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Government has listened on careers advice

27 January 2016

Not for the first time, this week’s blog is about careers advice and guidance. This is a topic which we at the Association of Colleges have waxed lyrical about many times over the years. However, it is with good reason. Careers advice and guidance is essential for helping young people choose their paths for the future. That’s why this week’s announcement from the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan MP, is so important. A new law is to be introduced which will ensure that staff from colleges can visit schools to talk to young people about the range of opportunities open to them. It seems that after talking about it for so long, at least since 2008, the message has got through. Now the cynics could say that this move is partly political. The Government has set a very stretching target of three million apprenticeships over this Parliament but, without young people knowing what they are this pledge would be doomed to failure. Even if the decision is driven to an extent by politics, it is still is welcome. It’s a positive move for colleges, but much more importantly it’s a positive move for the thousands of young people in secondary education. Our research has shown that young people primarily get their careers advice from their parents and teachers who, with the greatest respect, often do not know about the full range of opportunities available to young people today. It’s no longer a case that to get a job you need to do A Levels and go to university. In fact with the job market the way it is, other options should be actively explored. Once the new law is introduced, colleges will be able to provide young people with details about the different routes to enable them to make a well-informed decision about their future. Colleges recognise the critical nature of good careers education and will be very keen to continue working with their local schools. This announcement will make that a reality. This is something that we, and colleges across the country, have been requesting for a long time. It’s great to hear that the Government has listened to our views and acted upon them. Catherine Sezen is the 14-19 and Curriculum Senior Policy Manager for the Association of Colleges