From education to employment

Career Guidance Guarantee: More than 1000 Organisations, MPs and Lords rally together

Jan Ellis, Chief Executive at the CDI
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#CareerGuidanceGuarantee for young people and unemployed adults – @theCDI 

The Career Development Institute (CDI) along with more than one thousand organisations, Lords and MPs have signed an open letter to government calling for a Career Guidance Guarantee for young people and unemployed adults.

The UK faces an unprecedented period of turnover in its labour market as 800,000 students leave education and many people face redundancy as the furlough scheme winds down.

Sent to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson yesterday (6 Jul), the letter calls for a Career Guidance Guarantee through a £26 million fund that would be channeled immediately through existing agencies until the end of 2020.

The Guarantee would ensure that everyone aged 16-19 in education, all education leavers, those who are already NEET, and adults who are unemployed, would have access to quality personal career guidance to help them move on to further education, employment or to additional training and apprenticeships.

Over 250 organisations and almost 900 individuals including MPs, the Chair of the Education Select Committee, Members of the House of Lords, and key opinion formers signed the letter.

It is supported by An emergency career development plan to maintain employment, productivity and progression post-Covid-19. As well as short-term investment, the plan calls for a new careers strategy to be published in January 2021 and a review of the current career guidance system.

Jan Ellis, Chief Executive at the CDI commented:

“This has been an unsettling time for young people and their ideas about their next steps will be changing. They will be seeking reassurance and up-to-date information on the opportunities available yet once schools and colleges close for the holidays, there is nowhere for them to get personal careers guidance.  Meanwhile those not in education have very limited access to guidance and services for adults are increasingly stretched.

“We need to act now to reach those most in need of support. A Career Guidance Guarantee is a critical step in a much needed, more joined-up approach. It will help young people and adults make sense of the labour market and find the best education, training and employment opportunities for them. Providing enhanced personal guidance makes economic sense too, because it will contribute to a high skills and high productivity recovery.” 

Lord Jim Knight of Weymouth said:

“This is a hugely uncertain time for job prospects.  There has never been a greater need for an all age professional careers service.  I hope the government is listening and will deliver the funding such a service so desperately needs.”

Lord Mike Storey, Lib Dem Education Spokesperson House of Lords said:

“During this very difficult period, it is more important than ever that young people get professional careers guidance.”

Professor Tristram Hooley, Chief Research Officer, Institute of Student Employers said:

“Covid-19 has already seen a massive contraction of the labour market. For young people leaving education or workers being made redundant this will be a very difficult time to find a job. It is vital that we have high quality personal career guidance to support people to find work or training that will drive their career forward and help to rebuild the economy.”

Clare Viney, Chief Executive, Careers Research & Advisory Centre said:

“CRAC urges the government to invest in the Career Guidance Guarantee and reinforce careers guidance now to avoid a lost generation of young people and minimise negative effects on those whose job circumstances have changed as a result of this crisis. CRAC provides research, intelligence and innovation services for all those who support career development; we would welcome the opportunity to contribute to a much-needed review of England’s current fragmented careers provision and creation of a more robust lifelong system.”

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Laura-Jane Rawlings, Chief Executive Officer, Youth Employment UK said:

“Young people tell us that one of their biggest barriers to employment is not knowing what careers exist, they also say that they would like more 1-2-1 support, they want to work with professionals who can put the opportunities available into their own context and support them on their journey to employment. This is why Youth Employment UK supports the call for a Career Guidance Guarantee and hopes that the needs of young people and the support to help them transition will be a government priority.”

Kieran Gordon, Executive Director, Careers England said:

“Careers England fully endorses the Career Development Policy Group letter to The Secretary of State for Education. Now, more than ever, individuals need a guarantee of informed and expert help to navigate the changing opportunities in the labour market.”

Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE, Director, DMH & Associates said:

“Both school and college leavers need urgent guidance on available options and choices – this must not simply be left to chance! A tsunami of youth unemployment is expected, therefore Government has a responsibility to ensure every young person in England has access to trained and qualified careers advisers in their local community.”

The letter to Gavin Williamson in full:

6th July 2020

Dear Mr Williamson,

This September, 800,000 young people will be leaving schools, colleges and universities, hoping to join the labour market. In addition, many young people that were due to head to university this year are considering withdrawing due to Covid-19. With 8.4 million people already furloughed and uncertain about their futures, it is likely that young people with little work experience behind them will face unprecedented struggles in the labour market.

The quality of career education and guidance in schools and colleges has been improving in recent years. Nonetheless, Covid-19 and the lockdown add additional barriers to delivering career education and guidance in schools and other education settings. Meanwhile those young people who are not in education have very limited access to career guidance and career guidance services for adults are increasingly stretched.

We are therefore calling on the Government to publicly commit to a Career Guidance Guarantee so that everyone aged 16-19 in an education setting, those leaving the education system, those who are already NEET, and adults who are unemployed, will have access to quality personal career guidance to help them move them on to further education destinations, employment or to additional training and apprenticeships.

High quality career education and guidance, including the opportunity to speak one-to-one with a careers professional, is now more important than ever in preparing young people for the world of work, supporting adults to manage career transitions and better aligning careers aspirations with labour market demand.

Between July and December, the UK will be facing an unprecedented period of turnover in its labour market. Young people will be leaving education and making key decisions about their futures just as the furlough scheme is coming to an end and redundancies are starting to take place, reducing opportunities. Meanwhile, widening participation places are being frozen across UK universities, meaning that the most disadvantaged young people who have been thrown off track by COVID-19, may have removed university as an option altogether. It is therefore crucial that all young people have access to personal career guidance to help them to access the opportunities available to them.

Through a Career Guidance Guarantee we are asking the government to provide a short-term fund which would ensure that the relevant agencies, services and providers could take on additional careers professionals to engage with young people and deliver regular, timely support where necessary.1 This fund would allow those that need it most to access high quality personal career guidance, enabling them to make informed choices and make the most of the opportunities available to them.

We need to act now to reach those most in need of support and guidance. A Career Guidance Guarantee is a critical step in a much needed joined-up approach. To be impactful it should be implemented alongside an extension of the catch-up provision to include 16-19 year olds and a commitment to create employment and training opportunity as part of an Opportunity Guarantee.

We believe in a society where all citizens are supported to find the education, employment and training opportunities that are right for them. Where individuals can fulfil their own potential and realise their career aspirations, they will also be able to contribute to our national prosperity and the reconstruction of the country after Covid-19.

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