Skip to main content

Good careers advice needs to be the norm

06 July 2016

As long term readers of this blog will know, careers advice and guidance is something the Association of Colleges (AoC) has been campaigning about for a long time. The importance of it cannot be underestimated. Careers advice and education is essential for helping young people choose their paths for the future. That’s why this week’s report Careers education, information, advice and guidance from the Commons Sub-Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy was so welcome. You will be forgiven for missing its publication. What with the ongoing political saga following the EU referendum and today’s publication of the Chilcot Inquiry, it is hardly going to feature on the news agenda. Nevertheless, its recommendations are important. The report recommends that Government policy should incentivise schools to bring their careers provision up to a high standard and to hold them to account when they fail to do so, with a schools Ofsted rating downgraded if careers provision is not effective. This is a bold statement, but something AoC has been suggesting for many years. As the Government looks to raise awareness of technical and professional education and training, including apprenticeships, it is vital that young people benefit from access to high-quality and impartial education and careers advice to ensure they are fully aware of all the routes to employment. Over the last year there have been a number of other announcements on careers advice which have been in line with our Careers Guidance: Guaranteed campaign recommendations. Last September, the Careers and Enterprise Company announced the nationwide roll-out of a network of Enterprise Advisers, through local enterprise partnerships, who would work with school and college leaders to bridge the gap between education and employment. This was followed in January when the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan MP, confirmed that the Government would introduce legislation that would allow other providers such as colleges to visit schools as part of offering impartial, transparent and informed careers advice. Both of these announcements were welcome but the emphasis on the importance of good careers advice by the potential downgrade in a school’s Ofsted rating is the right final motivation schools need to address this longstanding issue. The focus for the Government must now be to create a coherent and effective service which is delivered in the local community, supported by local enterprise partnerships and bringing together educational providers, so that young people are being given information relevant to both the local and national jobs market. Alongside this, careers education should be embedded across the curriculum through primary, secondary, further and higher education. Good careers advice needs to become the norm if this country is going to succeed across all areas of its economy. Piran Dhillon is the Head of Public Affairs at the Association of Colleges