Professor Tony Watts, one of our foremost experts on CEIAG, has just resigned from the National Careers Council . He and Heather Jackson ,who also resigned , issued a joint statement which began:
“With great regret we have resigned from the National Careers Council. We disagree fundamentally with some of the recommendations presented by the Council to the Minister for Skills (Matthew Hancock) on Wednesday 1 May. We also have strong concerns about the process through which these recommendations were arrived at.”
The statement continued:”‘Our main disagreement with the NCC recommendations is the proposal that the funding for the NCS should be ‘rebalanced’ to provide greater emphasis on services that support young people. The explanatory paragraph for the recommendation starts ‘Tough times demand tough choices’ and goes on to argue that young people should take precedence over adults in terms of resources. This proposal allows DfE to escape its responsibilities by proposing that the BIS budget fill some of the gaps in services for young people, thus selling the pass on the existing services for adults.”
Professor Watts has been a consistent and trenchant critic of current government policy on careers guidance to young people. He has argued that the governments approach should be based on robust evidence but that , so far, this has not been the case . The government favours a school- based approach which, in an international context, is not regarded as best practice. He has expressed concerns too over weak accountability and a shortage of funding.
He asks where the funding has gone, following the demise of the Connexions Service. A foot note in the statement points out that the funding provided for the careers guidance element of the Connexions Service totalled around £196 million. The responsibility for providing careers guidance to school pupils has now been transferred to schools, but none of this funding has been transferred: it has been allowed to disappear. (there is no ring- fenced funding for careers guidance in schools. CEIAG must come from existing school budgets). The only DfE funding provided to the National Careers Service for services for young people has been the £7 million it has provided for a helpline. This has contrasted with the £83 million provided by BIS to the NCS for services for adults.
It is accepted that, for the most disadvantaged pupils, face to face advice from a fully qualified professional is probably the most appropriate form of advice, but it is also the most expensive,so schools will be less likely to offer it to their pupils.This in turn might undermine the governments own skills and social mobility agendas and make it harder too for it to reduce the number of young people not in education,employment or training. Schools will also not be inspected or rated on the quality and scope of the CEIAG they offer their pupils.
CEIAG is Careers Education ,Information Advice and Guidance
NCS is the National Careers Service