Inspired by this book that I heard about today (thanks Tristam Hooley @pigironjoe), here are two essential considerations when establishing or reviewing a school engagement strategy and some resources for further reading. 

But first, why is this important: 

"Education now needs to prepare students for more rapid change than ever before, to learn for jobs that have not been created, to tackle societal challenges that we can't yet imagine, and use technologies that have not yet been invented."

School cannot possibly achieve this without input from employers, from whom the needs directly arise. 

If your organisation needs to diversify it's staff, or better represent wider society and customers, or cultivate the skills and knowledge to survive, these four considerations may help: 

1. Mentoring staff and students

Mentoring students of course creates a pipeline of future candidates. Add a staff mentoring programme to your schools outreach programme. Careers staff are overwhelmed and under resourced. Offering mentoring creates the opportunity to close knowledge gaps, influence curriculum, and dispel myths around your organisation, industry, and profession. 

2. Strategic as well tactical approach to choosing target institutions

Data is readily available (let me know if you can't find it, I can help) to help shortlist ideal school partners by location, student diversity, destination statistics and more. Use this to build a plan that solves immediate recruitment challenges with an eye on long term systemic improvements to resolve the bigger issues your sector faces. 

Here are a couple more resources to support your wider reading: 

- Understanding the link between employers and schools and the role of the National Careers Service

- STEM university outreach tips that can easily be applied to schools

- when is it too early to start? Primary school sessions for STEM