New report shows massive regional variation in careers advice for young people
An in-depth study of careers advice and support for young people reveals massive variation across England. It shows that in one region there are 134 careers providers whilst in another there is one.
The report, Taking action: achieving a culture of change in careers provision, was undertaken by the National Careers Council, which was set up by Government to advise Ministers on the future of careers services. The Council will be presenting their findings to the new Skills and Equalities Minister, Nick Boles MP and an audience of business leaders, education and careers experts in London later today.
The report highlights that whilst the Government is investing £109m per annum in a National Careers Service this is mainly for adults and there is no national system for guaranteeing all young people access to good quality careers advice. A genuinely all-age careers service needs to engage young people, not just adults. Too many young people not getting the support they need to make informed choices on their study and career plans. Schools now face the biggest change to the provision of careers guidance for almost 40 years and they need more urgent support from Government.
The Council believes insufficient progress has been made towards achieving a genuinely relevant all-age careers system. The Council has studied the numerous reports which have been produced over the last two years including those by theCBI, Gatsby Foundation, IPPR, the British Youth Council and the Women's Business Council and many others all of which agree that there has been a decline in careers support for young people in England. The Local Government Association report for example stated that “only 2% of respondents agreed that schools were providing young people with sufficient careers advice to make effective decisions on their post-16 education."
In contrast, services for adults are on the increase - over 1.3 m face-to-face sessions for adults took place in 2013-2014. From a joint budget of £94m, Government has set aside £4.7m to fund the National Careers Service online for young people. The National Careers Service’s current provision for young people is mainly a telephone helpline, SMS, webchat and email service and latest figures reveal there has been a continued and steady decline in the use of these services. In stark contrast with over 1.3 m face-to-face sessions for adults it dealt with just 27,400 calls and web chats with young people.
NCC Chair's response to the Secretary of State's recent contribution to the Education Select Committee on careers work
"I am delighted to hear that the Secretary of State recognises the need to raise awareness among students of the needs of the labour market. As he says creating better links between local business and schools is needed. But this has to be brokered and further developed to strengthen individuals' connectivity to changing labour markets. Relying on local business and schools itself is not enough – we need to support better links through high quality independent careers support that shortens the distance between pupils and the world of work. Such advice is not about ‘premature specialisation’ but helping young people (and their parents) navigate the opportunities open to them and making sure young people don’t close down options too early. Robust research findings indicate poor career decisions are costly to the individual, families and UK PLC. In 2014, we are likely to see more families and businesses wanting clear signals and support to young people on career pathways and opportunities. The National Careers Council, an independent Ministerial appointed advisory body, set out practical steps for improvement in its report to Government in June 2013. It will meet again with Government officials on 30th January 2014."
The National Careers Council is chaired by Dr Deirdre Hughes, OBE, with 10 members and 3 associate experts comprising senior leaders from industry, education and careers sectors. For further information: https://www.gov.uk/government/policy-advisory-groups/the-national-careers-council
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