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Interview? The myth of social mobility-education, careers, apprenticeships & uni

This Week is National Careers Week!

Interview Opportunity with Edd Williams - Careers & Education Expert: The myth of social mobility regarding education, apprenticeships & degrees


"I'm as mad as hell about the state of careers advice and support for young people and none of us should have to take it anymore!"- Edd Williams, author of ‘Is Your School Lying To You', a new book out January 2018 from Ortus Press, that addresses head-on the lack of current and practical careers advice for 15-19 year olds.


Edd spent years as a successful recruitment consultant and now works as an academic and careers consultant (Duart Consultants), school governor, parent and writer. Press copies of ‘Is Your School Lying To You?' are available. If you'd like to interview Edd Williams this week for National Careers Week please get in


Edd Williams is available to comment on the following topics:

  • Apprenticeships take-up is falling despite Government goal to see three million people sign up by 2020.
  • Justine Greening (on Today Programme 29thJanuary 2018), who lost her job as education secretary in the reshuffle, warned that variable tuition fees could lead to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) degrees becoming more expensive with poorer students feeling they ought to focus on "cheaper" subjects. And she said it was "wrong" that poorer students were the main losers from the scrapping of maintenance grants.
  • The government is under renewed pressure to implement a "radical rethink" of apprenticeships after a near 27% fall in the number taking up trainee posts in the last quarter of 2017.
  • The "difficult to navigate" Apprenticeship Levy isn't working!
  • Only one in three students say they feel they are getting value for money when it comes to university tuition fees.


Other talking points that Edd can answer relevant to National Careers Week:

  • How and why is the careers and university advice dished out in secondary schools so out-dated / unhelpful?
  • What impact will the Government's new Careers Strategy make to careers advice in schools?
  • How has the job market changed and what options are open to 15-19-year olds today?
  • What are employers looking for from the new generation of ‘workers'?
  • What can schools do to provide real-world advice to students during National Careers Week (5-10thMarch)?
  • Are the teachers we trust with our children's futures lacking essential skills and experience to competently advice on careers and university choices?
  • What's the point of work experience? How do you get a decent placement?
  • Does a 15-year-old need a decent CV?
  • Why is careers advice in secondary schools often so focused on university degrees?
  • What can parents do to help their children make decisions around their education and careers from a place that is more informed and unbiased than they may be getting elsewhere?


"I think young people deserve better, so that's what this book is about, to help you, the parents - know what you can do to help and why you shouldn't take everything the school says at face value or you, the student - to figure out how to make the most of the opportunities you have, to carve out the life you want."

-Edd Williams



Comment by Edd Williams:
The myth of social mobility. Or rather the lip service attempts to mobilise society. We see it blaring from newspapers, outraged Twitter accounts, cynical MPs and anywhere else your eyes dare to land nowadays. Social mobility is the noblest of causes, equality of opportunity without hindrance of hidebound sexism, elitism, classicism or any other -ism should be the goal of any right thinking, progressive society. Unfortunately, the obstacles that are placed in the way of progress are legion, but it was perhaps ever thus - what is particularly galling as we stand in the here and now is whilst awareness of certain inequalities is greater than ever, the patronising, rote solutions remain as quixotically unhelpful as they have ever been too.

"University is not the magic bullet."

The most wicked and pernicious fallacy that entire cohorts of students are facing now and have done for a while is that university is the magic bullet that will allow them to break from the shackles of deprivation and be gifted the keys to the kingdom. Too many schools, for too long, have been cripplingly myopic at best and wantonly destructive at worst in the beyond sub-par advice offered to the students when it comes to academic and careers advice. Of course they have, it's a rigged game - when you create a system where education is pitted against itself, schools fighting for pupils in some places and over-burdened in others, praying to play, of all the inequities that accompany modern day schooling the worst is surely the league tables. When a school is governed by such a competition it becomes a simple matter of box-ticking just to stay in the game, so almost unilaterally encouraging students to go to university means they get to pat themselves on the back as their 'destination' meets with league table approval. Should the metric be changed to 'life outcome' five, or even ten years after graduation, I'm certain the rush to encourage the uni path wouldn't be so ubiquitous. Schools are hamstrung by a lack of resources, an uneven playing field and metrics that set them up to fail - by removing at least some of these artificial measures of success they would be freed up to do what they do best - teach, unfettered by political jockeying.


"Saddling someone with £50,000 of debt does not qualify as social mobility."

Let me say it here as plainly as possible in case I've been foggy on this point - getting students to go to any third-rate university to study a degree in something that no employer has expressed an interest in and saddling said student with usurious debts of £50,000 (and rising) after graduation does not qualify as social mobility. It's a dirty joke that simply widens the divide. It's like trying to gamble your way out of debt. Universities remain a wonderful, aspirational destination but not a panacea for all social ills. The best and the brightest should be given every opportunity and support to get to the best university regardless of where they are starting from, but that is not the same as saying that schools should unthinkingly pursue university for their students regardless of aptitude (also regardless of background).


"Apprenticeships need to be given the same value by the system."

True social mobility will and can only be achieved by the adoption of a curriculum that weaves the academic world in with the practical one, placing careers-related learning at the heart of students' learning journeys. When students stop feeling marginalised or lesser because of not wanting to pursue Higher Education, when the lessons they are taught show them a relevance to the world they are about to move in to, when vocational and apprenticeships are given the same value by the system then and only then will students feel comfortable in schools and dare to aspire to more, even if that more doesn't meet the narrow parameters we currently operate within.


"Schools need to stop pulling the wool over the eyes of parents."

Different is not lesser and until schools stop trying to pull the wool over the eyes of parents and actually engage with careers professionals rather than farming it out to overworked, over burdened and underqualified NQTs whose only experience of writing a CV was their own a fortnight previously, then social mobility will remain a myth. 




Title:Is Your School Lying To You?

Author:Edd Williams

Genre:Education, Careers

Publisher:Ortus Press

Publication date:31Jan 2018

Availability:Paperback, eBook


Price: £11.99





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