Careers in the Curriculum: resources for subject teachers

Including careers contexts in your teaching will open up different possible career options for your students AND help them deal with questions where there is an unusual context.

This page is a brief outline of a CPD session that NUSTEM developed as part of the NECOP project here in the North East. It provides some useful links and ideas for subject teachers who are looking to include careers in their classroom.

Career guidance in England

Schools statuatory duty

The government published its careers strategy in December 2017 which includes adults as well as young people.  However, as a result of the strategy, schools have a number of updated statutory duties related to careers.

Important points:

  • Schools should secure independant careers guidance for all years 8 – 13 pupils.
  • By September 2018 all schools and colleges should have a named career leader, and publish details of their careers programme.
  • By end 2020 every school should  offer every young person seven
    encounters with employers – at least one each year from year 7 to year 13. Some of these encounters should be with STEM employers.

Gatsby Career Benchmarks

The Gatsby Career Benchmarks are a set of 8 characteristics of good careers programmes.  Using the Benchmarks schools can audit and plan their careers programmes so that they are providing good careers information, advice and guidance to their pupils.

The key benchmark for subject teachers is Benchmark 4: Linking curriculum learning to careers.

All teachers should link curriculum learning with careers. STEM subject teachers should highlight the relevance of STEM subjects for a wide range of future career paths.
By the age of 14, every pupil should have had the opportunity to learn how the different STEM subjects help people to gain entry to, and be more effective workers within, a wide range of careers.

More information

Good Career Guidance website gives more details about the benchmarks, including some of the findings from the North East pilot.

The Careers and Enterprise Company was set up to support schools with careers. They have published an implementation guide to help schools with the careers strategy.

Planning for careers in your classroom

As a department you should liaise with the careers lead in your school or college. They will have a lot of information already that you can use, or will be able to work with you to include careers in your classroom.

Spend time planning careers links into your schemes of lessons. For each topic or theme, identify one career link and write it into your lesson plan (or equivalent).  Work with colleagues to share the load.

If you try to put links in ‘on the fly’ you’re likely to fall back on unconscious biases or stereotyped examples.

  • Tap into the expertise of parents and families. Use homework activities to (sensitively) find out who does what:
    • What links to topics do your students’ families already have?
    • Think hobbies as well as jobs.
  • Use your alumni. Keep links with them so that you can share what students from your school are doing.
  • Make contact with your local Enterprise Adviser Network or STEM ambassador hub. These organisations can link you to professionals who could come and talk with the department about where topics link into their work, or how the skills that they developed studying your subject has helped them in their career.

Useful Career Links

There are many sources of career information online that teachers can make use of. Here are some that we find useful:

  • NUSTEM careers resources including worksheets linked to North East companies.
  • STEM Learning eLibrary (was the National STEM centre eLibrary). Searchable repository of STEM related resources.  You can search it to find career resources linked to specific topics or subjects. (Free registration required)
  • National Careers Service Job profiles. An A-Z list of different career options.
  • NHS Careers website. Invaluable for students who ‘want to be a doctor’ but who, due to the competitive nature of that profession, would do better thinking about other options.
  • Engineering careers cover a wide range of areas including biomedical, chemical and mechanical engineering.  This is Engineering has lots of information about where engineering is used and what it involves.
  • iCould is mainly aimed at young people, but is useful for teachers.  It includes some short films of people talking about their chosen careers.