The National Careers Council called for a ‘culture change’ in careers guidance in the summer and made seven recommendations to improve the service. Dr Deirdre Hughes says she’s happy with the government’s new action plan on the issue.

For too long, careers provision has been a Cinderella service. Many people have their own anecdotes about the careers advice they personally received.

Now is the time to think more earnestly about how to improve careers provision,
moving beyond anecdotes to evidence of positive impact, including good and interesting policies and practices in our local communities. There is an urgent need to take collective action.

I welcome the Skills Minister Matthew Hancock’s call for ‘a culture change in careers guidance’ which requires government, education, employers, training providers and career development professionals all to play their full part.

As teachers and lecturers have so often said, young people need clearer pathways into the workplace through schooling, tertiary education and training.

Having careers support to help with navigating options and making well-informed decisions based on labour market realities
is essential.

The government’s new Careers Action Plan for England is a major step forward.

This is the first time the government has had such an action plan.

It is heartening that the government has acknowledged careers provision needs to be radically improved, responding to repeated calls from people working in schools, colleges and local communities.

As with all plans, the real work lies ahead to support schools, colleges and universities to provide impartial and independent careers guidance.

Ofsted’s findings are unsurprising given major structural changes in the delivery system are ongoing in this transitional period for schools.

But we now have a new focus and direction of travel — improving careers provision, regarded by government and its partners as a social and economic priority.

In England, a revision of guidance to schools and colleges and improvements in destination measures are a step forward.

Also, innovative developments such as the UK Commission for Employment and Skills’ (UKCES) LMI [Labour Market Information] for All initiative will improve access to labour market intelligence.

But significantly more work needs to be done between education, employers and career development professionals. I would also like to see more emphasis on engaging with the voices of young people and parents in local communities.

The Minister’s Inspiration Vision sets a challenge for more businesses to step up and work more closely with education, extending the delivery of the best that exists and more.

Partnerships at a local and national level have been commonplace for some time, but the new emphasis is to make an exceptional partnership the new norm.

Clearly more people, especially young people, need access to career insights to the world of work, but it is essential that this is combined with proper access to impartial and independent careers guidance.

The National Careers Service (NCS) has to strengthen its links further with employers.

There is significant potential with its partners to harness existing and new resources to reach out and connect with young people (and parents) in local communities.

Getting people closer to ‘the line of sight to work’ and/or suitable opportunities is a common goal that involves a multiplicity of players.

We know investment in addressing the youth employment challenge now comes in many different forms, including Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), who are beginning to work more closely with the NCS and National Apprenticeship Service.

With the government’s formal endorsement of all seven recommendations of the National Careers Council (NCC), the implementation of NCS ‘practical steps’ now begins.

The culture change is underway. The NCC will continue to work with government, the UKCES and other interested parties to look ahead and find practical solutions that help support and improve careers support services for young people and adults.