Spiral Skills’ Emma Allen lends her thoughts on how comprehensive careers guidance can help lead young disadvantaged people in the right direction

Spiral is a firm champion of inclusive careers education and guidance. We are an apprenticeship advocate, tackling the outdated notion of university being the most esteemed and relevant pathway. It’s not news to anyone that there is a prevailing inequality in education, a looming and costly skills gap being felt across all industries (£2 billion they say!), and a population of young people feeling disenfranchised by society. Our efforts are focused on young people that can’t pull on family networks as a springboard to jump the skills gap. We work with the young people who haven’t had access to as many enriching and developmental opportunities often in underfunded schools with over stretched teachers. They are a demographic whose first language isn’t always English, who may suffer from learning disabilities or have a family who needs them to provide stay at home care. The barriers and complexities surrounding young people’s circumstances are endless, and a one size academic approach to careers education simply doesn’t fit all.

Spiral’s pre-apprenticeship programmes are intensive and individualised for that very reason. We showcase a variety of roles in high need industries to enable young people to make better-informed life decisions. You can try products before you buy them, so why don’t we allow young people to sample a life choice, before they make it? We use workplace staging, a methodology that sees young people learning by doing rather than nodding off from listening for too long. By replicating the working world in the classroom we ensure they gain relevant skills and up to date insight. Our insistence on collaborative learning and expert feedback at the end of each session helps to develop essential transferable skills. Our professional interactions give young people a relevant and impartial reference point, an inspirational role model they may not have had in their life. Our personal development sessions get young people to evaluate their values, and build their self awareness so they have the metacognition to continue to progress after our intervention. With developed transferable skills, emotional capabilities, and invigorated aspirations, the workplace becomes a lot less daunting than it once seemed. Now they are excited about their future, equipped with the skills to achieve their potential and motivated to strive for a fulfilling career.

At the core of our service are the collaborations between educational institutions, training providers and local employers. Without these partnerships, we couldn’t reach our young people, our content wouldn’t be relevant and we would have no employment opportunities. It’s a complex network to tackle a complex issue. Which is why we are proud and encouraged by our partnership with The Collab Group. Colleges have the already tall order of educating thousands of students, whilst being asked to simultaneously unravel the mysteries of the job market. Then there’s getting your head around content to showcase careers effectively, and regularly networking with employers to ensure you are providing young people with trustworthy pathways when they leave. Fortunately, these are exactly the headaches Spiral has been working on so colleges don’t have to. We facilitate our programmes so no teacher needs to take time out of their day, we design content based on briefs from industry professionals to run alongside and complement the curriculum, and have built networks in construction, media, hospitality and health, and social care to bring your young fantastic opportunities from industries crying out for them.

To find out more about how we can partner to support your most at risk learners, contact Emma Allen on, or follow @spiralskills

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