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To the generations of us who remember being asked what we wanted to be when we grew up and being told, no matter what it was, that we had to go to university, the idea of good careers guidance is a bit of an oxymoron.
I am sure I am not alone when I say careers advice was the only bit of my education that let me down.
I was lucky enough to receive guidance outside my school, which led me to the eminently sensible decision to duck the low-hanging branches of an expensive higher education and get immediately out into the real world.
But others are not so lucky, and with the number of 16 and 17-year-olds not in education, employment or training (Neet) having risen from 31,000 between July and September to 38,000 between October and December last year, the need for advice which can get young people back into work or training is as strong as ever.
As so many of our knowledgeable experts in this supplement point out, we are living in a post-Connexions world in which schools have been ordered to fill the void, impartially.
The page opposite paints the picture of this world, how we got here, and what next.
New statutory guidance for schools is key to government hopes for the future of careers guidance, and it is covered across the following four pages.
The post-Connexions world was intended to be one where the newly-established National Careers Service (NCS) would provide key support for schools and colleges, but it has faced its own issues surrounding the nature of its delivery and also funding. These issues are outlined on page 10, along with a view of the future of the NCS from its director, Joe Billington.
Skills Minister Matthew Hancock has previously spoken of the role of the NCS and has now ushered in the new statutory guidance for schools. He faces tough questioning on careers guidance on page 11, before fellow politicians from Labour and the Liberal Democrats have their say on page 12.
Amid the calls for action, and the issuing of new statutory guidance, came a key report on what a school’s careers guidance service should look like — and what it would cost. Professor John Holman was the author and he discusses his report on page 13.
With this focus on schools and their provision, Ofsted gives its view on the situation bearing in mind its inspectors now look at the service before the views of lecturers, learners and practitioners are represented, across pages 14 and 15.
As always, you can tell us what you think on the FE Week website and on Twitter @FEWeek.