Tristram Hooley, Professor of Career Education, University of Derby

Unemployment is rising, the need for career guidance is greater than ever - £32 million funding must be made more accessible 

Back in early July, Rishi Sunak announced his Plan for Jobs. The idea was to prevent the lockdown turning into a recession, and the furlough turning into a massive increase in unemployment.

One of the key promises was that £32 million would be allocated to the National Careers Service to provide advice and support for workers facing redundancy and unemployment and who found themselves in the position of having to change career or retrain.

Rishi Sunak 100x100As the Chancellor very pithily said…

“The evidence says careers advice works, so we’ll fund it, with an additional £32 million to recruit careers advisers and provide bespoke advice and careers guidance for over a quarter of a million more people.” - Rishi Sunak

Problems with the funding

Flash forward four months and we are in the middle of a second wave. Unemployment is rising and the need for career guidance is greater than ever. But the way that the Plan for Jobs funding has been allocated is making it difficult to actually spend the money earmarked for the National Careers Service and difficult for many adults to access its services.

The National Careers Service is delivered by a range of organisations across the country. Most of these are community-based, not for profits who have been dealing with a lot of change as the pandemic has hit.

Most of their funding is paid by ‘results’ with the results variously being defined as satisfied customers, people developing their careers and finding a job or training outcome. In addition, the National Careers Service is only funded to the full amount for a range of priority groups (e.g. older workers; low skilled adults; single parents and so on) with other clients attracting minimal funding.

It is arguable whether this complex patchwork of funding was ever an appropriate way to fund a National Careers Service, but it leaves a lot to be desired in a pandemic where unemployment is rising and new opportunities are scarce.

Career guidance for the pandemic

Gillian Keegan, as the minister responsible for this area needs to look at career guidance quickly and sort out the mess. The answer is amazingly simple. All she needs to do is amend the funding so that all adults, from 18 until retirement, who are at risk of redundancy or who are currently unemployed, are identified as a priority for the National Careers Service.

If the National Careers Service is made available to all of those who need it, it will be able to make an important contribution to keeping England working. If it is forced to career on with the pre-pandemic funding arrangements still in place there is a big danger that the funding will be wasted and many workers will spend longer unemployed than they need to.

The National Careers Service is a high-quality professional service. It is already in every community in the country. The Chancellor identified it as effective and provided funding to allow it to scale up its activities in the face of a national emergency.

Surely, now is the time when the government should clear away unnecessary bureaucracy and limitations on the service and let it do its job.

Waiting for Gillian

Late last week (22 Oct) a group of Lords, MPs, NGOs, unions and professional associations and employers, educators and careers professionals sent an open letter to Gillian Keegan demanding action on these issues. We asked her to make two simple and common sense changes to the funding arrangements for the National Careers Service.

  1. Ensure that all adults, from 18 until retirement, who are at risk of redundancy or currently unemployed, are identified as a priority for the National Careers Service. The Service’s funding principles need to be changed accordingly.
  2. National Careers Service providers should be allocated a proportion of the new funding upfront to allow them to recruit, train and develop staff to deliver quality services against the new level of demand.

We continue to await a response.

I hope that others will contact her and also raise this critical issue.

Tristram Hooley, Professor of Career Education, University of Derby

Text of the open letter to Gillian Keegan in full

Dear Gillian Keegan

We are writing on behalf of 93 organisations from the worlds of education and employment. We would like to bring several concerns about the current funding arrangements for the National Careers Service to your attention. The provision of support to help people to manage their careers is more important than ever in the current labour market. The signatories to this letter believe that more needs to be done to support people, at all stages of life to build successful careers and make a contribution to the economy.

The National Careers Service delivers high-quality career guidance to adults, helping them to navigate the complexity of education, training, retraining and employment. But, despite the government investing in the Service, restrictions on how the funding can be used may prevent many workers who are facing redundancy or who are currently unemployed from accessing the support they need.

At present, adults aged 25 to 49 who are unemployed for less than one year and young people aged 18 to 24 who are at risk of redundancy are not identified by the government as a priority and this may limit the help that they can expect to receive. Given the current employment crisis brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, we are asking for these restrictions to be lifted.

The government has launched a range of initiatives to stimulate and support employment through the Plan for Jobs, the Winter Economic Plan and the Lifetime Skills Guarantee. The provision of professional career guidance underpins all of these policies and ensures their effectiveness. People need to understand the opportunities that are available to them and seek advice and guidance about the best route forward within a turbulent labour market.

Thankfully the Chancellor agrees on the importance of career guidance, saying that “the evidence says careers advice works, so we’ll fund it, with an additional £32 million to recruit careers advisers and provide bespoke advice and careers guidance for over a quarter of a million more people.”

This new funding should allow the National Careers Service to increase the overall number of people that it can help by more than half. However, the funding arrangements through which the £32 million is put to use, remain inflexible. They need to be reformed to allow the service to have the maximum impact. Without reform these ambitious targets will not be achieved, which will reflect badly on the government and National Careers Service and leave many unemployed workers unable to access the support they need.

In order to address this, the government needs to review the way in which the National Careers Service is funded and make the following changes:

  • Ensure that all adults, from 18 until retirement, who are at risk of redundancy or currently unemployed, are identified as a priority for the National Careers Service. The Service’s funding principles need to be changed accordingly.
  • National Careers Service providers should be allocated a proportion of the new funding up front to allow them to recruit, train and develop staff to deliver quality services against the new level of demand.

We hope that you will be able to address these issues quickly so that the National Careers Service will be able to deliver the services that are so sorely needed in this challenging economic climate. We would be happy to meet with you to discuss these issues in more detail.

Yours sincerely

Baroness Garden of Frognal

Lord Aberdare

Lord Knight

Lord Lucas

Lord Storey

Ian Mearns MP

Jan Ellis, Chief Executive, CDI

Kieran Gordon, Executive Director, Careers England

Clare Viney, CEO, CRAC

Dr Robin Mellors-Bourne, Director, CRAC

Professor Tristram Hooley, Professor of Career Education, University of Derby

Dr Siobhan Neary, Head of iCeGS, University of Derby

Elaine Boyes, Executive Director, AGCAS

Samantha Butters & Gina Cicerone, Co-CEO’s, Fair Education Alliance

Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary

Alice Barnard, Chief Executive, Edge Foundation

Helen Pain, Acting CEO, Royal Society of Chemistry

Katharine Horler, Chief Executive, Adviza

Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE, Director, dmh associates

Matt Lambert, Chief Executive, FISSS

Becci Newton, Deputy Director, IES

Scott Parkin, Chief Executive, IEP

Nick Newman, CEO, National Careers Week

+336 other signatories

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page