Inadequate careers advice is exacerbating skills gap, report finds

Inadequate careers guidance in many English schools is exacerbating skills shortages and having a negative impact on the country’s productivity, the Sub-Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy (ESE) has concluded in its report.

Careers advice should be a core part of a young person’s schooling. Credit: Fotolia
The Sub-Committee urges the Government to incentivise schools to improve, which includes Ofsted downgrading those where careers provision is sub-standard.
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The Government must also untangle the unruly and complex web of organisations, service providers and websites overseeing and offering careers advice and put a single Minister in charge of provision, the report states.
The report is the first to be published by the Sub-Committee, which was formed last year by the Business, Innovation and Skills and Education Committees.
The Sub-Committee found that too many young people are leaving education without having had the chance to fully consider their future options or how their skills and experiences fit with opportunities in the jobs market.
It also judged that a host of policy changes, initiatives and new bodies introduced in recent years have failed to make serious improvements and in some cases have even been counter-productive.
Neil Carmichael MP, Chair of the Education Committee and Co-Chair, said: “At a time when it is vital we equip young people with the right skills for their working lives, it’s concerning that so many are being failed by the guidance they receive.
“Careers advice should be a core part of a young person’s schooling but at the moment it is little more than a poorly thought out add-on. Schools should be incentivised to treat careers education, advice, information and guidance as a priority.
“The Committee recommends Ofsted plays a bigger role in ensuring careers guidance is up to scratch by downgrading those who do not deliver high quality provision. A school should not be graded as ‘good’ if its careers provision is inadequate.”
The Sub-Committee welcomes the Government’s intention to soon publish its careers strategy and argues that it is a timely opportunity to finally get careers provision right.
The report, which covers schools in England, identifies a number of areas the strategy should focus on:
  • Providing incentives for schools to improve their careers provision and mechanisms for holding to account those that fail to do so.
  • Taking steps to untangle the complex web of national organisations and to create efficiencies by bringing funding streams into line.
  • Bringing greater coherence to the unruly market of organisations and websites offering careers information, advice and guidance services.
  • Ensuring advice and guidance is grounded in accurate information about the labour market.
  • Giving young people the opportunity to understand better the world of work, through encounters with employers and meaningful work experience opportunities


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