All About School Leavers Conference highlights

BPP Professional Education were the proud sponsors of the All About School Leavers Conference at London Imperial College.

Running for the second consecutive year, the School Leaver Conference is a two-day event to help promote understanding in the school leaver market. The two days were split between employers and career advisers, with the second day being more of a personal affair where parents could find out more on apprenticeships.


The first day was essential for anyone involved in school leaver recruitment, careers guidance or senior leadership positions within schools. It also discussed best practice and practical ideas throughout the day.

Jack Denton, who is the co-founder and director of All About School Leavers, began the day by talking about the key findings of the 2017 school leaver conference research. Some of these key findings were:

  • When presented with an anonymous choice between university or a Degree Apprenticeship, 72% of students would prefer to do a Degree Apprenticeship
  • Head teachers are poorly informed about school leaver options – 45% are unable to identify the qualification level of Higher Apprenticeships, for example – despite having a legal obligation to ensure the provision of quality careers advice in their schools.
  • The majority of parents cannot correctly name the four levels of apprenticeships. However, 78.5% of students say their parents are the ones who help them make career decisions.
  • Almost a third of parents (30%) think their child is “too smart” to do an apprenticeship

Jack said “A big part of this best practice is bringing together schools and employers, which is why events like our conference are so important. Educators can learn more about the opportunities for their students – both locally and nationally – and employers can learn more about the priorities of the young people they’re trying to reach. Whether it’s employer talks in schools, insight days for young people at company offices, or other events and ways of getting to know one-another, bringing together schools and employers is a vital part of providing young people with broad, impartial advice about the various options open to them when they leave school. And that’s what we’re all about!”

Topics that featured throughout the day included:

  • How the Apprenticeship Levy is impacting employers for attraction and also for Learning and Development
  • What will the apprenticeship landscape look like in five years?
  • Internal education within companies
  • How do young people perceive apprenticeships?
  • What does or should the school leaver recruitment cycle look like?
  • Reaching influencers, how, why and where.

The likes of EY, AGR, White Hat, BT and SMRS were also in attendance, with EY being part of the 2017 guest speaker panel.

BPP’s Presentation

This year, BPP’s focus was all around Internal Engagement – and encouraging existing staff to apply for apprenticeships. We understand some of the challenges that employers are dealing with at present, whether that is understanding the full 20% development time or operationalisation of their apprenticeship programmes, to deciding whether to embrace the apprenticeship branding.

The session’s main objectives were to:

  • Discuss the importance of educating and obtaining buy-in on apprenticeships across key internal stakeholder groups
  • Decide on whether to create an internal apprenticeship brand or not
  • See what an internal engagement journey and awareness campaign could look like
  • Explore what toolkits and which stakeholders might be needed to support internal attraction
  • Look at how to use successful pilots to drive future growth of apprenticeships at an organizational level.

Our session provided useful insights to the employers and career advisers taking part. Members engaged with audience questions such as where they were in the apprenticeship lifecycle, whether they plan to rebrand the term ‘apprenticeships’ internally, and how many of them plan to convert existing staff onto apprenticeships. If you have any more questions, or you need to find out information on the internal engagement, then you can speak to one of our experts.

Ben Lambert, strategic talent and development consultant here at a BPP who led the session, said “It was reassuring to meet so many L&D Professionals who are clearly committed to present the benefits of Apprenticeships across the organisations that they work for, but it was also clear that some were not aware of the complexities and time that it can take to introduce and implement new programmes. The advice and insights we presented can help with this, and we look forward to working with these organiastions in the future.”