Careers services for young people in England show a “worrying deterioration”, MPs are warning. Good careers guidance has been highlighted as important to social mobility and to tackling youth unemployment. But a report from the Education Select Committee warns of problems with “the quality, independence and impartiality” of current careers advice. This is from the BBC…
“Urgent steps” are needed to improve matters, says the report.
The cross-party report also criticises the government’s decision to give schools responsibility for careers advice – saying the move was “regrettable”.
MPs reported concerns about the variability of careers guidance offered by individual schools – and quoted claims that this was “not delegation to schools, it is abdication”.
But the committee found little enthusiasm for the return of the previous Connexions careers service, which had also faced criticism.
There were also concerns about the lack of individual advice available.
The National Careers Service, launched last year, offers guidance by website and phone, but it does not provide young people with face-to-face advisers.
Brian Lightman, head of the Association of School and College Leaders, said head teachers had already raised concerns about the need for individual, face-to-face meetings with careers advisers.
And he said the report “sets out a convincing case for government to revisit the role and remit of the National Careers Service”.
Mary Bousted, leader of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: “The reality is that schools aren’t run by magicians – if they don’t have the time, money or appropriately trained staff, but have a multitude of other pressures because of Ofsted inspections, it is no surprise they are struggling to offer the careers guidance pupils need.”
Committee chairman Graham Stuart also cautioned that schools could “put their own interests ahead of their pupils”, such as promoting their own sixth forms above other options.
There has been increasing recognition of the importance of careers advice in promoting social mobility.
An absence of good advice has been blamed for low aspirations in university applications and job seeking.