The Career Development Institute welcomes the Government’s new careers strategy but is disappointed about the lack of support for impartial careers guidance. The strategy includes several measures to improve the careers support for young people in schools and colleges, but it falls short of the ambitions set out by the former Minister responsible for careers, Robert Halfon, to bring greater coherence across the age range and to provide lifelong careers support.
The CDI welcomes the expectations that all schools and colleges should:
- use the Gatsby benchmarks to review and plan their careers programmes
- publish details of their careers programme on their website
- have a named Careers Leader
- work towards the updated Quality in Careers Standard.
During the past two years the CDI have made a number of recommendations to the DfE and are pleased that some of these have been picked up in the strategy. The Careers & Enterprise Company is to be given a broader remit, to provide support to schools across all eight benchmarks, not just the two that focus on engaging with employers. £5M is to be invested in 20 ‘careers hubs’ to extend the good practice developed through the Gatsby pilot in the North East LEP to other areas of the country, £4M is to be made available to fund training for careers leaders in schools and colleges and a further £2M will be spent on projects to test best practice in primary schools and in work with young people with special educational needs and disabilities. And, not before time, a new National Careers Service website will be developed next year.
The CDI remain concerned, however, at the lack of any measures to improve the quantity and quality of career guidance for individuals. The strategy insists that guidance must be delivered by qualified practitioners but fails to include any incentives for schools to increase the amount of career guidance for pupils or to reverse the worrying decline in the careers adviser workforce. It is not at all clear how young people who, for whatever reason, are no longer in school can access the career guidance they need and neither is there any attention paid to the provision of career guidance to young people on apprenticeships or other work-based training programmes.
A new National Careers Service will be procured by October 2018, with a continued emphasis on support for adults with low qualifications and special needs. The Government will invest in Career Learning Pilots to test ways of engaging adults with low skills in learning. However, we remain a long way from achieving the “careers system that works for everyone” that Robert Halfon wanted. The CDI believes this can only be achieved by establishing the all-age careers guidance service that the Coalition Government promised in November 2010.
The CDI will continue to work with the Government and other partners to implement the new strategy but also continue to press for a truly universal careers service that our young people and adults need to succeed in their careers in the 21st Century.