Linking careers and jobs to lessons

By Gemma Taylor posted 28-04-2021 10:27


Second to parents, teachers are the most influential people that young people will encounter. Research from the Department for Education shows that when careers are discussed as part of lessons, young people are more likely to be interested in a career linked to that subject.

 As a teacher, you provide the inspirational drive and influence to engage young people with STEM subjects (science, design and technology, engineering, mathematics, computing), raising their aspirations and awareness of the opportunities that exist for them.

Independent research has shown that over 73% of businesses have struggled to recruit candidates with the appropriate STEM skills. Addressing the STEM skills ‘gap’ is among the most pressing of national priorities, important not just for economic prosperity but also for social mobility of young people.

 For those of you in secondary or FE education in England, you may have heard of something called the Gatsby Careers Benchmarks. These Benchmarks set out a standard for Careers Education in England, including a need to link careers to the curriculum in all subjects (Gatsby Benchmark 4).


So, what does linking careers to the curriculum look like?

  • Using an employer (ie STEM Ambassador) to provide context to your subject (through a competition, visit, activity, collaborative project or other planned activities).
  • Providing information on the further study routes and careers that link to the subject (through real life examples, case studies, job descriptions or other materials in lessons).
  • Highlighting the employability skills involved in participating in a project or activity and reflecting on what types of careers these skills would be useful to in the future.


If you are starting out and looking for easy ideas to try, start by linking different careers to the subject you are teaching. Once you are comfortable with these links, you can then explore making the references and contexts specific to different areas of your curriculum. Ideally over time these should be planned, as part of your normal lesson planning process.


Further guidance can be found in this Teacher's Guide to linking careers to the STEM curriculum.


Why not get involved in more careers education discussions in the Careers, Clubs and Cross-Curricular group? There are some great discussions about topics such as how to find out about different STEM careers and where to find inspiration for jobs linked to different subjects!


Join in and share your ideas for lesson ideas!




30-04-2021 16:08

Thanks @Gemma Taylor There has been a thread on exactly this on the Primary STEM group with lots of great ideas shared.
Also @Carol Davenport shared a resource she has been working on at NUSTEM which details the jobs that link with the primary science curriculum. She shared a video in a recent Slow Motion Teachmeet:
It's a really exciting area to be involved in and as Gemma says the research is that the earlier it starts the better. ​​

30-04-2021 15:19

Thanks for the slides and comments!

@Matt Wilkinson

In terms of primary - @Karen Brunyee is a good person to bring into this chat!

Starting Early and the Future at Five are 2 recent pieces of research that might be worth a quick read.​ ​​

30-04-2021 08:24

Thank you for the slide presentation Jon, this looks really useful, especially as it's more local to my area.

29-04-2021 14:46

Hi Gemma,
Nice to see you're still there.  I discuss the use of careers, etc in Science with my Primary ITE trainees but am interested in whether you've picked up on any similar literature in relation to Primary education? (or anyone else in the group).  It would be nice to see if there's any nice bits that I haven't come across.


29-04-2021 11:44

We recently developed some free school resources (lesson plans and curriculum linked worksheets) for KS1-3 that engage young people with engineering careers.

Lots of good links to different areas of the curriculum and if you are based in the West of England, then the resources are especially relevant as they are modelled on real-life engineers from this area.

Please feel free to use and share!

29-04-2021 11:25

Jon's slides are tremendous!

I have concerns about comparisons as this is an area I work on a lot with my classes (additional support needs). To be able to make comparisons they need set scales of comparison like using SI units when talking about weights and measures. 

Slides #6,#15,#22,#42 do not mention salary like the rest and instead talk about under 19 year pay allowances.

Other slides talk about specific roles at the top of the tree and big numbers.

While others mention starting salaries.

To engage and encourage the student body I feel we need to put forward the route to the big numbers and the​ emphasis on learning to get there.

I will be using elements of this marvellous work.

Thanks for sharing Jon

29-04-2021 08:32

I have created a series of careers slides that can be used in Physics lessons to identify future careers and answer the question "why are we learning this".  The link is HERE