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Education

Young welsh people not getting relevant career advice

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aatYOUNG people in the Wales are driven to succeed at an early age, with more than four in five young people aged 14-19 (83%) having given thought to their career options and the right steps to achieve the job they want. However, new research from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) has found that the careers advice they are receiving is not keeping pace with their demands, resulting in some misleading assumptions such as that you need a degree to enter careers like accounting. 

The survey commissioned by the AAT ahead of this year’s A Level and GCSE exam results found that 14-19 year olds in Wales are broadly optimistic about their prospects, with 86% believing they are ‘quite likely’ or ‘very likely’ to enter their chosen career. However, almost half (43%) said that formal careers advice has not been very influential in them reaching this decision, or that they’ve received no careers guidance at all. As a result, 27% of young people are taking their next career or education step purely because their parents told them to, and 13% of them are just doing the same as their friends – risking talented youngsters ‘drifting’ into a career they are not suited to. Encouragingly, young people in Wales are considering a wide range of options, with a third (33%) having considered Apprenticeships/ Traineeships and 23% having looked at professional training.

However, the most popular path remains AS and A Levels, with more than half of young people having considered these as future options (57%). A huge 83% of those surveyed said that they would like, or would have liked, more advice from their school or college on their future options. While 68% of young people said they would like, or would have liked, guidance from teachers, more than half (58%) said that direct advice from those already in the industry they aspire to would be helpful, and 36% named trade bodies and employers as potential sources of help.

The study indicates that the lack of careers advice could be having a detrimental effect on young people’s choices, with 78% believing that you need a degree to enter the professional services industry – for example a job in accounting. Mark Farrar, chief executive of the Association of Accounting Technicians, commented: “This research shows that the young people who have grown up through the recession are remarkably driven in thinking about their future career plans and acting on them. However, careers advice in schools and colleges isn’t keeping pace with this demand, meaning that some young people are relying on what their friends or parents tell them.

An absence of advice is also resulting in myths, such as that you need a degree to enter a career like accounting. This absolutely isn’t true, and young people should be aware of alternatives such as Apprenticeships and professional training which can create a route into fantastic careers.” The research also looked at the biggest concerns of young people, who have grown up in a time of economic austerity and uncertainty about jobs. The two biggest concerns for young people in Wales are being financially stable and unemployment, with 42% each of respondents naming them as a worry. However, these figures are lower than a similar study amongst young people carried out by AAT in 2010, in which 56% were concerned about being financially stable and 50% worried about being unemployed, indicating that young people may perceive that wider economic conditions are improving. AAT is a professional membership body which awards skills-based accountancy and finance qualifications. The AAT Accounting Qualification offers a fast-track, non-graduate route into chartered accountancy. School leavers who go through this route can qualify much quicker than someone who goes to university.

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Education

Teacher’s gruelling challenge to help visually impaired child

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TEACHER Sion Jenkins is running 100 laps around a famous Pembrokeshire landmark to raise money to help a visually impaired child in his class.

He is aiming to raise £2,000 on crowd funder platform Go Fund Me by doing laps of Carew Castle and Mill in just 24 hours, about one hundred miles in total.

Sion said: “I decided that I wanted to raise money to help purchase a trike/adapted bike to help a visually impaired child in my class.

“Due to his sight, he isn’t able to ride a bike – and is desperate to gain some independence/confidence and ride a bike like every other child.

“On the back of a challenge set by school, to complete the ‘100 challenge’ as a tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore, I decided to tie the two together and have a go at completing this gruelling challenge.

“100 laps of Carew Castle and Mill will total just under 100 miles – in less than 24 hours.”

If you would like to contribute to this epic challenge this is the link:

https://uk.gofundme.com/f/carew-mill-100-laps-in-24-hours?

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Education

Schools partnership promotes the benefits of outdoor learning

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OUTDOOR learning across the county has received a welcome boost over the past 12 months as a result of additional funding secured by the Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools (PODS) project, which has covered the cost of a Co-ordinator working directly with schools.

Thanks to financial backing from the People’s Postcode Local Trust and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Trust, the PODS Co-ordinator has been able to help with the delivery of high quality, curriculum-linked learning experiences in school grounds and local outdoor spaces.

Part of the Co-ordinator’s role is also to bring together local and national organisations, including Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s Discovery team, teachers and head teachers. Pooling their diverse knowledge and expertise, the partnership seeks to share good practice and promote the benefits of taking lessons outdoors.

Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools Co-ordinator Bryony Rees said: “Last summer, the Welsh Government recognised the importance of outdoor learning in the post-lockdown return to school. We have been working hard to support this by giving children and teachers increased opportunities to take their learning outdoors.

“We have already engaged with a number of schools across Pembrokeshire and produced some live webinars. Supporting resources for these can be found on HWB. This has made it possible to reach out to even more schools with practical information, inspiration and advice on delivering outdoor learning programmes.

“Several schools have taken the opportunity to develop their school grounds to support outdoor learning and more recently, Neyland Community School has introduced outdoor lessons every Friday.”

During the most recent lockdown, work has continued online and the PODS website has been developed to provide teachers with some learning resources. Outdoor learning ideas and inspiration for teachers and parents are also shared on the PODS Facebook page (Pembrokeshire Outdoor Schools) and on Twitter @PembsOutdoorSch.

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Education

Education announcement welcomed by Pembrokeshire County Council

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THE LOCAL AUTHORITY has said that it welcomes the Welsh Government’s announcement today (Friday, 29th January) that schools will be the first to reopen when Wales’ current lockdown restrictions are lifted.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced that the ‘alert level four’ restrictions will remain in Wales for three more weeks but following that period, there would be a ‘phased and flexible back-to-school approach if coronavirus cases continue to fall’.

He said primary school children would be the first to return, if the public health situation continues to improve, and that students studying vocational qualifications would also be among those prioritised for the phased return to colleges.

Mr Drakeford said: “We’ve seen a really welcome fall in cases of the virus all over Wales, but they are still too high and the NHS continues to be under intense pressure.

“We need to keep the lockdown restrictions in place for a little while longer to help us bring rates of the virus down further. If we can do this, we will create the headroom we need to get children back to school after half term – starting with the youngest at primary schools.

“We will work with teachers, colleges, local authorities to plan for the safe return of children to school over the next couple of weeks and keep parents updated.”

Pembrokeshire’s Director of Education, Steven Richards-Downes, will be meeting virtually with Welsh Government ministers today together with other Education Directors.

Mr Richards-Downes said: “We welcome the Welsh Government’s statement that schools will be the first to reopen, whenever that may be.

“We will continue to work directly with unions, headteachers, governing bodies and other Council services to ensure that schools are Covid-safe when they are re-opened.

“Distance learning will continue for now and parents should contact their schools directly if they have any queries regarding this.”

He added: “Any parent experiencing difficulties with digital exclusion should contact their school directly.

Free school meals payments will continue to be paid to families who have applied for them, as planned. The next payments will be made on Thursday, 4th February.

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