New pathways to career success

Last updated:

The IB Career-related Programme (formerly IBCC) will provide the opportunity for more students to access an internationally recognized education as it becomes available to all schools

The IB’s latest programme, the IB Career-related Programme (CP), has grabbed huge interest since its launch in 2012. It’s currently taught in 14 countries, in over 87 schools and this is expected to increase to over 100 schools this year as it moves into its next phase.

All schools around the world are now allowed to apply for CP authorization. CP schools will deliver the CP core, IB Diploma Programme courses and a career-related study provided by the school. As a result, more students will benefit from an internationally recognized education, while gaining the experience and skills necessary to specialize in a career path of their choice.

Non-IB World Schools have been invited to apply for candidacy and, in April 2016, those schools will begin an authorization process, which is similar to that for the IB Diploma Programme. Successful schools will be authorized in 2018.

More flexibility

“The IB has always sought to increase access to an IB education for all students and allowing non-IB World Schools to apply for CP authorization does exactly that,” explains Dominic Robeau, Acting Head of CP Development.

“We’re very excited about offering the CP to all schools. It provides flexibility that enables schools to tailor the programme to suit their particular needs and context, and specialize in career-related pathways – whether it’s higher education, internships, apprenticeships or the world of work.” Existing CP schools have welcomed this flexibility.

Paul Luxmore, Principal at Dane Court Grammar School in Kent, UK, says: “The genius of the CP is that it gives academic validity to vocational study and applied validity to academic study. It allows us to construct an offering that suits the individual needs of our students and our school.”

The IB hopes that this particular element will draw interest from a diverse range of schools and communities. At present, the most popular subjects are related to business, engineering, visual and performing arts, hospitality, sports and IT. 

But the number and variety of these will increase as more schools offer the programme. “Career-related studies are becoming increasingly important in the world,” says Robeau. “There is a growing realization in many countries that students need a more defined focus on where they are heading after their studies.”

New insights

Schools currently offering the CP may be concerned that the next phase may impact them negatively, but Robeau says that this is not the case.

“With a more diverse group of schools as part of the IB community delivering the programme, current CP schools will be able to access a rich collection of experiences and opinions that may offer unique insights into alternative methods of delivering the CP successfully,” explains Robeau.

The CP has allowed Earl Wooster High School in Nevada, USA, to reach out to even more students, exposing them to wider career choices to match their interests. Upon graduation, students are more likely to enter their desired career field equipped with the necessary skills, believes Principal Leah Keuscher.

She feels that the CP also fosters community support and builds partnerships with local businesses. “I often say this is an amazing time to be in education, as we are creating new partnerships with businesses, and bringing relevant experiences and real-world opportunities to our students and teachers,” she says.

Revised core

To reflect the more inclusive approach of the next phase, and in answer to feedback from current CP schools, the IB has revised the CP core for first teaching in 2016. It previously consisted of approaches to learning, community in service, language development and the reflective project.

Robeau explains: “The approaches to learning course has been revised and the theme of applied ethics has been added. Community and service has been renamed ‘service learning,’ given that this is its focus, and the reflective project has been revised. “Previously, students were assessed at the end of the project. Now students will be asked to reflect on the process involved and these reflections will be assessed, as well as the end product of the reflective project.”

Luxmore has seen a positive change in students who are studying the CP, and credits this to the programme’s core. “Students are encouraged, required even, to work as a team,” he says. “All employers these days want young people who can work effectively as a part of a team, who can learn from mistakes, take considered risks and be responsible for themselves when required.

The CP actively develops each of these qualities.” Scott Murphy, Principal at Watkins Mill High School in Maryland, USA, believes the CP has brought uniformity to the school’s existing programmes. He says, “It has allowed us to put the ‘IB umbrella’ over all our career programmes, which has solidified the IB culture in the school as a whole.”

21st century preparation

According to research by the IB, the CP prepares students for the 21st century as it facilitates skills such as self-management, critical thinking, written communication, intercultural understanding and collaboration.

Robeau believes the CP has strong potential to become a world-class leader in career-related education. “It’s a programme for the present and the future,” he says. “It is suited to a vast range of students and provides articulated and identifiable pathways, and that is really important.”