In April 2020, Careers England and the Career Development Institute (CDI) in partnership with dmh associates, conducted an online survey to identify how careers companies and careers professionals in England were responding to the impact of Covid-19 and the social distancing lockdown measures.
View the full report here
The main purpose was to investigate how careers companies and practitioners were responding to customer needs and to identify current trends and recommendations to inform public policy.
The survey took place between 24th April 2020 to 10th May 2020. This was primarily aimed at careers companies and practitioners in England1 . The findings highlight a key question for citizens during and after the pandemic is where do I go to for careers support?
Main recommendations include the urgent need for:
• a national Youth Employment Taskforce with cross-departmental ‘buy in’ and joint action plan. Government departments to adopt a more joined up approach, particularly between DWP and DfE, including the National Retraining Service, to clearly signpost individuals to quality-assured career development professionals’ support services.
• every young person in school or college aged 16 -19 (in Years 11-13) to be immediately guaranteed a careers interview with a trained and qualified career development professional to ameliorate the effects of exams cancelled and to ensure young people’s progress is not impeded. This would ensure young people would have as a minimum careers support contact worker and a personalised plan. The Department for Education (DfE) has a duty of care to these young people.
• an enhancement of the existing September guarantee so that all young people, particularly those facing the likelihood of unemployment including apprentices and trainees, receive careers coaching, guidance and/or mentoring support.
• a highly visible national media campaign to promote careers support available to young people and adults, including telephone helpline, web resources and where to find local careers advice from trained and qualified careers advisers/ coaches.
• a broadening of the National Careers Service to include face-to-face careers support for all young people, similar to other parts of the UK i.e. a recognisable place to go for high quality careers support. The role and remit of the Careers and Enterprise Company should also be reviewed in this context and the DfE / Education and Skills Founding Agency (ESFA) should revisit and assess the efficacy of the current Payment-By-Results arrangement.
• a local careers support framework in each local authority/local enterprise partnership (LEP) area designed to champion young people to employers with a relentless focus on opportunities, particularly those with special educational needs (SEN) at risk of being pushed further away from the labour market.
• a minimum guaranteed income for those most vulnerable to assist and support their transition to learning, training and/or work.
• a system in place for career development professionals to track destinations and offer additional wrap around support for those most vulnerable and those not in education, employment and/or training (NEETs).Whilst this is a Local Authority responsibility, it is not carried out to the standard that was provided a decade ago given Local Authorities budget cuts – greater investment is needed at the present time.
The National Careers Service in England already works with Local Authorities, Community Groups, Colleges, Housing Associations, Voluntary organisations etc., serving the needs of adults. More recently, area-based contractors have a new responsibility for providing a telephone helpline service.
Prior to the pandemic, European and world organisations called on governments to invest in career guidance. Many employment support programmes start with CV writing or providing evidence of job search; however, the first challenge for many people who experience job loss or other barriers is to build their confidence, understand their own interests and skills, and identify opportunities that might fit them well.
Whilst many careers companies and careers professionals currently feel under-valued by government in England, they know for sure that in whatever scenario that lies ahead their services will be needed and they are poised and ready to respond.