Brighter Futures: Vision and Strategy 2021 – 2026 (including customer research)

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This report produced in September 2020 by dmh associates sets out findings from a series of surveys independently developed by dmh associates working closely with Phil Bowden (Head of Quality and Planning) and Leonora Evans (Data Processor) in Careers Wales. The content of this report is designed to inform the Board and Senior Management Team as they develop a new Careers Wales’ vision and strategic plan 2021-2026.

Focus

The aim of these surveys was to gain feedback from:
• education customers (students from Year 9 upwards) in schools and further education colleges
• parents/carers
• headteachers/college principals
• subject teachers
• careers leaders/co-ordinators.

The five groups were invited to reflect on their views and experiences of careers work in schools and/or colleges and
how these could be further improved over the coming year(s). The main objective was to establish what these
“customers” need from a dynamic career development service now and in the future.

Conclusion

The overarching message from all of the surveys undertaken during the summer of 2020 are that careers provision in schools is a high priority across all groups surveyed. Careers Wales’ presence in schools is considered as essential in providing blended careers support. In the dmh associates’ surveys, respondents in each group also indicated optimum ‘ideal times’ for delivery of Careers Wales’ activities. Face-to-face interviews (either at school or virtual) are suggested for the transition periods, particularly when students are choosing their options. There are students for
whom this service is not always necessary i.e. some know what they want to do, or they have a good family support network, or gain support from their subject teacher. Others who are less sure or more in need will require more support from Careers Wales.

Schools all agree that subject teachers have a role to play in CWRE and there is evidence from their responses to the
survey that Careers Wales can work with them in a capacity building role to help with CPD and developing careers
strategies with teachers and senior management. The Education Business Exchange (EBE) was identified as
valuable in its contribution to careers support in schools.

Finally, the mixed feedback received from all groups highlight that in some areas or schools there is evidence of
examples of good practice and support which Careers Wales should tap into and learn from. Other sources of negative feedback should also be considered with key lessons learned. The issue in these examples may be a
genuine lack of resources or simply a lack of customer (student/parent and school) understanding or expectation. In other words, the customer perception of the service and support Careers Wales should deliver may be very different from the actual service Careers Wales can and does offer. There is scope to do more to communicate more clearly to the wider community what it can and does offer. The new vision and strategy 2021-2026 will help to address some of these issues going forward.