A ground-breaking pilot project is providing North East schools, employers, further education, higher education and training providers with live data on young people’s career aspirations and understanding of the different options open to them when they leave school.

In the first project of its kind, a new digital tool developed by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), allows educators to use current data from pupils at 16 pilot schools to tailor careers guidance and training opportunities for young people in the North East.

Neill Willis, Regional Lead, Education Challenge, at the North East LEP, said: “Much of the data regarding young people’s progression that can be used to inform careers education, information, advice and guidance strategic planning is historic, with time lags of up to two years. For the first time, we now have up to date data, based on hundreds of students, which we can use to help improve the prospects of young people across our region.

“This data tells us, for example, how many young people want to pursue a career in health and life sciences, how many are interested in higher education or how many need more help in understanding what apprenticeships are and how to apply. The data will be used and shared with partners to ensure further guidance and experiences are tailored to fit with their needs.”

The data is gathered through careers leaders and careers interviews with students at the 16 pilot schools. The students meet with a qualified careers adviser seven times across two academic years and, in between each meeting, their feedback is used to shape the guidance and interventions they receive.

The impact of interventions such as careers workshops, encounters with employers, and mock interviews, can also be more accurately tracked using the data.

“Data is collected as students move through year 10 and 11, so it’s not just a snapshot,” said Neil Willis. “After each interview, the students’ data is fed into a digital tool which collates and analyses it, giving us the ability to see individual information, and regional trends, in young people’s understanding of their possible choices and their post-16 intended destinations.

“This has the potential to further transform careers education, information, advice and guidance in the North East, making it more targeted and impactful, and giving young people the best possible start in their careers, training or further education.”

The findings from the project will be shared with schools and colleges across the North East, as well as employers and training providers, enabling them to base their programmes and engagement with education on an accurate understanding of young people’s needs and ambitions.

The pilot project is part of the Department for Education-funded Opportunity North East, which is designed to ensure all pupils have the same opportunities to learn, develop and achieve success, regardless of their background or where they live. The pilot focuses on Challenge 4: too few young people find a pathway to a good career. The pilot is delivered jointly by the North East LEP and Tees Valley Combined Authority where a further 12 secondary schools are involved.

To find out more, contact Neil Willis on neil.willis@nelep.co.uk.