AoC research finds half let down by careers advice

Calls are being made for guaranteed face-to-face careers guidance in the wake of a startling report.

Research released today by the Association of Colleges (AoC) shows considerable confusion among young people about post-GCSE options.

The study, released to mark the start of Colleges’ Week, found half of pupils do not feel they have received enough advice from their school or academy in planning future careers and that only half receive advice from a specialist advisor.

The research highlights the confusion among pupils about post-GCSE options.”

It comes in the wake of the government’s planned changes to create a National Careers Service by April.

Schools will be given duty to offer careers advice to their pupils – with the emphasis on how it is conducted, in their hands.

However, Joy Mercer, Director of Education and Policy at the AoC, said: “The research highlights the confusion among pupils about post-GCSE options.

“They are having to make serious decisions which will significantly impact on their futures, without enough information about the choices available to them.”

She added: “Young people deserve to know about all of the post-GCSE options available to them and their peers – including apprenticeships.

“These results suggest guaranteed face-to-face guidance from an independent source would be preferable to asking schools and academies to be the primary source of advice.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “From September 2012, schools will be responsible for securing access for their pupils to independent, impartial careers guidance.

“They will be free to determine how best to do that, including through engaging with external providers of face to face guidance.”

The AoC study involved interviews with 500 pupils, aged 14 and currently studying for GCSEs.

It found while 63 per cent of young people are able to name A levels as a post-GCSE qualification, few can name any other available choices.

Only 7 per cent of pupils are able to name apprenticeships as a post-GCSE qualification, while 26 per cent could name NVQs, 19 per cent named BTECs, nine per cent identified diplomas and only three per cent named foundation learning courses.

The report can be found here.