Report urges careers guidance ‘culture change’

Traineeships and the new 16 to 19 study programmes should include impartial job advice as part of a “much-needed culture change” in careers guidance, according to a new report.

The “practical step” is one of a number suggested in the first report of the National Careers Council, An Aspirational Nation: Creating a culture change in careers provision.

It also makes seven recommendations, including the National Careers Service (NCS) significantly expands its work with schools, young people and parents with more face-to-face guidance.

“A culture change is needed in careers provision for young people and adults in order to address the mismatch of skills shortages and high unemployment,” said the report, due out today.

Further recommendations include the creation of an employer-led NCS advisory board; encouragement for bosses to volunteer staff to give job presentations at schools and colleges; and a new scheme aimed at promoting character and resilience in a successful working life.

The NCS should also extend its online services, according to the report, with the government “playing its role in supporting this movement and ensuring these recommendations and the practical steps in this report are implemented”.

Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE, chair of the council, said: “It falls to the careers sector to make sure that both young people and adults get the help they need.

“Our report sets out seven recommendations, accompanied by proposed practical steps. We urge the government to consider our recommendations and act on them.

“If this is done, together we can create a movement to bringing about a much needed culture change in careers provision for young people and adults.”

The report of the council, set up by the government in May last year, further called for face to face careers guidance to be available to all pupils from the age of 12 (Year 8); and for all students to have a planned progression route upon leaving school.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “We know that good careers advice reduces the potential for students to become NEET, raises aspiration and motivation and reduces drop out and course switching.

“That is why we are so pleased the report recommends face to face careers guidance for everyone from year 8 upwards.

“A national telephone helpline and a website are useful for information but they are no substitute for a conversation with a qualified, knowledgeable careers professional who can help young people make informed choices.”

Tristram Hunt, shadow minister for young people, said: “With nearly a million young people unemployed, we need to give young people good career’s advice and ensure they get a high quality work placement.”

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: “Last year we created the NCS to provide professional advice; and gave schools and further education colleges a powerful new responsibility to secure independent careers guidance for their students.

“This report sets out an ambitious new path for how careers guidance needs to progress — to inspire, motivate and inform — and I look forward to working with the National Careers Council to consider the detail of its recommendations.”

Featured image caption: From left: learner Sarah Safo, Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE and Skills Minister Matthew Hancock with learners Vandrica Wilson and Grace Henry. Photo by Shane Mann

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