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Employers’ needs influencing the further education curriculum

At a London conference, education professionals from maintained and private schools heard how businesses are directly influencing sixth form education provision by mixing workplace skills development with academic and vocational qualifications, through the International Baccalaureate’s (IB) Career-related Programme (CP), to create new routes into careers in the financial sector.

Speakers from M&G Investments and the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI) explained how they are working with schools to offer the new CP which will enable students to achieve 400+ UCAS points, while gaining valuable personal and interpersonal skills, not usually part of sixth form education, to help them secure university places or direct pathways into the industry.

Speaking at the conference, hosted by the International Baccalaureate Schools and Colleges Association (IBSCA), Lauren Salter, M&G Investments Apprenticeships Manager, said: “We are looking to recruit young people who pay attention to detail, are able to collaborate in a team and display integrity. These are not qualities that are taught in the normal course of sixth form A Level study. So, we are working with schools to offer the CP because its Core promotes the development of these and many other valuable workplace skills. The combined package delivers a powerful portfolio which will be popular with universities and employers alike.”

The CP aims to bridge the gap between academic rigour, industry related learning and the development of key employability skills – including the ability to solve problems, manage time and communicate effectively. This is done, for example, by packaging together an Institute of Financial Services diploma, at least two IB Diploma Programme (DP) courses and a unique IB ‘Core’ consisting of a reflective project, language development, service learning and personal and professional skills.

The reflective project – an extended piece of work similar to what a student would produce at university – alone offers a total of 60 UCAS points to add to the combined total of the programme. As of 2016, CISI will provide a career-related study to the CP route, to provide a seamless pathway into the investment industry.

Adrian Kearney, IB Regional Director Africa, Europe, Middle East said: “Industry working directly with schools to offer CP confirms that the programme is a genuine educational offer for students aged 16 – 19 years, with real value that matches career aspirations. The CP develops career-ready learners who enter the world of work with confidence and the desired set of ‘workplace skills’.”

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