It all started over 6 years ago now with Government cuts to Youth Services and the demise of the Connexions service.
There had been many critics of Connexions but there can be no doubt that given such a wide portfolio ranging from pastoral care to careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG), more investment was required to help it succeed.
Seeing a gaping hole starting to appear for future generations as a direct result of these cuts, I started the SaveCareers Campaign on Twitter – the rest is history as they say.
There was a groundswell of support for the campaign among disgruntled and passionate careers professionals across the UK and it became clear that vast cohorts of young people in education were going to suffer from poor, little and/or no quality CEIAG. A postcode lottery developed.
I felt compelled to act and so National Careers Week was born from a small office next to the train station in Cambridge - to be the catalyst for quality Careers provision in a time of great need.
6 years on and I have to pinch myself when I look at how NCW has grown – in 2015 we reached over 1 million young people in the UK, providing free careers resources, employer visits, mentoring and putting CEIAG on the map for a whole week in March.
Over 1,700 secondary schools and academies, 350 Further Education Colleges and over 90 Universities took part in 2015. I feel incredibly proud and grateful as NCW has now become firmly embedded within the calendars of educational establishments, employers and Government Agencies alike.
So, what can you do to help?
If you are an employer there is much you can do – but you could start with ensuring good local contacts with schools and colleges in your catchment area and perhaps offering to support Careers Fairs and offer mentoring support for students. Anything and everything you can do to help WILL make a difference to a young person, so why wouldn't you do something to help for 1 week of the year?
Finally, if any of you reading this short blog are active on Twitter – then look out for the #NCW2016 tag for the campaign and get involved with retweeting and sharing content from the @CareersWeek channel – in 2015, our Twitter campaign had an amazing 70 million REACH.
Fellows of the RSA, thank you for your time in reading this – but please make a positive difference between 7th - 11th March 2016 for National Careers Week and the UK's young people.
Nick Newman has worked in the field of careers media for over 20 years. He is also the Founder of Careersbox, the first ever free online careers video platform for education, an initial member of the Barclays LifeSkills Council, winner of the Careers Champion Award and a Guardian Top 10 Follow on Twitter. A very active user of Twitter he can be found on @newmanswords
Nick Newman FRSA
Founder, National Careers Week
t: 01223 410333
m: 07941 887640