From education to employment

Skills Minister launches the New Careers Strategy – Sector Response

Anne Milton, Minister of State for Apprenticeships, Skills and Women at CDI

Tailored advice will be at the heart of a new Careers Strategy designed to make sure young people have the skills they need and employers want post-Brexit.

Every school and college in the country will aim to have a dedicated careers leader in place by the start of the new school year – backed by £4million of funding – who can give advice on the best training routes and up-to-date information on the jobs market, helping young people make decisions about their future.

The plan will also boost careers support in the areas of the country most in need, with £5million funding to create 20 careers hubs across the country that will link schools and colleges with local universities and employers to help broaden pupils’ horizons.

The Strategy – developed in partnership with the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and co-ordinated through an expanded role for the Careers and Enterprise Company – will help young people choose the career that is right for them, alongside the £500million investment in new T levels to deliver a world-class technical education system on par with the high-quality academic routes available.

It is part of the government’s commitment to make sure people have the skills they need to get on in life and help build a Britain that is fit for the future.

Launching the strategy at the Careers Development Institute (CDI) annual conference in Birmingham,

Anne milton100x100Skills Minister Anne Milton said:

Without access to the best possible careers support, some people will miss out on the opportunities available.

They will continue to be held back if they don’t have the right advice, at the right time to make informed decisions about their future, or may not have access to the broader experiences and role models to help them develop as people.

It matters to me that we give people from all backgrounds the best possible preparation to move into a job, or training that enables them – whatever their background or wherever they live – to have a fulfilling life.

The announcement follows the launch of the government’s Industrial Strategy which sets out a long term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK.

The Careers Strategy will include:

  • Dedicated careers leaders

We will aim for every school and college to have a dedicated careers leader, with £4 million to provide training and support for at least 500 schools and colleges, so they can give the most up-to-date advice and fully prepare young people for the world of work.

  • Quality interactions between schools and businesses

Secondary schools will be expected to provide pupils with at least one meaningful interaction with businesses every year, with a particular focus on employers from Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) industries to help deliver the high-skilled workers we need in these industries.

  • Careers hubs to be set up across the country

To support young people in the most disadvantaged areas, £5million funding will develop 20 careers hubs, led by the Careers and Enterprise Company. Hubs will link together schools, colleges, universities and local businesses to broaden the aspirations of young people.

  • Trials of careers activities in primary schools

Backed by £2million, these pilots will test out ways of engaging children from an early age on the wealth of careers available to them, helping to raise their aspirations. These trials will focus on some of the most disadvantaged areas of the country through the government’s Opportunity Areas programme.

  • Specialist advice for long-term unemployed and those with additional needs

The National Careers Service will provide access to specialist support for adults who need it most, ensuring that we help create opportunities for everyone, no matter where they live or their background.

The Gatsby Charitable Foundation has set out eight clear benchmarks for schools and colleges on good careers advice. The strategy puts employers at the centre of the careers programme, ensuring young people receive tailored advice about the training routes and work experience needed to secure a successful career in the future.

John HolmanSir John Holman, Senior Advisor to the Gatsby Foundation and author of the Gatsby Career Benchmark report said:

Good Career Guidance is the key to social mobility. For young people coming from a background of low socioeconomic aspirations, school career guidance is their best hope of charting the way to a rewarding future career. We now know, from our international study and from the work of career guidance experts, what makes for good career guidance: it is described by the eight Gatsby benchmarks which have been shown in the pilot in the North East of England to have such a powerful positive effect in schools and colleges. I am very pleased that the Department for Education has put these benchmarks at the heart of its strategy.

For the first time, schools and colleges have a clear description of what they need to do get good career guidance for each and every student, whatever their needs. Employers can equally clearly see the important part they play in a single coherent framework. The schools and colleges in Gatsby’s pilot have shown that an essential part of success lies in leadership at the school level, and I am pleased to see that DfE has acknowledged this and has committed to a programme to identify the role of Career Leaders and to help to train them.

With new technical training routes coming from 2020, and with Brexit making it more important than ever to develop home-grown skills, this is an auspicious moment at which to launch this imaginative and pragmatic strategy.

The Careers and Enterprise Company will support schools and colleges to meet these benchmarks and Ofsted will hold schools and colleges to account for the careers provision they offer pupils.

Claudia Harris 100x100Claudia Harris, CEO of the Careers & Enterprise Company says:

We welcome the Careers Strategy and its adoption of The Gatsby Charitable Foundation Benchmarks, widely recognised as the hallmark of best practice in careers and enterprise provision. We are delighted we have been asked to play an expanded role, operating as the backbone organisation coordinating efforts across these benchmarks. We also welcome the focus on Careers Leadership in schools which organisations including Teach First, The CDI and The Gatsby Charitable Foundation have highlighted as key to successful careers support. We are grateful for the strong partnerships we have developed with the Local Enterprise Partnerships, schools, colleges and employers and over the coming months we will share a plan on how we will collectively take forward the recommendations in the Strategy.

All this careers information will be brought together on one website, to be launched by the National Careers Service next year, to support people just starting out on a new career path, or those who want to re-skill or upskill. It will feature more than 800 job profiles developed with industry experts and a comprehensive list of training courses available.

Sector Response

Jan Ellis Chief Executive CDI 100x100Jan Ellis, Chief Executive, CDI, said:

The Career Development Institute  broadly welcomes the new Carers Strategy. We are delighted with the emphasis on the role of careers leaders in schools and the Gatsby benchmarks. The Minister also talked about the importance of personalised careers guidance. This is excellent but the reality is that there is a shortage of qualified careers advisers in England and there was no mention of additional resources to support their training. We also have concerns about a school-based model because it is not clear who is going to provide support for young people excluded from education; the home taught and those who fall out of the system.

 Ian Pretty100x100Ian Pretty, CEO, Collab Group, said:

The long awaited Careers Strategy aims to support the Governments Industrial Strategy and the ambition to create a truly world-class technical education system. Having a high quality TPE system will be vital to advance social mobility and extend opportunity to all young people, especially as we contend with our wider productivity and skills based challenges.

The strategy is full of good intentions but we remain concerned that is still takes a process driven approach to careers strategy. We believe that there is also a need to challenge the cultural and incentive regimes within the schools system which still encourage academic routes over technical routes. Whilst it is welcome that schools must now give providers of technical education and apprenticeships the opportunity to talk to all pupils, granting access alone does not get to the heart of the deeper cultural questions as to why technical education is not afforded the same status as academic based routes.

The fact remains that for technical education to be seen as a valid option to all learners and their parents, we also need to also look at what incentivises schools to prioritise academic based routes – for example, why would a school want to risk losing funding by sending a student to a FE College rather than staying on at the school in the sixth form?  On this account, the strategy is largely silent. Additionally, the £4 million to support schools and college to access career leaders, or the £5 million to develop 20 careers hubs, is not an investment commensurate with the ambitions of the strategy or the scale of the challenges that we face.

The strategy also talks about using data and technology to help everyone make choices about careers. The biggest target cohort of users will be 14 to 19 year old digital natives, this is a group where 90% use smartphones, 93% are accessing the internet, and 53% own tablets.  So the design must be based around how these digital natives think and act and how they access and use data. This is absolutely crucial and to truly engage young people it will be vital to provide a solution that is portable, app-based and accessible.

Fiona Aldridge 100x100

Dr Fiona Aldridge, Assistant Director for Research & Development, Learning and Work Institute, said:

We are pleased to see that the long-awaited careers strategy, published today, recognises the importance of focusing on adults already in the workforce, as well as young people about to enter it. 

In our ever-changing labour market, it is imperative that adults are able to access timely and high quality support to make informed choices about developing their skills. While we believe that it is important that all adults have access to these opportunities, it is particularly critical for those in low paid and insecure work, as well as those out of work. To be effective, we must ensure that this is properly resourced.

In the coming months, we will be working closely with government to support the Career Learning Pilots, featured in the Strategy. Working with local partners we will be testing effective approaches to engaging more adults in learning and piloting the impact of reducing the cost of courses. These pilots should provide vital evidence in supporting the government to fulfil its career learning ambitions.

Kirstie DonnellyKirstie Donnelly MBE, Managing Director City & Guilds, said:

We welcome today the publication of the Government’s long-awaited careers strategy. We agree wholeheartedly with the aspiration that every young person across the UK should have access to high quality careers advice at school and college and work experience opportunities.

It’s positive to see measures such as the promise to have a dedicated careers leader in place in each school by the start of the new school year, the 20 careers hubs in disadvantaged areas and the pledge that every child should get a quality interaction with an employer at least once a year. However, I believe that there is still much more to do and greater investment is needed to really get this right, we also need to ensure that we rigorously measure the outputs of this work to ensure that it is working effectively. It would also be good to see careers education made available in a format that will truly capture the attention and imaginations of young people by making greater use of creative online and social media solutions.

Action in this area is sorely needed to enable young people to make informed choices about what they study. Our Great Expectations research, which looked at young people’s career expectations, worryingly found that teenagers across the UK were aware of just a fifth of jobs that would be available to them. This puts the next generation on course to miss out on vital employment opportunities for their futures.

Our research also highlighted the concerning postcode lottery in careers advice that many young people across the country are facing which is exacerbating sector skills gaps and creating regional disparities. We therefore need to ensure that careers provision is properly linked to local labour markets and projected job availability. Employer engagement with schools and colleges will be key to this. Not only will this help young people understand exactly what options are available and what next steps they should take, it will support schools and colleges deliver meaningful and practical careers advice.

The Government’s recent Industrial Strategy made a commitment to putting technical education on the same footing as our academic system. Providing young people with the information to access all training and career paths available to them will be a crucial first step to establishing a world class technical-education offer in the UK.

catherine sezen 100x100Catherine Sezen, Senior Policy Manager at the Association of Colleges, said:

AoC welcomes today’s announcement as we have long called for young people to have access to informed and impartial careers advice and education embedded into the curriculum, from a much earlier age.

Alongside the measures announced today, teachers need to be using the right language to promote different pathways and it is vital that all young people are aware of the exciting range of options that are available to them at the age of 16, whether academic, technical or apprenticeships.

The strategy needs to be flexible to recognise the good work that is already taking place in a number of schools and colleges across the country. We are also keen to ensure that the forthcoming technical education reforms are properly understood and rooted into the careers strategy.

Peter Finegold 100x100Peter Finegold, Head of Education and Skills at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said:

Careers advice matters more for engineering than many other subjects. Our research shows that unless students come from an engineering heritage background, they are unlikely to know about it.

We strongly believe that high quality career guidance is the engine of social mobility. The UK has a particular challenge in that 50% of an individual’s lifetime earnings can be explained by their parents’ earnings. It’s 15% in Denmark.

We support the adoption of Sir John Holman’s Gatsby Good Career Guidance Benchmarks, but have real concerns that the original PwC costings (£207 million in the first year and £173 million per year thereafter) will not be met – and that we will end up with a new bureaucracy and little cultural change.

It is not sufficient simply “to allow providers of technical education access to pupils”. Cultural prejudices against technical education are so deeply ingrained in our society. If we are serious about developing a parity between academic and vocational learning, then we need to align careers advice much more closely with the day-to-day learning experience in schools.

We know that one of the most powerful and cost-effective ways of achieving careers-readiness for young people is through teacher placements in industry. This is why the Institution developed and funds a STEM Insight scheme, in which secondary teachers spend five or ten days in industry. STEM Insight is predicated on the fact that teachers are among the most powerful influencers of careers decision-making.

Kirstie McHugh ERSA 100x100Kirsty Mchugh, Chief Executive of ERSA, said:

ERSA welcomes the government’s announcement today of its long waited careers strategy.  This is an essential plank in any attempt to stimulate social mobility in the UK.  However, the details in today’s strategy are hardly radical, far reaching, or well resourced, with just three pages dedicated to the critical issue of supporting adults to progress in their careers. Given the UK’s low productivity and number of low level jobs, this seems a major oversight.  Instead, it appears the government is wedded to its current strategy of Jobcentre Plus delivering careers advice to not only those out of work, but also school children and those looking to progress whilst in work.  This is clearly careers advice on the cheap and not going to deliver the high skilled workforce the UK desperately needs.

We are also dismayed not to see mention in today’s publication of the Chancellor’s welcome announcement in the Budget of £8 million for ‘in work progression trials’,  which must investigate the best ways people on low pay can be supported and not just be limited to the Jobcentre Plus regime. This omission brings into doubt whether we really have a cross-government strategy at all. Instead, ERSA calls on government to develop an independent, well-resourced in-work progression service which has links through to the sectors and leaders who can shape a modern, exciting service with which people and businesses actually want to engage.  

Marc Doyle 100x100Marc Doyle, Principal and CEO, Humber UTC, said:

The government’s Careers Strategy has been launched, supporting schools and students to develop the skills and attitudes that industry is crying out for, as its ageing workforce retires. I welcome the Strategy with a big smile on my face. At the Humber UTC, a school for 14-19 year olds, we believe firmly in the importance of delivering a ‘Talent Pipeline’ that gives our students access to the local labour market.

Too often students are poorly equipped with not just the qualifications, but the experiences, the employability skills and the confidence to take some of the apprenticeships and jobs that are waiting for them ‘at the other end’. We see it as our job to make that a thing of the past.

Our curriculum is designed to support students in understanding the skills needed to be at the front of the queue for these opportunities and to give them rich experiences with business – we already meet a large majority of the Gatsby Foundation benchmarks.

As an Engineering specialist, we are part of a pilot for the North Lincolnshire Careers and Enterprise programme, so we already have that dedicated careers support, an industry based enterprise advisor and access to a wide range of business support through the Local Enterprise Partnership.

The government’s Strategy is very much needed and the success of UTCs in supporting students to find their calling has already had a massive impact, with some 97% of students from the 2017 cohort in employment, education or training – far higher than the national trend. Proof indeed that, even though qualifications can never be ignored, it’s the skills that get you the jobs.

MarkDawe 100x100Mark Dawe, Chief Executive, Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), said:

We Welcome that there is a careers strategy because it’s been a massive vacuum without one. It Seems a shame that the government  doesn’t think young people in learning at independent providers deserve any form of careers advice but Hopefully they will confirm this is an oversight and rectify the position. 

Martin Mclean 100x100Martin McLean, Education and Training Policy Advisor at the National Deaf Children’s Society said;

This long-awaited careers strategy from the Government is a welcome step in the right direction. 

We know that given the right support a deaf young person can achieve anything a hearing person can.  This is why it is absolutely essential that deaf young people are given targeted careers support to ensure that they can make the transition successfully from education into employment.

“We now urge the Government to work closely with us to ensure these warm words are urgently translated into action.

Jon Richards, head of education, UNISON said:

Although the strategy is welcome, it seems to be a series of additional short-term funding initiatives that will do little to address the huge gaps in skills across the UK.

It looks like a missed opportunity to pull together an effective and coherent careers service that could provide proper independent and impartial guidance by qualified professionals. As they stand, the plans appear to add on extra initiatives without properly linking up existing projects.

Throughout the years, careers services have been cut hugely by the government. As a result, many people are in low-paid jobs missing out on education or learning new skills. Only an effective national careers service can address and reverse this trend.

It is key that quality careers advice is planned properly and funded adequately as it can help improve social mobility, reduce levels of inactivity through training or education, and also lead to higher wages.

Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive of the Institute of Student Employers (ISE), formerly the Association of Graduate Recruiters, said:

We welcome the government’s Careers Strategy and adoption of the Gatsby Charitable Foundation benchmarks. The benchmarks have the potential to transform outcomes for students and we will be encouraging employers to help schools achieve their goals.

Employers have been frustrated that schools can be difficult to work with and they need a point of contact who will coordinate activities. Funding a careers leader in every school is a significant and positive step forward.

“We know that many employers have worked closely with the Careers & Enterprise Company, so we are pleased to see the enhanced role it has been given in delivering the Careers Strategy.

Baker Dearing Educational Trust, said:

We welcome the Careers Strategy, which emphasises many of the attributes already found in the 49 Univeristy Technical Colleges (UTCs) across England. We want to see more young people with the right aptitude directed towards STEM subjects. High quality employer engagement, coupled with industry facilities and technologies are what attract students to study at UTCs.  The UTC programme had nearly 2,000 leavers at 18 in July, in all 97% of students have stayed in education, begun an apprenticeship, or started a job. Of the others, 2% took a gap year and only 1% were NEET.”

National Careers Week CIC, said:

The directors of NCW, the social enterprise company that promotes the value of careers education, information, advice and guidance; broadly supports and welcomes the arrival of the long-awaited careers strategy as delivered by Anne Milton MP.

The Gatsby framework is universally accepted as the gold standard in achieving excellent careers learning. It provides a comprehensive framework which will take a long time and substantial investment to achieve full impact. In addition, it requires the dedicated input and support of teachers, advisers, employers, trainers and other stakeholders.

We are particularly pleased by the Government’s widening focus from just 2 to all 8 of the Gatsby benchmarks and the recognition of the role of the careers leader.

Our role at NCW has been, and will continue to be, the support of schools and educators to deliver quality and exciting careers learning to inspire our young people. We aim to harness the enthusiasm and experience of teachers, support staff, careers leaders and advisers, whilst engaging local businesses to support stakeholders and future employees.

Russell Hobby, chief executive of education charity Teach First, said:

The changing global economy and technological advances mean the world of work is evolving at a rapid pace. More than ever young people need support to make informed choices about their futures. But schools haven’t always been able to deliver this support to a consistently high standard. And it is often pupils in low income communities who miss out most on the help they need. We welcome the Government’s careers strategy, particularly the commitment to training and supporting careers leaders in schools, and we hope this reaches the schools and pupils most in need. This is something we have called for to allow schools to support every pupil to fulfil their potential, regardless of their background.

Related Articles