I said in a previous post that the main future benefit of education in 20 or so years times would be clear careers paths for all students.
Today the National Careers Council published its first annual report.
On the positive side it supports a more coordinated long-term national careers strategy in England and suggests some practical steps to achieve this. However, on the less positive side, its 7 main recommendations are pretty broad and liable to be interpreted by the Government as it sees fit. And so far there has been no response …
So while some media headlines have gone on about face-to-face careers advice being offered to all secondary school students from Year 8 (age 12/13) onwards, this is based on the report text rather than the actual recommendations as far as I can see.
A key recommendation might be this one, if it could be related to how students with specific needs manage to overcome the barriers to transition from education to employment: “Recommendation 5. The National Careers Service should launch a new initiative to bring together a range of organisations to explore and highlight the importance of ‘character’ and ‘resilience’ in a successful working life and identify realistic and effective options for addressing this issue.” This could link to practical step 3.1: “The National Careers Service must help schools to access impartial face-to-face professional careers guidance including for those young people facing the greatest risks within their school to work transitions.”
The report includes other practical steps of which I have selected one for specific interest: “Practical step 4.3. The National Careers Service should work with a range of partners to encourage and enable understanding of the effectiveness of first-hand labour market insights (careers advice, work experience, workplace visits etc) as strategic resources for primary and secondary teaching staff to challenge occupational stereotyping (eg on gender grounds), to raise awareness of careers in skills shortage areas (eg, STEM) and to make clear the real demands of future recruiters.”
This step links to Localised Strategic Education Partnerships (LSEPs) . In fact the report text goes so far in saying: ” The role of employers as essential ‘customers’ – the end ‘consumers’ so to speak of those who have benefitted from the work of education and the careers services – needs to be properly reflected within the National Careers Service. Within particular localities this can be achieved through initiatives such as Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Chambers of Commerce which are employer-led, often with local authority representatives on their Boards. Their purpose is to oversee and drive economic performance and growth in a defined geographical area. A closer working relationship between the National Careers Service, LEPs and Chambers of Commerce would enable sharing of local and national labour market information and help local careers services meets local employer needs. Local authorities also perform a key role in this regard.” Hear, hear!
Last but not least, two members resigned from the Council before the report was published because of their unhappiness with the draft. This related to the funding issue that was subsequently raised in a recent debate in Parliament – the Department for Education refuses to ring-fence funding for schools to spend on careers-related provision – the Chair of the Education Select Committee advocated an extra £50m to be put in the pot but there is little sign that this will be acted upon by the Secretary of State, Michael Gove.
The forthcoming Ofsted thematic review on careers advice in schools, which took place from January to March now looks like its findings will only be published in September. Too late for any impact on departmental budgets one suspects.