Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders
For the last 18 months, we’ve been highlighting the importance of careers advice for young people through our Careers Guidance: Guaranteed campaign. The lack of independent advice for young people in school is hampering their ability to work out the right path for their future. That’s why today’s announcement by the Labour Party is a good starting point. It’s pleasing that the announcement includes elements of what we’ve said in our manifesto – that schools, colleges, universities and employers need to work together in hubs to provide the most appropriate advice and guidance to 11 to 18-year-olds. We believe that this is the way young people can be fully informed of the choices they have - whether academic or technical, classroom or work-based. Research we carried out last year showed that those aged under 16 turn to teachers and parents as their influencers of careers advice. But they shouldn’t be expected to rely on these people who, with the best will in the world, won’t be fully up to date with the variety of options available. The routes into careers have changed significantly in the last few years, and it would be impossible for them to be fully aware of all the pathways and their relevance to each individual student. The guarantee of face to face advice for all 11 to 18-year-olds by independent careers advisors is welcome but will not be enough in itself. As well as individual face to face advice we need to embed careers education across the curriculum. For example, however much we feel that today’s society has broken down barriers, there remains the problem of how gender stereotyping affects careers decisions. Proper careers education would help to overcome such stereotypes. Alongside this, young people could be taught about different types of business, the qualities needed by employers and many other areas, which aren’t covered by direct individual careers advice. Though less heralded in the announcement it was good also to note the commitment to wider career education in the Labour announcement. So far during the short campaign, other parties have been quiet on how careers advice could be reformed, and this is a missed opportunity for them. Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders. Let’s make sure we give them the support and advice they need to succeed.