RSA Cambridge Group
Meeting at ideaSpace: 13 July 2011
How can we encourage some of Cambridge's fine minds into schools
to improve literacy and numeracy? (If indeed we feel these are the most
important things to improve. Employers and universities are telling us that
it is the other softer and higher order skills that are more important and
are in need of development).
Adaptability is important. What are employability skills? What do
good employees look like?
One proven model (as piloted by Sawtry and Microsoft) relates to
providing young people with workplace experiences that open their eyes to
new possibilities, and which show what work is like now (as opposed to the
often grey and uninformed view offered by many in schools).
The idea is to show what the world of work can offer in the 21st
century. It's far less about what you wear and what you know, and more
about flexibility, teamwork, adaptability and commitment.
As a region, we're not short of workplaces with a wow factor. And
the RSA is surely well placed to enable visits to most if not all of these.
Can the regional RSA group use its contacts and influence to
initiate visits for schools into some of the area's most exciting
In terms of resources and reach, this would only really work if
the groundwork were done by an organisation like the Chamber, BusinessLink
or the like.
There could be some possibilities for Fellows to get involved with
mentoring, but that would be a bureaucratically intensive thing to set up,
and has an impact that is limited in scope. We need to identify ways
of making as great an impact for as many students as we can.
There could also be the possibility for the development of a
challenge. An event based on The Apprentice, or some other teamwork
activity, perhaps to mirror the international robotics competition in which
Hills Road students have tended to excel.
Sitting behind this action oriented plan is a set of objectives to
(a) enhance the quality of careers awareness amongst young people in the
region, (b) to challenge the prevailing vocational/academic divide by
focusing on employability skills for all (which tend to coincide with the
sort of higher order skills (21st Century skills) required by universities
too), and (c) to provide a way for schools to improve their young enterprise
and employer links work.
See also notes by Ben Gibbs on 21st century skills