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Raising Aspirations and Challenging Stereotypes

Students need inspirational activities and encounters in order to help raise aspirations.  Too often students have low expectations and believe that there are certain ‘limitations’ on the opportunities available to them.  These perceived limitations can be unwittingly reinforced by the significant adults in a student’s life.

There is often so much information about career options that students can easily become overwhelmed and switch off, failing to properly investigate what is being offered.  Conversely a single encounter with an inspiring employer can be enough to spark the interest of a student and have a huge impact on their own aspirations for the future.

Encounters with employers & alumni

Employers who share their work route journey and the nature of  their role can have a huge impact on a student in terms of what might interest them as well as what is achievable.

  • It is essential to break down any barriers which might be hindering a student from reaching their potential, challenging stereotypes in all areas
  • Social mobility research shows that almost half of people believe backgrounds define limitations in the workplace
Planning career activities
  • Ensure the activity offer is not reinforcing stereotypes or generalisations which might prevent further exploration from students.
  • When inviting professionals in to speak with students, seek examples which challenge gender stereotypes (Female engineers, male nurses and carers, female coders, male nursery nurses)
  • When discussing different industry sectors ensure a range of roles are covered and not just the stereotypical ones
  • Find inspiring speakers from deprived backgrounds that have achieved successful careers
Quality question

Take a moment to reflect on how your careers plan raises aspirations and challenges stereotypes.

  • Does your take up in subjects reflect a gender bias?
  • How is your careers programming addressing this?