The four main themes of the government’s widely anticipated careers strategy have been set out by the skills minister, in a speech delivered at the Careers Education and Guidance Summit.
Anne Milton said the strategy would be published “shortly”, speaking at the event in London today.
“I am tremendously grateful for the work that you do. That is why I want to give you a first insight into the careers strategy. I know many of you in this room have been waiting a long time for this,” she told delegates.
“It will be an important document that will set out what government will do to ensure that everybody has access to the right advice at the right time. A clear and accessible document, setting out the part we will all play in achieving this vision.”
The first theme is ensuring a “high-quality careers programme” in every college and school.
This will be largely achieved, she said, through making the eight “Gatsby benchmarks” the “bedrock of our careers strategy”.
These markers, set out through the Gatsby Charitable Foundation’s Good Career Guidance, include the need to link curriculum learning to careers, and learn from career and labour market information.
The second pillar is making sure employers “are an integral part of our approach”.
She claimed that the Careers and Enterprise Company had made “outstanding progress”.
“There are now over 2,000 enterprise advisers working with over half of the schools and colleges in England providing support to develop a careers programme,” she said.
“They use their networks to help pupils get more experiences of the world of work and provide insight into the key skills needed by local businesses.”
The CEC is thought to have been backed by more than £70 million of government funding, and boasted of working with over 700 schools and colleges last July.
Yet FE Week last December reported criticism of a very mixed bag for its engagement with colleges – as opposed to schools which are generally viewed as the organisation’s priority – around the country.
We had repeatedly pressed the Careers and Enterprise Company, which was set up in July 2015 to connect young people with the world of work, for details of the colleges that it works with.
After being told three months earlier that we couldn’t have the information for “data protection” reasons, we were finally given a list showing a postcode lottery for FE coverage, with 15 LEPs not covered – and London completely absent.
The third theme will be making sure everyone can benefit from “tailored support”.
“Personal guidance from a qualified adviser can have a real impact. I know that the careers profession has experienced many shocks in recent years and that organisations such as Careers England and the Career Development Institute are working tirelessly to raise the profile and status of the profession,” she said.
Finally, Ms Milton said the careers strategy would seek to make the most of the “rich sources of information about jobs and careers that exist”.
She admitted that such “information sources can be difficult to navigate and those who could most benefit from them are sometimes unable to”.
She added: “The government already publishes data on students’ destinations, but we recognise that more needs to be done to make the data easier to interpret.”