Careers 2020: Options for future careers work in English schools

First published on Fri, November 02, 2012.

It is now an established statutory duty for schools, rather than local authorities, to secure provision of careers advice for school-aged children. This duty is framed very loosely, offering no funding or clear model for provision. Funding for face-to-face interaction with qualified careers advisors, for example, is no longer available, and it is no longer necessary for schools to provide careers education.

Given this shifting landscape, this report from Pearson and the International Centre for Guidance Studies at the University of Derby asks what careers advice will look like in the future, and asks how schools can ensure that they continue to provide children with high-quality careers advice. Arguing that “a career is pursued at work, but also through learning, hobbies and interests, at home and through relationships with family, friends and colleagues”, the report acknowledges that providing effective careers advice is a complex issue, particularly in light of economic and technological change. It also encourages policy makers to recognise the association between careers advice and other key policy concerns, including education, economic efficiency and social mobility.

The report argues that recession and fiscal austerity combined with high youth unemployment creates a ‘perfect storm’ for young people and will severely hamper their career prospects unless the government make a concerted effort to make sure that the new measures do not lead to a decline in provision of careers advice. The report offers a comprehensive literature review of effective approaches to careers provision and on this basis makes the following key recommendations:

1.Government should monitor changing practices and to ensure schools are providing appropriate careers support for young people.

2.Government should monitor the impact of any decline in careers advice on social mobility and inclusion.

3.Schools should be encouraged to view preparing school leavers for their future careers as a key component of their mission and should be encouraged to incorporate careers education into the broader curriculum. If young people recognise the link between learning outcomes and career outcomes, they are likely to become more engaged with learning.

4.Attention should be given to how schools are supported to deliver high quality and effective careers advice within the new policy context, particularly given that the loss of the middle tier between schools and government – particularly local authorities and the Connexions service – may leave some schools isolated.

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