Teachers unskilled to provide careers advice

The fifth annual Colleges Week has kicked off with the publication of a report that shows schoolteachers and parents are struggling to give youngsters the right advice to prepare for the world of work.

Colleges Week bosses are hoping students and lecturers will take part with a host of events up and down the country and are calling on event organisers to tweet what’s happening using #collegesweek as a hashtag.

The theme of this year’s week, which ends on Sunday, is employability and work readiness.

“This study shows that teachers, in particular, recognise they are struggling with this challenge.

Research released by the Association of Colleges (AoC) to mark the event suggests that 82 per cent of teachers felt that they didn’t have the appropriate knowledge to advise pupils on careers.

The research further claims that 44 per cent admitted giving a pupil bad or uninformed advice in the past, and that 82 per cent wanted better guidance on advising pupils about their options post-16.

Twenty per cent of parents felt out of their depth advising their children about careers, while 32 per cent said they only felt comfortable talking about jobs they knew.

Joy Mercer, AoC director of policy, said: “Overall parents and schoolteachers exert more influence on a young person’s education choices than a school careers adviser.

“This study shows that teachers, in particular, recognise they are struggling with this challenge.

“Careers advice is a professional discipline that requires training and development, and we know that many school budgets cannot stretch far enough to fund this resource.”

Colleges Week is supported by The Skills Show, the UK’s biggest careers and skills event, which takes place at the NEC Birmingham from Thursday to Saturday.

A Colleges Week spokesperson said: “The idea of the week is to showcase the vital role that colleges play in providing young people, adults and businesses with the opportunities they need to succeed. This year’s theme aims to highlight how colleges can improve people’s chances of getting into work and help businesses to grow.”

She added: “It is supported by The Skills Show, and much of the materials developed have been designed to complement Skills Show activity. For instance, we created a guide for colleges to engage schoolteachers with have-a-go events.”

New Facebook application Quizl has also been launched to mark Colleges Week. It is for 14 to 18-year-olds and aims to get them thinking about their future.

Available from www.quizl.co.uk, it has been developed in with careers advice experts from Babcock Lifeskills.

Send a write-up of your Colleges week event, including pictures (with captions) for inclusion in FE Week to news@feweek.co.uk. The best five contributions will win an FE Week mug full of sweets.