National Careers Council calls for urgent improvements to careers advice for young people

The National Careers Council published its first annual report to government in June 2013, and the follow-up to this report has just been released. The Council is chaired by Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE with 9 member and 3 associate leading experts from business, education and careers sectors. In this latest report, the Council call for urgent improvements to the careers service provided for young people in England.

The NCC reports that there are massive variations in careers provisions, depending on where young people live, and too many are not getting the necessary advice to make informed choices about their careers. For example, in one region there are 134 careers advisory services, compared to just one in another.

One of the most readily promoted sources of careers advice for young people is the National Careers Service. However, for those aged 18 or under, this service can only be accessed online or other the phone – face-to-face meetings are reserved for adults only.

The NCC is disappointed with the slow progress made so far, and recommends an employer-led advisory body to supervise a better careers advice system for young people, in addition to the government providing free or subsidised access to “independent and impartial career development.”

These are the latest in a series of criticisms the decision to transfer responsibility for careers advice to individual schools has had. In an Ofsted report last year, Sir Michael Wilshaw said “It is worrying that the new arrangements are failing to provide good guidance.” The Education Select Committee has also reported that careers services were showing a “worrying deterioration.”

Dr Hughes, chair of the NCC, says:

Some progress has been made in the last 12 months, but this has been far too slow.

Meanwhile, our education and labour markets remain complex and confusing for young people, parents and teachers, and there are significant costs associated with this.

We urge government and others to take action across England to halt the rapid decline in careers services for young people.

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Helen Robinson