Better career advice needed for students at crossroad

On 10th September, Ofsted published a report revealing that the new careers guidance in schools is “not working well enough”. Three quarters of the schools visited for the survey were not implementing their duty to provide impartial careers advice appropriately.

According to two YouGov polls commissioned by education company, Pearson, only one in three teachers are confident they are providing legally required careers advice.  No additional funding was given to schools to help efficiently and effectively provide impartial advice and informational to pupils, a role previously held by local councils.  The Ofsted report also found that “the National Careers Service [NCS] is not promoted well enough and there is a lack of employer engagement in schools”. The government’s NCS offers telephone and web-based support for young people and face-to-face advice to adults.

However, critics point out that the telephone support is unaffordable with costs at 40 pence a minute, although the website does offer a free call-back service. Barnando’s Helping the inbetweeners report on the state of England’s careers provision found that the NCS is not reaching ‘in-betweeners who have few qualifications or feel disengaged from school’.

It is necessary for the Departments for Education and Business, Innovation and Skills to provide more guidance on career advice in schools. Additionally, for career guidance to be given from an earlier age so that  young people are more informed about the different careers available and teachers are more confident in providing this advice. It is important that this is achieved through collaborating with employers and using interactive educational technology.

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