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 .