Call for clarity on government’s careers guidance plan

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

Concerns have been raised that none of the mainstream political parties have explained exactly how they believe the state of careers guidance in England should be improved.

In January, the Conservative government revealed its intention to publish a comprehensive careers strategy. However, nothing was published before the General Election and there has been disappointment that the Conservative manifesto includes no mention of careers guidance.

Furthermore, while the Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP manifestos each included a single sentence committing to an improvement in careers support for young people and adults, no further details have been forthcoming.

There have been concerns over the state of careers advice and guidance in England ever since the coalition government axed funding for the Connexions service and placed the duty to provide independent careers services on schools instead.

A 2013 Ofsted report, Going in the Right Direction?, found that many schools were failing to deliver effective, independent and impartial advice to pupils. And in 2015, the Career Development Institute (CDI) reported that around a third of schools have dropped careers education from the curriculum in years 9 to 11.

In 2016, a joint report from the Education Select Committee and the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee – Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance – found that the quality of CEIAG across England is still “patchy” and that provision was “often inadequate”.

The report warned that some groups are “significantly less likely” to get good careers provision, including girls, ethnic minorities, working class, low-attainers and students who are unsure of their aspirations or who plan to leave education post-16.

The manifesto concerns have been raised this week by the CDI, a professional careers advice body, and trade association Careers England.

A joint statement said: “We have consensus across four of the main political parties in England that something must be done, but a worrying lack of specific proposals.

“This General Election is taking place at a time of great uncertainty nationally. Whatever form Brexit takes, it is likely to bring both opportunities and challenges.

“For the UK to remain competitive and for the economy to grow in a global market, the nation will need to be more self-sufficient in developing the skills of its workforce. We will need to ensure a good match between the skills that individuals develop and the demands of the labour market.

“For the health of the nation and the wellbeing of its citizens, we will need lifelong access to career guidance for all young people and adults.”

The CDI wants the next government to ensure that all careers advisors are professionally qualified, with all schools being encouraged to adopt the eight benchmarks of good practice as identified in the 2014 Gatsby Foundation report Good Career Guidance. It also wants to see:

  • The statutory duty to include careers education in the curriculum reinstated and extended to age 18.
  • All schools encouraged to appoint a careers leader.
  • Career development co-ordinators appointed in all local areas, to support schools and careers leaders.
  • The National Careers Service reconstituted into a truly all-age career development service.

Good Career Guidance, Gatsby Foundation, 2014:


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