Professor Tristram Hooley, Professor of Career Education, International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS), University of Derby

Today (2nd March) sees parliamentarians debating the future of #careers education and guidance, Professor Tristram Hooley (@PigIronJoe) sets out the issues that are likely to be discussed:

When Rishi Sunak announced in the Plan for Jobs that ‘the evidence says careers advice works, so we’ll fund it, with an additional £32 million to recruit careers advisers’  many people thought that careers education and guidance was finally going to have its moment in the sun.

But the roll out of this money has been very problematic (let’s be honest, with furlough and two more lockdowns since it was announced, it basically hasn’t happened). Meanwhile, the government’s white paper was very disappointing and lacked ambition for the area.

Today a number of MPs and Lords are coming together to debate the future of the area. Labour MPs Peter Dowd, Toby Perkins and Barry Sheerman, Liberal Democrat Baroness Humphreys, and Conservative Lord Lucas will be addressing a public meeting and demonstrating the cross-party support that exists for careers education and guidance.

Career guidance describes a wide range of activities designed to support individuals and groups to make effective transitions and to manage their careers. In the current environment when unemployment is rising for both young people and adults, career guidance is more important than ever.

Key issues

Given the current crisis there is need to find an new a better settlement for career guidance. The key issues of concern at the moment are as follows.

  • How can we ensure that schools and colleges can continue to deliver high quality career guidance throughout the rest of the academic year, during the results period and into the next academic year? Career guidance in compulsory education has been dangerously disrupted throughout 2020 and into 2021, but young people need support and a Careers Guidance Guarantee as they make transitions and enter an uncertain labour market.
  • How can young people be supported once they leave education? The transition from education to employment is a key moment when career plans change and talent is wasted. Young people need to have access to clearly defined and timely support once they leave education.
  • How can the support available to adults through the National Careers Service be scaled up? The Chancellor set out a clear plan to increase the capacity of the National Careers Service in the Plan for Jobs. But bureaucracy has prevented this vision from being realised. There is a need to free the National Careers Service to work with all everyone who is unemployed, on furlough or being made redundant.
  • How can the coordination of the plethora of government careers, employment and retraining schemes be improved? The government has recently funded several employment support schemes. It is difficult for individuals to work out how to access these services, figure out which programme they should use and what they are entitled to. It is also challenging for those working in the system to refer to the right place. At its worst, this results in people being enrolled onto the latest government programme by unqualified work coaches rather than getting a more complete set of options from a career guidance professional.
  • When is the government going to set out a timetable for the creation of a new long-term lifelong careers strategy. The 2017-2020 Careers Strategy resulted in substantial improvements in the quality of careers services. There is a need to follow up on the white paper with a new dedicated careers strategy.

Professor Tristram Hooley, Professor of Career Education, International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS), University of Derby

If you want to be part of these debates and hear what the politicians have to say then sign up for the great careers debate, taking place online on Tuesday 2 March at 12.30 - 2.00pm.

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