Too little, too late
The recent CBI report Learning to Grow suggests that our education system is still far from being fit for purpose. The number of employers who are dissatisfied with school and college leavers’ basic skills remains stuck at around a third – the same as a decade ago – with 42% reporting that they have had to provide remedial training for school and college leavers.
Given the governments focus on improving social mobility, there are worrying concerns over the quality and scope of careers advice being given to our young people to ensure they make informed decisions about what they study, and the pathways into training and work. Just 4% of employers believe that careers advice in schools and colleges is good enough, while more than two thirds (72%) believe it has to improve. The report says that the new National Careers Service will need to deliver a step change in this poor level of performance. This new service though is focused on and funded for adults, rather than pupils at school. Schools have devolved statutory responsibility for careers advice, but without any ring- fenced funding. The Report stresses the importance of ‘high quality impartial advice grounded in information about the jobs market to allow them to make informed choices about their career.’ Recognising the scale of the challenge the report says that businesses are willing to help with many employers actively involved in providing careers advice, with over half (60%) willing to play a greater role. Young people, of course, need good professional advice well before they get anywhere near employers. The worry is that far too many, including those who would benefit most from independent professional advice, will not have access to it, certainly not as things currently stand.