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How do we get marketing on the agenda in schools?

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Careers Education in schools has been receiving some much needed focus since the introduction of the governments National Careers Strategy at the end of 2018. Its ambition is to ensure all young people understand the full range of opportunities available to them, learn from employers about work and the skills that are valued in the workplace and to have first-hand experience of the workplace.

And it is ambitious, we have over 4000 (already stretched) secondary schools in the UK. Each of them should have an identified careers lead and a careers strategy in place and every child should be participating in at least one work encounter a year.

So how do we as businesses support this activity to build our future workforce?

Work experience and shadowing on site with a company are fantastic but often depend on parent’s contacts and are not the only way for young people to gain skills relevant for the workplace. DMA recently took part in an Enterprise Day with Waingel’s College near Reading. The day was about developing skills such as creative thinking, problem solving, teamwork and communications – all important skills for marketing.

200 year 7 students (11 and 12 year olds) worked in teams with their tutors to tackle a brief which asked them to create ideas for a campaign to impact climate change within their school community. The task was approached with huge amounts of enthusiasm (and noise) guided by teachers and a small group of business mentors.

The day was masterminded by Kerrie Ticknor, teacher and Careers and Enterprise Coordinator at Waingels. “The Year 7 enterprise day was a great opportunity for our students to tackle an important business problem in a creative and engaging way. This learning opportunity was enhanced with the invaluable support provided by our business mentors; they provided insight and purposeful questioning which enabled students to produce and present high quality, professional work.

Local DMA members Laithwaites’ Louse O’Hara also supported , judging presentations at the end of the day and giving an impromptu talk on careers in marketing.

‘It was an enjoyable experience, and despite their young age the children’s ideas were innovative and in some cases showed a surprising level of commercial awareness’.

These activities do require some time out of the office but relatively little if any preparation just a willingness to share your expertise.

You can proactively contact schools close to your workplace or work with the Careers and Enterprise Company set up by the government in 2014 to help schools and business work together to implement the strategy. They have successfully put senior business representatives into schools as Enterprise Advisors in over 2500 schools up and down the UK but are still looking for more volunteers.

For more information on supporting activities within schools contact kate.burnett@dma.org.uk.

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