Category Archives: Careers advice and Guidance



Professor Tony Watts claims the Government has broken promises on Careers Advice


The Government has, this month, published new Statutory Guidance (SG) and Non-Statutory Departmental Advice (NSDA) on ‘careers guidance and inspiration’ in schools.

Careers England, in its latest Policy Commentary- Careers England(CE) Policy Commentary 27, April 2014)-   authored by Professor Tony Watts , a guidance expert, describes the recent up dated Statutory Guidance and the accompanying  Non-Statutory Departmental Advice  Careers Advice  as ‘ a deeply disappointing if predictable  coda to the evolution of the Coalition Government’s policies on career guidance’.

Tony Watts also suggested that the government had broken two promises .

The commentary states ‘The Government started by making a series of inspiring promises, including:

• Establishing a new all-age careers service, to build on the best of Connexions and Next Step.

• Revitalising the professional status of career guidance.

The first of these promises was undermined by the removal of all the Connexions funding and the reduction of the remit of the new National Careers Service to exclude face-to-face guidance for young people. Now, the second promise too has been betrayed. Far from revitalising the professional status of careers guidance, the Government is undermining this by using the term loosely, by marginalising professional careers advisers, and by ignoring the importance of underpinning quality-assured careers programmes.’

Ministers have recently promoted the idea that Careers advice is as much about inspiration as it is about information, looking to employers to go into schools to deliver advice and inspiration.

However, on this Tony Watts says, ‘The ‘inspiration’ agenda, involving employers much more actively, would have been widely welcomed by the whole careers sector had it been added to the implementation of the initial promises. But the SG and NSDA present it as a substitute for, rather than a complement to, professional career guidance and professionally managed careers education programmes in schools. There is no basis in evidence or  reasoned argument to support such a position.’

Statutory Guidance


Non-Statutory Guidance-Careers Guidance and Inspiration in Schools



Almost certainly not according to the experts


‘Schools now have a legal duty to secure independent careers guidance for all 12-to-18 year-old pupils. They can choose the type of careers advice they offer: for whom and by whom, whether by telephone, through a web portal, or face to face. All this is in line with the government’s drive to make schools, and their decision-making, more autonomous.

The only problem is, it isn’t working: rather than getting careers advice more appropriate to their local job market, many pupils are now forced to make do with advice that’s barely up to scratch. In early March, business secretary Vince Cable triggered a row when he said that teachers weren’t even in a position to give good careers advice. The teaching unions reacted angrily to his suggestion that their members were unfamiliar with the world of work – but few seem to have a response to suggestions that they can’t do the job the government has handed them.

The range of providers from which schools are now buying services includes local authorities, private careers guidance companies, sole traders and new social enterprises. Elsewhere in the market you’ll find education business partnerships, which offer schools integrated careers guidance or work-related learning support services, as well as FE colleges and universities, all selling careers guidance services to schools.

At present, though, relatively few schools are buying in face-to-face careers guidance from an external specialist careers provider. Even those which are commissioning services are buying fewer days than they had received before.This matters, because schools’ own efforts don’t seem to be up to scratch. A 2012 Careers England survey found that there was a postcode lottery in both the quality and the scope of careers guidance on offer to pupils. Overall, what’s more, provision was deteriorating.

A range of other organisations have also expressed concerns about the quality of schools careers guidance. Ofsted has found that three out of every four schools they had visited had not been delivering an adequate service. The CBI’s John Cridland has said that “careers advice is on life support in many areas”. As for Parliament, the Education Select Committee said in 2013, “We have concerns about the consistency, quality, independence and impartiality of careers guidance now being offered to young people.” In February, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg announced that schools were to receive new statutory guidance on what was expected from them in providing careers advice – hardly a ringing endorsement of the status quo.

None of this has surprised the guidance profession. Its members had warned ministers from the outset that, with no additional funding allocated to schools to pay for this new duty, many were likely to pick the cheapest, rather than best, option for their pupils. There were no prescribed quality standards, nor even a recommended professional guidance qualification; and the accountability framework was weak to non-existent. In short, schools do not need to account for the quality of careers advice they offer their pupils. The result is a growing perception that the government is marginalising careers professionals and careers education in schools.

In the past, there’s been an overarching consensus that young people need access to high quality, independent careers education and guidance: to make the right choices for them, to manage the transitions from one stage of their education to the next, and to ensure they have access to information on the local job market. There’s been a consensus, too, that all this is best delivered by an independent, qualified professional, and to come with embedded contributions from employers. Some experts have argued, plausibly, that the delivery of interlinked government policies – improving social mobility, reducing exclusion and NEET figures, filling the skills gaps or improving the opportunities and access for disadvantaged pupils – all stand a better chance of success if young people have easy access to good advice.

But not everyone agrees. Education secretary Michael Gove is on record as doubting the need for “a cadre of careers advisers”. He recently claimed that the new guidance, due out this month, is “all about cutting out the middle man and getting inspirational speakers in front of students to spark their ambitions”. The line seems to be that young people need inspiration, not just information. But does Gove really believe you can cut out the careers advisers in favour of employers? Few doubt the importance of employer engagement, but they and careers professionals have important complementary roles. Young people need access to both.

When the government introduced its overarching National Careers Service as part of the 2012 reforms, many hoped that this would be the organisation tasked with ensuring that no one fell through the guidance net. That, though, has turned out to be a re-branded careers service for adults. For those under 19, access is limited to its website and telephone advice service. NCS has no remit to provide face-to-face careers guidance to young people, no remit to work with schools, and no funding for services to young people beyond its online and telephone facilities.

The government has a number of possibilities open to it. Radically tightening up accountability measures with some additional funding targeted on careers guidance is one option. Bolstering the NCS, and extending it to providing face-to-face careers guidance in schools, possibly with regional contracts, is another. Or perhaps schools could be required to employ their own qualified careers advisers, responsible for providing face-to-face careers guidance to pupils, with teaching staff planning and delivering programmes of careers education.

But one thing is clear: carrying on as things are today is not an option.

(Published in Education Investor- March 2014 Edition)



Muddled messaging


The education secretary has had little to say during his tenure about Careers advice and guidance in schools, leaving all the heavy lifting on this issue to junior minister Matthew Hancock. However, in his most recent speech on 3 March he said:

“For young people reflecting on which career path to follow no information is as valuable, no inspiration so powerful as the testimony of those at the front line of business. That is why the new careers guidance produced by my colleague Matt Hancock is all about cutting out the middle man and getting inspirational speakers in front of students to spark their ambitions. Students can’t aspire to lives they’ve never known. So we need business people to visit schools, engage and inspire”

This is all news ,of course, to professional careers advisers. The clear implication here is that the education secretary thinks that careers advisers are middle men and careers advice for pupils should and could  be delivered by employers. Greater employer engagement with pupils is a must and an essential part of the equation, in providing information and,  of course,inspiration.  But employers are not professional careers advisers, and inspired students still need   support in  looking at the realistic  options open to them.  Employer engagement  should surely work in conjunction with access to a professional  impartial adviser and high quality careers education, if young people  are to make the right choices for them, to manage the transitions from one stage of their education, training or work to the next. Its not either employers or careers advisers, its both, surely. Ironically, its employers   (CBI et al) who have been telling the government, with increasing urgency,  that we need more professional careers advice in schools.

When  John Hayes was  the  Minister responsible for careers guidance  , the policy had been to achieve  a ‘renaissance of the careers profession’, implementing, in full, the recommendations of  the Careers Profession Task Force, which were concerned significantly with the  profession’s role in schools.Now, it would seem,  this policy has been abandoned .




BCC  joins others in calls for quality careers guidance and  education in schools

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) on 30 January published its Skills and Employment Manifesto, setting out ways to radically transform the systems that educate our young people, with recommendations for training our adult workforce.

The BCC Manifesto seeks to  address ‘skills mismatch’ described by many UK employers.

BCC President, Nora Senior: “Although we believe that successive governments have failed our young people by not properly equipping them for their future careers, it is time to break away from the blame game.”

In short, Employers consistently tell the BCC (and CBI/IOD) that there is a mismatch between what they are looking for in their staff, and the skills, experience and attitude offered by too many prospective candidates. The Prime Minister regularly refers to a global race, yet the BCC believes that in the 21st century, it is the countries with the most skilled workforces – both young and old – that will be the ultimate winners.


The Manifesto calls for:

Ensuring that ‘employability’ skills are at the heart of how schools are assessed and rated

Investing in quality careers education for all young people, including regular, quality contact with a variety of employers

Using Chambers to offer independent advice and support to SMEs to increase investment in apprenticeships and workplace training

Clear, universally understood qualifications for literacy, numeracy, computing and foreign languages

Qualifications to be consistent and clear, to enable employers to understand an individual’s competencies

Tax incentives for the development of foreign language and export skills

All employment policy to become the responsibility of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)

Universities to work with Chambers of Commerce to promote enterprise among a wider range of students, and to ensure university courses are relevant to future job opportunities

The government to give employers a choice on how they receive government funding for apprenticeships – either directly through the tax system or via their chosen training provider

Commenting, Nora Senior, President of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“Skills will decide who wins and who loses in a 21st century economy – yet employers across the UK constantly say they struggle to find prospective employees, particularly those leaving education, who have the right skills to succeed in the workplace.

“Although we believe that successive governments have failed our young people by not properly equipping them for their future careers, it is time to break away from the blame game. Various organisations and sectors continue to blame each other for a lack of ‘work readiness’ among young people, but it is time for everyone to accept some responsibility, and find ways to move forward.

“The world has changed at a rapid pace. If Britain doesn’t keep up, employers who are unable to access the skills they need or those unwilling to invest in training will lose business to other firms at home and abroad, putting us at a disadvantage. Simple measures, such as investing in quality careers education, making employability a key measure for schools, and supporting interaction between pupils and local employers, will deliver more jobs and growth in the long-term.  “Government, schools, colleges and employers must all work together in the coming months and years to ensure that the UK has a workforce that is ‘fit for purpose’. Failure to do so risks consigning generation after generation to a less prosperous future.”

On Careers Guidance the report says:

‘Careers education should start in Key Stage 2 and build to form a statutory element of secondary national curriculums. Every young person should gain work experience of different lengths in different sectors. Chambers of Commerce can facilitate these placements with local and national businesses.’

Publicly funded careers services should be fully extended to cover anyone over the age of 13, including face-to-face advice.

• National Insurance numbers should be used to track the average earnings of each school’s alumni as a proxy for success in the labour market.

• ‘Destination measures’ should be extended to include longer-term outcomes. Although there is value to understanding the destination of students after 12 months, this encourages some schools to find any destination rather than the right one for each individual. Destination measures should be extended to show five-year destinations’.

Another report also published this week from the think tank –IPPR (North)- says that  ‘today’s secondary school pupils are being let down by careers services that are not up to scratch’.   Furthermore it states that ‘Schools should be given more support to meet their statutory duty to provide independent careers advice and guidance’ and that ‘ the careers advice process should be more properly embedded in the curriculum. In particular, the role of careers in education should be clearer and wider.’

Neil Carberry, director for employment and skills for the CBI, added to the growing clamour over the inadequacies of schools careers guidance when he said “there must  …be a sea change in the quality of careers advice in schools”


Skills Manifesto British Chamber of Commerce -2014


Driving a generation: Improving the interaction between schools and businesses-  2014 -Bill Davies and Ed Cox of IPPR North.


A report last year for the Sutton Trust, by Boston Consulting, said “Because of the complexity of vocational education in England, students need expert and impartial advice, but very little is available to them. Surveys by Chrysalis for City and Guilds in 2011 and for Careers England in 2012 showed that 28% of vocational students received no advice at all and that two thirds are dependent on teachers and school careers advisers, in whom they have little confidence on this subject’.


Gove blames lobby for talking garbage

But lets look at the facts


Michael Gove in the recent Education Select Committee pre-Christmas hearings criticised the supposedly “self-interested” careers lobby who “lack intellectual rigour” and who  talk “garbage” He conjured up the spectre of an all-powerful shadowy careers lobby. Did he mean the CDI or Careers England one wonders ? When pressed by MPs he refused to elaborate. He appeared to question the need for professional careers guidance, while arguing that greater employer involvement in schools is  needed (to inspire pupils).  Greater employer involvement with schools and pupils must be a good thing. But surely   this works best in synch with  pupils accessing sound, independent, professional , face to face  careers advice, along with  up to date information on the job market. (something that is not happening in  too many schools)

Gove neatly sidestepped the compelling fact that criticism of careers guidance in schools has come from a significant number of stakeholders and embarrassingly, too, from the respected conservative Chair of the Select Committee itself, Graham Stuart.  Indeed, not only did the Committee in its report on careers guidance criticise policy on careers guidance but  reviewed much written evidence opposed to current policy from a broad range of experts .  Significantly ,the government ignored advice from Professor Tony Watts, who was commissioned  by them to provide a report on lessons from international evidence. Among the growing band of critics are the CBI, Pearson, the Edge Foundation, the British Chambers of Commerce, Ofsted, the Social Mobility and Poverty Commission, the IPPR, Professor Tony Watts et al .

Katja Hall of the CBI said  late last year “The quality of careers advice in England’s schools remains in severe crisis. For 93 out of 100 young people to not feel in possession of the facts they need to make informed choices about their future is a damning indictment” For the Secretary of State to  imply that criticism is coming solely from self-interested parties in the careers guidance sector,  based on slender evidence, is at best misleading.  Indeed one is hard pressed to find any independent report or research from a third party that backs current government policy in this important area.

Certainly careers advice in the past has been of variable quality. And part of the problem is that some politicians have themselves received poor careers advice during their schooling and so perceive it as a waste of time.  But international evidence clearly tells us just how important good careers advice and guidance is, particularly for the most disadvantaged pupils and is a prerequisite for improving social mobility, which is high on this government’s own  agenda.   The government is finding it increasingly difficult to hold its policy line on careers guidance in schools and this may go some way to explaining Goves apparent tetchiness when pressed on this issue during the  committee hearings.




Sweden’s education system used to attract the most attention from UK educators but the ground has shifted as Sweden’s relative performance has failed to improve significantly in recent years. Sweden also espouses ‘free schools’ which many on the left reject out of hand. Finland though is different. In Pisa tables, Finland rates highly on both performance and equity metrics. It also administers a comprehensive school system, (ie no selection) with teaching,  demonstrably, a high status profession.

And, interestingly, it accepts just how important careers advice and guidance is.   Careers guidance and counselling is, in fact, part of the curriculum in every school. In principle, pupils have three options after compulsory schooling (Lower Secondary). Continue to upper secondary schooling (51%). Go the upper secondary vocational route (42%), or find employment. High quality careers guidance quickly became a cornerstone of lower and upper secondary school. Pasi Sahlberg, the well- known commentator on Finland’s education system, says that good careers guidance and counselling in schools ‘have been an important factor in explaining  low grade repetition  and drop-out rates in Finland’. Sahlberg adds that ‘Careers guidance has also acted as an important bridge between formal education and the world of work. As part of the overall career guidance curriculum each student in peruskolou spends at least two weeks in a selected work place’


Do we have anything to learn from Finland’s system? I think so.


In the Finnish school system Persuskolou is the 9-year period spent in comprehensive school. starting aged 7 years.


Ofsteds thematic review of Careers guidance in schools finds its not working well enough

Three quarters of schools are not meeting their statutory duty

Edge Foundation calls for independent face to face guidance


Three quarters of the schools visited for an Ofsted survey were not implementing their duty to provide impartial careers advice effectively. The survey also finds that guidance for schools on careers advice is not explicit, the National Careers Service is not promoted well enough and there is a lack of employer engagement in schools.

The report examines the quality of careers advice since September 2012 when schools were given the legal responsibility to provide this service to students aged 14 – 16. The survey looked at the extent to which young people in this age-range, in the 60 schools that inspectors visited, were receiving impartial careers advice in order to make informed decisions about their future.

Very few of the schools visited knew how to provide a service effectively or had the skills and expertise needed to provide a comprehensive service. Few schools had bought in adequate service from external sources.

The report findings show schools were not working well enough with employers to provide students with direct experience of the world of work in order to help broaden their minds about realistic employment opportunities in their local area.

Vocational training and apprenticeships were rarely promoted effectively, especially in schools with sixth forms. Instead, the A-Level route remained the ‘gold-standard’ for young people, their parents and teachers.

Few schools were promoting the National Careers Service, the body responsible for providing independent and impartial careers advice to young people from the age of 13. Its telephone service and website were also rarely promoted and therefore significantly underused. Nearly all of the students interviewed who were aware of the website, told inspectors that it offered nothing different from other similar sites and the large majority felt it was mostly aimed towards older students and adults.

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw said:

‘It is vitally important that young people have access to information on the full range of career pathways available so they can make informed choices about their next steps. Our findings show that too few schools are doing enough to ensure all their students receive comprehensive advice about the breadth of career opportunities available to them.

‘It is worrying that the new arrangements are failing to provide good guidance or to promote vocational training options and apprenticeships. Given the high levels of youth unemployment, even amongst graduates, it is important the Government, schools, local authorities and other agencies all work to improve the quality of careers advice in schools.’ The report makes a number of recommendations to the Government, schools, Local Authorities, The National Careers Service as well as for Ofsted itself.

It recommends:

The Government provide more explicit guidance to schools on careers advice.

The Government monitor students’ progress and achievement when they leave school through accurate collection of ‘destination data’ to give a better understanding of a young person’s journey to employment.

The National Careers Service markets its services more effectively to all young people aged 13-18 and does more to disseminate information on national skills shortages so that young people gain a greater understanding of where there are likely to be greater employment opportunities.

Ofsted also recommends that its own inspectors take greater account of careers guidance and students’ destinations when conducting future school inspections.

It was also revealed today that the CIPD, a professional body for human resources experts, says that its research has shown that more than half of employers believe that young people are not receiving good enough careers advice.

The Charity, Barnardos, which works with disengaged children,  in a report this  August, said that ‘the  government risks replacing face-to-face careers guidance with remote online schemes that young people report they can’t use or don’t even know exist, jeopardising their chances of getting sustainable work.’

The CBI has also issued hard-hitting warnings, saying that careers advice is on “life support” in many schools. Earlier this year the House of Commons education select committee warned of a “worrying deterioration” in careers services. Jan Hodges, Chief Executive of the Edge Foundation, an independent education charity  commenting on the Ofsted  report said : “It’s clear that many schools are failing to deliver impartial careers advice to their students. The best support goes to students aiming for university. They get help to choose courses and fill in UCAS applications.

“There’s much less help for young people considering vocational options such as apprenticeships and full-time courses at further education colleges.

“One reason is that teachers know much less about apprenticeships than other options. In our last YouGov survey, only one in five of all secondary school teachers (22%) rated their knowledge of apprenticeships as good or very good. Worryingly, teachers in the 25-35 age group are even less well-informed – only 10% have a good understanding of apprenticeships. Faced with findings like these, it’s obvious we need to improve careers education for all young people. All young people should be entitled to meet an independent careers adviser face to face. That’s a given. But it’s not enough. From primary school onwards, young people should find out about careers by meeting people from all walks of life, both in school and in the workplace. They should also visit further education colleges, universities and apprenticeship training providers to learn about the choices that lie ahead. They say seeing is believing. That’s why it’s vital for young people to learn about careers first hand as well as from professional advisers.”

Brian Lightman, general secretary, of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “Sadly, the findings of this report, which reflect the warnings we and many others have consistently given to government, are no surprise to school and college leaders. The duty to provide careers guidance was placed on schools at a time when most existing infrastructure and funding for such provision had been removed. School leaders know how important careers guidance is but have, in many parts of the country, struggled to meet this requirement.”

In its response, the government says the National Careers Service will be improved to “give young people a greater understanding of the full range of options available to them”. Skills Minister Matthew Hancock highlighted the importance of getting employers involved with schools and colleges. “People with fulfilling careers are the ones who can really show young people what it is like to succeed in the world of work. That is why I want more employers involved in providing high-quality careers advice to the future workforce. We gave schools and colleges the responsibility for securing good careers advice for their pupils because they know them best. Ofsted highlighted excellent careers advice already being provided by schools, but I want all schools to do as the best do – inspiring young people, providing work experience and putting them in touch with employers.”

Going in the right direction? Careers guidance in schools from September 2012-Ofsted

Note 1

Statutory Duty;Section 29 of the Education Act 2011 placed schools under a duty to secure access to independent careers guidance for their pupils in school years 9 to 11.From September 2013 this was extended to years 8-13 and revised statutory guidance has been published to reflect this change-‘Headteachers, school staff and governing bodies must have regard to this statutory guidance issued by the Secretary of State in exercising their functions under this section’.

Note 2

Careers support for adults and young people is provided by the National Careers Service, which in 2012-13 was funded by £84.4m from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, £14m from the Ministry of Justice and £4.7m from the Department for Education. The service includes mainly access to web, telephone and e-mail advice.  Schools are encouraged to give face to face advice where it is most appropriate, for example, to the most disadvantaged pupils. But there is no obligation to provide such advice.  Nor is there ring fenced funding available for this service , the most expensive form of careers  advice and guidance.

Note 3;

Organisations that have expressed concerns over the quality of careers advice available to young people over the last two years include: CBI, BCC, EEF,RSA, Edge Foundation, Ofsted, AOC, Dr Barnardos, ASCL,,CIPD, Education Select Committee, BIS Select Committee, Observatory of Skills and Employment, Careers England,   ICGES/ Pearson Think Tank , NFER , ‘Which’, the Work Foundation,   Working Links, NUS.


The British Chambers of Commerce wants Careers education on the curriculum

Ofsted should judge employability skills too


The OECD recently warned that youth unemployment was the UK’s biggest challenge.

The President of the British Chamber of Commerce, Nora Senior, blogged in July this year, asking why is it that our young people are being left behind while Britain gets back to work, and who is to blame?

  Businesses she speaks to, up and down the country, want to work with young people, and are happy to train and employ them. She writes that businesses ‘are often disheartened if not downright frustrated, to find school leavers and graduates do not have the minimum skills they need to join the workforce. Poor literacy and numeracy, behaviour and attitudes that don’t meet business expectations – the list goes on.’  Senior suggests that the government should ‘stop fixating on academics alone, and ensure that soft workplace skills are taught in our schools, or young people will continue to be left out in the cold. Getting businesspeople into schools to provide a real world insight into the world of work is the way to get pupils excited’.   Senior goes as far as to suggest that ‘Ofsted should be judging schools on students’ employability skills rather than exam results alone.’  She adds that ‘we must also put a stop to the constant tinkering around the edges by successive governments to a qualifications system that baffles teachers and employers alike. O Levels, GCEs, GCSEs, A-Levels, A2 Levels, SATS, Baccalaureates – is it really any wonder that we are being left adrift?’  Senior is also critical of current careers advice available to young people. She writes ‘In England, the government has removed the duty on schools to provide young people with work experience placements, and has replaced the ‘Connexions’ face-to-face careers advice with information that is only available online. This is because the Education Secretary believes that head teachers know what is best for their pupils. Unfortunately, when it comes to the real world of work, the truism is that head teachers don’t always know best whichever education system they are working to, and some continue to prioritise time and money on boosting performance in exam league tables.’


She adds ‘ Young people cannot match their talents and interests to a future career without understanding the full range of jobs available to them – those where their skills will be most in demand and best rewarded, and the qualifications required to gain those jobs. Careers education should be added to the national curriculum to help advise and educate these young people as they make the choices that will shape their lives – that means talking about the world of work before they make subject choices, not after they have been made.’

Source BCC Blog- 22 July 2013



Businesses fear skills shortage could hold back growth

Critical area of weakness remains careers advice which is ‘haphazard’ according to Cridland


There is a stubborn shortage in the skills the UK needs to remain competitive and fuel long-term growth, according to the annual CBI/Pearson Education and Skills survey published recently.

The key findings from the survey of 294 firms, employing 1.24 million workers show:

• 39% are struggling to recruit workers with the advanced, technical STEM skills they need – with 41% saying shortages will persist for the next three years.

• almost half lack confidence in getting high-skilled workers in future overall – with more acute concerns in key sectors like manufacturing, construction and engineering.

• we still tolerate a long tail of low achievement on literacy, numeracy and technical skills, with 48% of firms putting on basic remedial training for employees – up from 42% last year.

• 55% say school leavers lack the right work experience and key attributes that set them up for success, including self-management (54%); problem solving (41%); and attitude to work (35%) – stressing the need for school reform to produce people who are rounded and grounded, as well as stretched academically.

• 32% and 31% respectively are dissatisfied with some school and college leavers basic literacy and numeracy – 31% report young people lack the technical skills they need.

The CBI fears a return to long-term growth might be held back by shortages in key industries. It argues next week’s Spending Round needs to protect the skills and apprenticeship budgets as far as possible, while giving employers’ greater control.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General said:

“We’re facing a critical lack of skills in some key industries, just as the economy starts to pick up. Long-term, sustainable growth will come in part from rebalancing towards high-value products and services, which demand much better technical skills.

“We need to boost our skills base urgently before the UK loses more ground. It’s time to stop looking on enviously at Germany and build a system that works.”

The CBI is urging the Government to implement the independent Richard Review into apprenticeships, which proposed a range of measures designed to ensure investment follows industry demands – giving employers control over qualification content and structure, while routing funding more directly to businesses, rather than spending the money through intermediaries.

Mr Cridland added:

“The Chancellor is walking a tough line in making substantial savings, without harming the fledgling recovery. There are few better ways of underpinning long-term growth than investing in skills.

“Firms are already investing in training but they cannot do it on their own. We want to see the skills budget protected as far as possible, while focussing on business needs. That means routing funding more directly to firms. We can’t afford for funding to be badly targeted or sucked up by bureaucracy.

“On school reform, businesses want rigour, as well as young people to be rounded, grounded and ready for working life.”

In his foreword to the survey John Cridland says that ‘a critical area of weakness remains careers advice which should lubricate transitions between education and work.’ But ,he continues ‘services  available to young people and to adults  seeking a change of direction have been far too haphazard’   

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK said:

“Youth unemployment remains stubbornly high, so now more than ever, business, government and the education community must work together to ensure young people learn what they need, for a better job and a better life.  This data shows that employers are still having to do the leg work to get young people ready for work.

“This means considering the skills and knowledge that young people need to compete on an international level. We share an ambition to ensure that the qualifications and skills people acquire at school, college, university or in work are truly world class, and globally benchmarked.”

“By bringing together our strong national heritage in education and lessons from our partners internationally, Britain has the potential to become the global leader in the race for knowledge, skills and innovation.”

Changing the Pace-CBI/Pearson education and skills survey-2013



Its on life support in many areas, says Cridland


Both the Education Select Committee and the BIS Select committee (in its report-Women in the Workplace- 20 June ) have  made urgent calls for better careers advice in schools.. In March, a survey of teenagers by the Education and Employers Taskforce found a “massive mismatch” between young people’s career expectations and the reality of the jobs available. The study also indicated that teenagers had a very weak understanding of potential earnings for different types of jobs.

And in June, the National Careers Council said face-to-face information was needed as part of a major upgrade in careers advice for young people in England.

John Cridland of the CBI  has joined the clamour for a change of direction in government policy . He said, on  19 June ,that careers advice is on “life support” in many areas, following schools and colleges being given sole statutory responsibility to give students independent, impartial advice from September 2012.

Speaking to the Grammar School Heads’ Association Annual Conference, Mr Cridland said it was right to give schools the freedom to run their own affairs – but warned that the Government “may have adopted too laissez faire an approach”, with serious consequences for our young people. And he backed calls from the National Careers Council (NCC) earlier this month to extend face-to-face advice from adults to students, as part of a major overhaul of the new National Careers Service.

Paul Chubb, executive director for Careers England, said: “This is a highly significant statement by the CBI.

“It is a telling moment when the voice of the nation’s employers, the CBI, adds its weight to the calls for the government to act to redress the problems caused by legislation which is not supported by sufficient statutory guidance to schools, with inadequate accountability measures, and far too laissez-faire an approach to quality assurance.”

Deirdre Hughes, of the NCC, believes that the National Careers Service, currently performing well for adults, with local face-to-face and online careers support, should be expanded to serve young people. She said there is “no substitute for young people’s access to career insights and face-to-face support from a qualified and knowledgeable career development professional. As exams season in schools comes to an end, the CBI’s call for urgent attention from government to improve careers provision for young people is both timely and essential for the future success of our economy.”

The ACSL wants the government to implement the recommendations of this months NCC report and agreed with the NCC view on face to face advice saying  “A national telephone helpline and a website are useful for information but they are no substitute for a conversation with a qualified, knowledgeable careers professional who can help them make informed choices.”


Under current statutory guidance schools are not obliged to offer face to face careers advice to their pupils