Yesterday I was contacted by a market research company on behalf of The Department for Business Innovation and Skills who wanted to conduct a 15 minute (actually took about half an hour but that was probably my fault) telephone questionnaire into our contact and interaction with businesses. They seem to be phoning a number of schools across the country to get data about this.
The questions covered the types of interaction my school has had with businesses and from which sectors those companies operate in. From work experience placements, to mentoring schemes to mock interviews and career talks, the conversation covered the full remit of the different interactions possible to highlight any gaps in provision from certain sectors.
The final question was a “Do you have any other points to make to Bis about this topic?” type comment and I pointed out that, really, there has been enough reports recently on this subject and that any data the Department gains from the survey will probably only duplicate the known picture already widely published.
The main issue I had with the survey though was that the questions were mainly phrased for “yes or no” type answers which leads to easier data outputs but won’t accurately reflect the situation. For example, when asked if I had any interaction with the Agricultural sector I answered yes, as the list of interactions read to me covered work experience but I would be the first to admit that, just because one student has been on a work experience placement at the Rothamsted Research station two years ago, that doesn’t mean our employer interaction in this sector is of the highest standard.
It’s also interesting to consider why Bis are conducting this survey now. Will the data feed into the forthcoming updated Guidance to aid schools with their Statutory Duty for Careers? That conflicts with previous messages that the Guidance was already written and merely awaiting approval for publication. It would interesting to hear if other schools have been contacted for this survey and their take on it – get in touch.