For Careers Week, all pupils should learn about vocational routes

Now the Baker clause is law and schools are obliged to inform pupils of non-university routes, Anne Milton is expecting a careers revolution

Next week we are celebrating National Careers Week and National Apprenticeships Week. Both give young people a nudge to start thinking about what they do next. I am really pleased that this year, more employers are getting involved, with the likes of RBS and the BBC giving their backing.

One of the most common ways for people to get careers advice and guidance is during their time at school or college. I launched the government’s careers strategy at the end of last year to set out how we expand the breadth and effectiveness of careers advice for young people. We need to make sure that whatever a young person’s background, they get good advice and information.

For too long there has been too much focus on the traditional university route

We want that advice to properly outline the full range of opportunities that are out there, so young people know how to get the skills and qualifications they need – not just for now, but for the future, too. One of the key ways to do this is through contact with employers and training providers. This could be through work experience, talks from education providers and employers in the area, as well as class visits or mentoring, for example.

In order for this to be a success, it’s really important that schools and colleges understand the responsibility they now have to provide their pupils with a fuller picture of all the options out there.

For too long there has been too much focus on the traditional university route.

Under the new laws we introduced in January, schools now have a duty to make sure they are providing opportunities for a range of education and training providers to come in to talk to pupils about technical education and apprenticeships – according to what’s known as “the Baker clause”. Under the laws, schools must also publish a statement on their website which sets out how training providers can access the school in a practical and supportive way.

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I expect to see schools setting up careers events, assemblies and options evenings so that providers can talk to pupils about what they offer and what it is like to learn in a different environment.

It’s really important that every young person, no matter their background, has a good understanding of both the technical and academic routes to a rewarding job.

There is no exception to who can participate. We all need to work together to expand the breadth of information that young people get on all education and training options. It is only by talking directly to a range of providers, including FE colleges, university technical colleges, and apprenticeship providers, that young people can truly appreciate the opportunities available to them.

The focus on careers and apprenticeships this week demonstates the government’s commitment to supporting everyone to get the skills they need to get ahead, fulfill their potential and in doing so help to boost the economy of the future. I want this new legislation to be the start of a change in how schools and parents look at what young people do in future, and give all pupils access to these exciting career options.

Do have a look at the careers strategy. I hope this will help you to highlight the opportunities available. Please get in touch with your local school or college and find out how you can support them, and if you have any problems do let me know.

Anne Milton is Minister for skills and apprenticeships

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One comment

  1. LRoding

    Why do I feel underwhelmed? It’s quite clear Ms Milton has little or no clue….plus ca change!

    Anyone who thinks that this will make any real difference is deluding themselves