareness of the early years sector and recruiting staff
  2. Supporting staff with their own or their children’s choices

1. Raising awareness and recruiting new staff

National Careers Week is the perfect opportunity to get out into your local community and raise awareness of the early years sector, how important it is for our society and the advantages of starting a career in such a vital social occupation. Starting a Level 2 apprenticeship at the age of 16 is just the beginning of what could be a life-long career in early years, leading on to Level 3 qualifications (equivalent to A’ Level) and eventually to Level 6/7 qualifications and research degrees that can drive new ideas and pedagogical thinking for the benefit of our youngest children and the wider society too.

Here are some ideas to help you make the most of NCW2023!

  • Make contact with your local secondary schools and colleges and talk to their Careers Officers – perhaps you could arrange a stand at a careers fair or meet relevant interested students to get your apprenticeship recruitment information in front of potential local candidates
  • Use your social media presence to advertise your involvement in NCW and use the hashtag #NCW2023! You can also download the campaign graphics here
  • Host or sponsor a space at the NCW Virtual Careers Fair to showcase your organisation – contact nick.newman@ncwcic.co.uk 
  • Talk to Parenta about apprenticeship recruitment opportunities. Parenta recruit and train hundreds of Level 2 and Level 3 apprentices each year, and there are even courses for Team Leaders, Supervisors and Lead Practitioners up to Level 5

2. Supporting existing staff and their children

National Careers Week has lots of very useful information for parents and educators including newsletters, lesson plans and a Parent’s Guide which explains all the options that young people have after GCSEs. It provides parents with the information they need to help their teenage children make the right choices to create successful futures after GCSE and sixth form. This includes information about:

  • A Levels
  • T Levels
  • BTECs
  • Apprenticeships
  • Traineeships
  • Internships
  • Other qualifications and exam retakes
  • University
  • HNCs and HNDs
  • Gap years
  • Starting work
  • Starting your own business
  • Work experience 

Some ideas to help your staff during National Careers Week

  • Hold an informal careers event and allow staff and their children time to research and access some of the information available from NCW. You could collate some prospectuses or brochures from local colleges and if you have any contacts there, why not invite them to speak. It’s often also useful to hear information from people who have studied at a college as well as an official brochure
  • Set up a careers display board in your staff room or other communal area and promote the idea of lifelong learning and CPD courses so that staff know what is available
  • Talk about continued learning at staff meetings and allocate a learning budget for staff so they feel that they are supported throughout their careers, not just at the beginning
  • Chat to your own staff about their own career development – are there courses or further CPD areas that staff wish to explore – remember, although NCW is primarily aimed at teenagers, there is nothing to stop you expanding it to have a discussion with all your staff about their own futures in the industry
  • Parenta also offer a variety of short online CPD courses to upskill existing staff so look at CPD eLearning Courses from Parenta - Develop your Childcare Career for more information

Whatever you do for this year’s National Careers Week, let us know your plans and send your stories to us at Parenta by emailing:

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