IB Career-related Programme (IBCP)

Project Representative
Dr. Siva Kumari
Creation Date: 2006
Headquarters: Switzerland
Nature and number of beneficiaries: 152 schools
Expertise: Unspecified

IB Career-related Programme (IBCP)

About the Project

21st century life places complex demands on graduates looking for work - so enabling students to become self-confident, skilled and career-ready learners must be an integral part of their education.

The IB Career-related Programme (CP) is a framework of international education that incorporates the vision and educational principles of the IB into a unique programme specifically developed for students who wish to engage in career-related learning.

The CP's flexible educational framework allows schools to meet the needs, backgrounds and contexts of students. CP students engage with a rigorous programme of study that genuinely interests them while gaining transferable and lifelong skills.

The CP develops students to be:

  • Academically strong
  • Skilled in a practical field
  • Critical and ethical thinkers
  • self-directed
  • Collaborative
  • Resilient and determined
  • Confident and assured
  • Caring and reflective
  • Inquirers

The CP helps students prepare for effective participation in life, fostering attitudes and habits of mind that allow them to become lifelong learners and to get involved in learning that develops their capacity and will to make a positive difference. A key feature of the CP is that it provides flexibility to allow for local differences. Each school creates its own distinctive version of the CP to meet the needs, backgrounds and contexts of its students.

The CP's three-part framework comprises the study of at least two IB Diploma Programme courses alongside the distinctive CP core and a career-related study.

The CP core is designed to create a bridge that connects each student's chosen DP courses and career-related study. It includes approaches to learning, community and service, language development and a reflective project. IB World Schools select a number of DP courses as part of the CP framework. The DP courses chosen should be relevant to the student's career-related study. 

The career-related study prepares students for higher education, an internship or apprenticeship, or a position in a designated field of interest. Each school chooses the career-related courses most suited to local conditions and the needs of their students.

Context and Issue

Worldwide, the rate of youth unemployment (ages 15 to 24) is 13 percent, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), and this is increasing. The population in this age group is projected to grow, amplifying the youth employment crisis. At the same time, employers report that vacancies remain unfilled because they cannot find individuals with the right skills.Addressing this skills gap in the labor market requires dramatic changes to the traditional approaches of career and vocational education. By offering a unique program, like the IB Career-related Programme, a greater number of students will leave school with skills they need to enter careers successfully.

Solution and Impact

The IB Career-related Programme (CP) responds to the need to address youth unemployment and the skills gap, combining strong academic content with skills education, such as vocational, technical or other career programs. A 2013 ILO report identifies four core skills to address youth employability: learning to learn, communication, teamwork, and problem solving. These are acquired through deep content knowledge, rather than taught independently. The CP supports the acquisition of these skills through this approach in the DP courses and the CP core. Educators of the CP use pedagogical methods that support student engagement and motivation, raising students’ aspirations for their future success.

The CP promotes a blend of cognitive, applied and social-emotional learning within a framework of three interconnected components.

Future Developments

In October 2013 the IB held a global summit on career-related education with experts from around the world. From that summit the IB has articulated several strategic priorities including bridging the academic and vocational divide, using new research on cognition in pedagogy and practice, and developing new workshops for professional development of educators. Originally the IB Career-related Certificate (IBCC) the CP was re-launched in 2014 as the IB Career-related Programme (CP. The IB will support the growth in the number of schools offering the CP through the regional development teams located in Singapore, The Hague, the Netherlands, and Bethesda, Maryland in the US, which will make the growth of IBCP a priority in their respective regions. As of January 2017 the CP is available in 152 schools across 20 different countries. The IB support schools in applying for authorization and obtaining the services and resources they need.

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