Career Guidance in Schools Under Fire

Posted On February 12, 2014

As we continue to redevelop our website we’re not focusing too much on the blogs. We hope the new website will be operational early in the new year. In the interim we’re accepting guest blogs. Enjoy this, the first guest blog from over seas:

Too many young people are leaving school without a clear idea of what careers are available to them and how to gain the relevant qualifications. A series of damning reports has highlighted failings in the National Careers Services. Critics include education watchdog Ofsted, the director general of the CBI and the president of the Association of Colleges.

Lack of Specialist Skills in Careers Guidance:

Since 2012, schools in England and Wales have been responsible for providing their own careers advice to pupils. However, a report produced by Ofsted in September 2013 suggests that the arrangement is not working. Of the 60 schools surveyed for the report, 75% were not delivering an adequate careers service, according to the education watchdog. The report highlighted the lack of specialist skills within the school environment.

Although schools have the power to buy in guidance services, very few of them had purchased sufficient external support.

Face-to-Face Careers Advice Essential:

Schools can refer pupils to the National Careers Service (NCS), which offers careers advice through a telephone helpline and a website. However, critics fear that such support is not sufficient for many pupils. In June 2013, the National Careers Council highlighted that less than 1% of teenagers had used the NCS telephone helpline. It recommended that more careers advice should be provided on a face-to-face basis to assist those that need help the most.

Lack of Information on Vocational Options:

The Ofsted report highlighted a tendency for schools to promote academic pathways over vocational options. This concern was echoed by Michele Sutton, president of the Association of Colleges, in November 2013. Ms Sutton pointed out that schools lose 50% of their pupils between years 11 and 13, with many of them failing to enter alternative education, training or employment. For some pupils, a vocational pathway would open up additional opportunities, allowing then to earn while they learn through an apprenticeship, for example.

Careers Advice Must Be A Priority:

In June 2013, John Cridland, head of the CBI, warned that career advice in schools was not keeping up with the changing labour market. In a speech presented at the Grammar School Heads’ Association annual conference, Mr Cridland claimed that young people were leaving school with very little understanding of the world of work. He stated that careers guidance must be a priority, not an after-thought or a bolt-on to other lessons.

The Road Ahead:

The government has undertaken to issue clearer guidance to schools on what they are expected to deliver by way of careers advice. However, there still seems to be a long way to go for pupils currently in the education system. Many of them will need to take matters into their own hands and research career opportunities themselves.

Teenagers and school leavers can explore recruitment websites, such as Essential Personnel, to find out what types of vacancies are available in their local area. The Essential Personnel blog contains help and advice on how to apply for jobs, together with tips on creating eye-catching CVs and interview skills. Our friendly consultants are happy to help school leavers take their first step on the career ladder.

Teenagers and school leavers can explore recruitment websites, such as Essential Personnel, to find out what types of vacancies are available in their local area.

Steven Pearson works as a recruitment consultant. His articles mainly appear on career blogs where he enjoys sharing his research with job hunters.

Categories: Blog, Generation X, Generation Y / Millennials