Our Inspiration for Innovation Programme is aligned with Education and Employers ‘motivated to achieve’ research

Education and Employers is an independent UK based charity launched in 2009 with the vision of “providing children and young people with the inspiration, motivation, knowledge, skills and opportunities they need to help them achieve their potential” by working with schools, employers, the national bodies that represent them and a wide range of other partners including the government and third sector organisations. Here are some of the headline findings from their last decade of research which Gaia Innovation have used as a reference in creating our Inspiration for Innovation programme –

  • Employer engagement reduces the likelihood of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training). Young people who do  4 or more activities during secondary school are less likely to be NEET during their 20s.

This insight has driven the commitment in the Department for Education’s 2017 Careers Strategy that every young person should have a meaningful encounter with employers whilst in secondary education (2013, 2017)

  • Employer engagement during school years increases the amount young adults earn once in full-time employment (2014, 2016, 2017).
  •  Employer engagement has an impact on student motivation by linking the curriculum to the world of work (2018).
  • Career gender stereotyping exists, and it can be tackled from primary school onwards (2018, 2019).

A further study by Education and Employers has for the first time in England, demonstrated links between young people’s engagement with the world of work through career talks and their GCSE attainment.

This new research, entitled ‘Motivated to achieve’ shows that participation in career talks with volunteers from the world of work can change the attitudes of Key Stage 4 (14-16 years old) pupils to their education.  This can influence their future plans and subject choices, motivate them to study harder and supports an improvement in academic attainment – even when taking place only a few months before their exams start.  It showed that lower achievers and less engaged learners responded best to the intervention.  This is particularly pertinent for schools facing funding challenges and considering where best to allocate their finite time and resources.

Key Findings following three extra careers talks and relative to a control group – 

  • Improved self-efficacy, attitudes about the usefulness of school and confidence in fulfilling their career aspirations.
  • 7% of the students changed their future plans and 20-28% of them questioned their career and education choices.
  • An increase of 9% linked indirectly to GCSE attainment showing the importance of revision hours.
  • Outperforming their predicted GCSE grades by the equivalent of one student in a class of 25 beating their predictions by one grade.
  • Improvements in English were more than double the average effect.
  • Lower achievers and less engaged learners responded best to the intervention.
  • A rise in motivation to study harder equivalent to an extra 20% in planned hours if they had done four prior short-duration activities.

These findings support the vision of the Gaia Innovation Inspiration for Innovation programme and should be noted by our volunteers and sponsors as further proof that their commitment is highly valuable and is a significant influencer for both individual students and the performance of education in the UK as a whole.

The Inspiration for Innovation programme will now include a focus on providing three extra careers talks to Y11 pupils, and evaluating the impact on their GCSE attainment versus their predicted grades.

We can derive from this small but demonstrative study that the continued commitment to facilitating meaningful encounters between students and employers in order to inspire young people to equip themselves with higher-level skills is imperative for their academic development. This development should translate to the provisioning of a robust employment talent pool which in regard to the Silverstone Inspiration for Innovation programme is required for building a sustained pipeline of talented entrepreneurs and technologists urgently required for business growth in the Oxford- Cambridge Arc, as well as for specific sectors such as the automotive industry.

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The findings of the report have been covered in articles by BBC News ‘Careers lessons push up GCSEs’, by Tes ‘Careers talks ‘boost GCSE results’ and by Forbes ‘Experience of work boosts student motivation and grades’.