From education to employment

Labour’s Pledge to Boost Work Experience and Careers Advice – Sector Reaction

Labour’s new Pledge Careers Advice for One Million

Labour has today pledged to turbocharge careers advice and work experience in Schools and Colleges as part of its plans to usher in a revolution in work readiness and drive opportunity for young people.

Key Elements of Labour’s Plan

As part of the Party’s plans to partner with businesses across the country, Labour will deliver a new commitment to two weeks’ worth of quality work experience for every young person, and recruit over 1,000 new careers advisors, building partnerships between schools, colleges and local employers to equip young people with work-ready skills.

Current State of Career Guidance

The news comes as the party released an analysis suggesting that one million children are at risk of receiving inadequate information about the jobs and opportunities available to them over the next five years if the Conservatives remain in power.

As it stands, more than 1-in-3 children at secondary school report that they do not know enough about good jobs available to them as they get older and leave school. If this figure persists over the next five years, nearly 1.2 million children will receive inadequate information, further compounding skills shortages in key sectors, and leaving hundreds of thousands of young people classed as Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET).

Rising NEET Numbers

Since 2018, the annual number of 16-18 year olds classed as NEET has increased by 50,000, with 167,000 not in work, education or training. This has been primarily driven by a rapid rise in the number of 18 year olds out of work, education or training, with the proportion increasing by around a third.

The Importance of Quality Career Advice

Professional advice and guidance for young people is essential to tackling this. Research shows that – amongst young people in the most disadvantaged schools – high-quality careers advice could increase chances of young people progressing in education employment or training by a third.

Concerns in Creative Sector

Last year, a scathing report by the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee found that careers guidance at school on the creative sector was “patchy and disjointed”, potentially putting at risk an industry worth around £126 billion to the UK economy. 

Labour’s Broader Youth Strategy

Labour’s commitment to careers advice and work experience is part of the Party’s wider plan to establish a ‘Youth Guarantee‘ of access to training, an apprenticeship, or support to find work for all 18-21 year olds.

Bridget Phillipson, Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“Over one million young people are set to benefit from Labour ushering in a revolution in in work readiness with our plan to work with local employers to turbocharge work experience and careers advice in schools.

“We will train a thousand new careers advisors, and deliver two weeks’ worth of high-quality work experience for every young person at secondary school to boost opportunity 

“It’s time to turn the page on fourteen years of failure in education – but change will only come if people vote for it – that’s why if families want to break down barriers to opportunity for their children they need to vote Labour on July 4th.”

Sector Reaction

Paul Whiteman, general secretary at school leaders’ union NAHT, said:

“Labour is right to look again at careers education. School leaders recognise that a taste of the workplace and high-quality careers advice are crucial in helping pupils to think about, and plan, their future.

“But delivering work experience became extremely challenging when the government cut the funding schools received to provide it, and schools no longer have the dedicated staff or resources to set up placements.

“It is vital that if Labour forms the next government, it backs up these pledges with the funding needed to deliver them successfully and secures buy-in from businesses and employers.”

Julie McCulloch, Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“Access to high-quality careers advice and work experience placements can make a real difference to the lives of children and young people and it’s good to see Labour aiming to ensure more pupils can benefit from this support.

“What we now need to hear is how exactly this ambition will be achieved. Currently many schools and colleges lack the time, staffing and resources needed to organise and provide work experience opportunities. It is also challenging to find sufficient number of employers willing to offer placements while local careers advice services were severely cut back from 2010 onwards. There is a lot of rebuilding to be done.

“To ensure this works well for pupils, schools and colleges, and employers, there needs to be a joined-up strategy that clearly sets out who is responsible and accountable for provision and how this is going to be funded.”

Photo: Bridget Phillipson. (2024, June 14). In Wikipedia.

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