If your employees have been doing any volunteering with schools and young people recently you might have heard talk of the Gatsby Benchmarks. But what are they and what do they mean for your business? 
The Benchmarks were developed by Sir John Holman on behalf of the Gatsby Charitable Foundation as part of a piece of international research into the correlation between positive outcomes for young people and good careers guidance. They were adopted by the UK government as central to their new approach to careers in education in December 2017 and integrated into the inspection framework for education via Ofsted. Schools and education providers are required to have a nominated careers lead on staff and have a publically accessible careers strategy, ideally published on their website. 
The Eight Benchmarks are: 
1. A stable careers programme 
2. Learning from career and labour market information 
3. Addressing the needs of each pupil 
4. Linking curriculum learning to careers 
5. Encounters with employers and employees 
6. Experiences of workplaces 
7. Encounters with further and higher education 
8. Personal guidance 
Schools and Colleges are required to report on how they are meeting the benchmarks and are working with organisations such as the Careers and Enterprise Company to access tools that support them with this. 
So that’s what the benchmarks are but why do they matter to business? 
The majority of the benchmarks relate to how young people receive careers advice and guidance through their education and schools may be interested in any information you can provide about your business of industry. For example, supplying schools with regular information from sector skills academies/councils, e.g. CITB or NSAR, or professional associations, such as CIPD or CIM, can be useful in helping them meet benchmarks 2 and 4. 
Alternatively, if you’re interested in helping schools with their overall strategy, then you or a member of your team, might consider becoming an Enterprise Adviser through the Careers and Enterprise Company’s Enterprise Adviser Network. This is operated through England’s Local Enterprise Partnerships, and creates a connection between a school and a business professional who will work directly with the senior leadership team craft and implement an effective careers strategy. Here in Thames Valley Berkshire, Allison Giles is responsible for the Enterprise Adviser Network and more information can be found on the TVBLEP website or by emailing her directly. 
The two benchmarks that business can make the biggest impact on, and which in turn have a positive net benefit for the business, are 5, Encounters with Employers and Employees, and 6, Experiences of Workplaces. Education providers and charities who support them, will be contacting you to get involved in a wide variety of activities so you might want to think about what kinds of things your team have the skills set for or what might be a good fit for your organisation. 
A meaningful encounter with employers and employees could include exhibiting at a careers event, speaking at a school assembly, taking part in careers speed networking sessions, mentoring young people, participating in work taster challenges or competitions, volunteering to deliver employability workshops on CVs or interview techniques, and a whole range of other activities. Experiences of workplaces can range from a group visit for a class of students to your work place to an industrial placement over an extended period for a student on a vocational programme of study. Opening up your workplace to a student for a day, a week or even a few months can be a very effective way of not just readying them for work but also for establishing a potential talent pipeline for your business. 
Local organisation often looking for business volunteers to get involved or who manage work experience opportunities include Adviza, Learning to Work and the Prince’s Trust. Information on industrial placements is available from The Windsor Forest Colleges Group. Alternatively, arrange a meeting with our CEO, Fiona Jones, and she can talk you through the different options and how Slough Aspire might be able to help your business create a bespoke solution that fits with your company objectives and values. Call 01753530146 or email manager@sloughaspire.com
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Tagged as: Employment Skills
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