Since 2012 schools have been responsible for delivering careers advice to our children. However, in a recent hard hitting report by education watchdog, Ofsted, it claims that nearly three quarters of the schools visited were not delivery adequate careers advice.
The report states that “very few” schools were equipped with the necessary skills to offer such advice but few still had bought in external services to ensure careers advice was carried out effectively. Ofsted also raised concerns about a lack of communication with employers and that the more academic paths toward employment were being focused upon rather than offering advice in equal measure with regard to both academic and vocational training.
Schools were also condemned for not promoting the use of the National Careers Service, which offers advice via phone and the internet. However, Ofsted did suggest that the National Careers Service did need to improve its marketing in order to reach all age groups. The report highlighted the importance of the relationship between those in employment and indeed business owners with local schools. First hand advice is far more valuable and what better way than to introduce pupils to those working within the various fields of employment. Local business owners are far more likely to offer apprenticeship and work experience schemes if they are already involved within the community and getting to know the pupils at an earlier age.
Skills Minister Matthew Hancock reiterated this important by saying “People with fulfilling careers are the ones who can really show young people what it is like to succeed in the world of work. That is why I want more employers involved in providing high-quality careers advice to the future workforce”
Ofsted’s chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said that high levels of youth unemployment made careers advice even more significant. “It is vitally important that young people have access to information on the full range of career pathways available so they can make informed choices about their next steps. Our findings show that too few schools are doing enough to ensure all their students receive comprehensive advice about the breadth of career opportunities available to them.”
This latest report has only served to fuel the fire of growing concerns of Labours’ Tristram Hunt whilst talking about the report by Committee Chairman Graham Stuart. The report demonstrates that problems with careers advice had been linked to a lack of social mobility, with poorer students less aware of the career opportunities available to them.
Mr Hunt refers to the report as a “damning indictment” of the governments changes to careers. “This goes to the heart of their economic incompetence and shows how out of touch they are. With nearly a million young people unemployed, the need for a high quality and impartial careers services is more important than ever. “Instead Michael Gove has scrapped the right to work experience, set up a ‘National’ Careers Service that young people have not heard of and got rid of independent careers advice.”
The Government has responded stating that it will issue clearer guidelines along with improvements to the National Careers Service to “give young people a greater understanding of the full range of options available to them”.
Giving our children a future
What is clear, is that in todays’ ever turbulent economy, giving youngsters the adequate means to further themselves in either vocational or academic training is crucial for further growth of our economy. With no shortage of business owners and those in employment willing to offer their help and leadership, it is without doubt both the schools and government responsibility to ensure that these opportunities are not missed.