CHERRY PICKING MINISTERS THREATEN THE CAREERS STRATEGY

The Minister Lord Nash, responding to a PQ in the Lords on Careers Guidance this month, said there is clear evidence that if  one relies on face to face careers guidance that  this is a very ineffective strategy. Most studies have concluded  ,he intoned, that the best careers advice comes through activities with employers, and there is evidence that five or more employer engagements during secondary school means that students are seven times less likely to be NEET. Really?  Come again.  Does the Minister truly  think that face to face careers advice from a trained guidance professional is ineffective- and that the best careers advice comes from employer engagement and that this engagement is the same as professional  careers guidance ? The alarm bells are ringing! If he does then the careers strategy will be a dogs dinner, marginalizing professional advisers and yet another missed opportunity. And , guess what, its the most disadvantaged  students who will suffer the most. (talking evidence, its  disadvantaged students who  benefit the most from face to face professional  guidance)

Employers are not trained in giving guidance. Giving information is not the same as guidance.  At a time when the guidance sector is focused on improving quality assurance, for guidance professionals , Ministers want to send lots of employers into schools. So where is the quality assurance in this process? Do they have the right skills? Do they have the knowledge base ? Are they good communicators? Have they worked with young people before? Do they know the routes into different professions, outside their own sectors and the qualifications required.? Will they be  impartial and disinterested , or will they promote the merits  of their company sector or profession? Would they know what a facilitating subject was ? Where are their guidance qualifications? In short,  Where, on earth is the quality assurance in this engagement process? Ministers endlessly quote the same one piece of research which they manage to fundamentally misunderstand and misuse about the importance of employer engagement. To base policy on such a narrow and selective evidence base will lead to poor policy design and ultimately a hopeless strategy.  .Nobody suggests that its only about careers advice from professionals. This has to be combined with (quality assured) employer engagement, of course, careers education ie equipping young people with the tools to make informed choices ,and high quality work experience.
Ministers though are stuck on one track. Employer engagement with schools, and, err, that’s about it. They should adhere to all the Gatsby benchmarks on careers guidance, one of which, number eight as it happens,  covers personal  face to face guidance from a trained professional.  Rather than specifying a particular model  it said ‘ , the indicator for our benchmark is that the interview should be with an adviser who is appropriately trained to have the necessary guidance skills, the knowledge of information sources and the essential impartiality to do the job.’ It continues ‘ This person might be an external adviser (the professional association for career guidance practitioners, the Career Development Institute, maintains a register of qualified practitioners), or might be one or more trained members of the existing school staff, whose careers role could be part-time or full-time. School leaders told the authors of the Gatsby report that they thought personal guidance important because it:
– Tailors advice to individual needs;
– Can direct pupils towards the information sources of most use to them, and the actions most relevant to them;
– Can (and always should) give impartial advice that has only the pupils’ interests at heart.
The authors stated ‘Alongside our evidence from international practice, there is research evidence that personal guidance has an observable impact on young people’s careers and progression.’ So Ministers should stop cherry picking. Stop cheery picking both  the empirical  evidence and the Gatsby benchmarks. Otherwise the Careers strategy will be dead in the water..

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MENTAL HEALTH, YOUNG PEOPLE AND SCHOOLS

 

The government says that one in 10 children has a diagnosable mental health disorder –that is around 3 children in every classroom. Improving children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing is one of this Government’s key priorities as part of the drive to put mental health on an equal footing with physical health.

In oral questions, on 26 October, the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan mentioned the £1.5 million” we are contributing to a pilot for single points of contact between schools and specialist mental health services. That pilot will run in 250 schools, with training starting later this term. I should also like to mention that this year, for the first time, the Department for Education included just under £5 million in our voluntary and community sector grants for organisations such as Mind and Place2Be and for putting new resources for parents on the MindEd website.”

The Government, overall, has committed £1.25 billion to be invested specifically in young people’s mental health over the next 5 years. It says ‘ This money will transform local services so that every organisation involved with caring for children and young people works together to support them with their mental health, not just the National Health Service (NHS).’

Junior Education Minister Sam Gyimah added later, in response to an oral question,  “Good mental health and attainment are different sides of the same coin, which is why the Secretary of State appointed me as the first Education Minister with responsibility for mental health in schools. We are taking a number of steps, working with partners, to improve the mental health of young people.”

Conservative MP, Graham Evans, asked how the Government is ensuring that teachers have access to appropriate materials to teach pupils about mental health in an age-appropriate way “so that we can break through this stigma”

Gyimah said “I am glad my hon. Friend has asked that question. We have been working with the PSHE Association to develop age-appropriate lesson plans, as well as improving counselling and guidance, so that teachers know how to teach about mental health and deal with the range of issues they come across in young people.”

Sam Gyimah is working closely on this  with Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for Community and Social Care at the Department of Health.  Officials from DfE and Department of Health are working together on a programme of work.

Natasha Devon a writer, TV pundit and founder of the Self-Esteem Team www.selfesteemteam.org  ,in August 2015, became the Department for Education’s (DfE) first ever mental health champion for schools  and is tasked with  helping  to raise awareness and reduce the stigma around young people’s mental health.

https://www.minded.org.uk/

http://www.place2be.org.uk/

 

Note 1

Pilot Scheme

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/joint-mh-train-plts-eoi.pdf

 

Note 2

Action plan to tackle mental health stigma in schools-March 2015

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-action-plan-to-tackle-mental-health-stigma-in-schools

 

Note 3

The PSHE Association has launched new guidance and primary and secondary lesson plans for schools on preparing to teach about mental health and emotional wellbeing. The document has been produced under a grant from the Department for Education.

https://pshe-association.org.uk/resources_search_details.aspx?ResourceId=570&Keyword=&SubjectID=0&LevelID=0&ResourceTypeID=3&SuggestedUseID=0

 

 

 

OFSTEDS APPROACH TO 16-19 SECTOR- PRESSURE ON SCHOOLS OVER PUPIL DATA AND GUIDANCE

 

Seeking better quality data on NEET

And more accountability from schools on tracking, destinations and careers advice

Comment

On 10 September, Lorna Fitzjohn, Ofsteds National Director for Further Education and Skills delivered a speech at the Further Education and Skills annual lecture . The speech attracted little media coverage at the time but was nonetheless important in   outlining  Ofsteds approach to the 16-19 sector.

Fitzjohn explored the issues that prevent young people from engaging in education, employment or training. She highlighted  the arresting fact that approximately 1,184,000  young people aged between 16 and 24, do not have a full-time job and are not attending full-time education or training courses. That is more than the total population of Birmingham.  She said that while the  raising of the participation age in education, training and employment to 17 last year – and to 18 next year – seems to be having a positive impact on reducing the number of 16- to 17-year-olds who are NEET, part of the problem seems to have shifted and the focus is now on the high number of young people aged 18 to 24 who are NEET. Unemployment currently affects around 605,000 18– 24-year-olds .

The lecture used evidence from the survey Transforming 16 to 19 education and training: the early implementation of 16 to 19 study programmes and is supported by background information, data and case studies.

We now, ostensibly,  live in a policy environment in which both policy and practice should be informed by evidence . However, Fitzjohn points out that even now   we lack  definitive reliable  data on the number of young people who are in the  NEET category. ‘Quite simply, there are far too many people that are unaccounted for. The category used for these people is ‘current activity not known’. They are often called the ‘unknowns’. If you don’t know who these young people are, how can you support them’, she asks

She said “Local authorities have the overall responsibility for recording participation in employment, education and training. However, there are no lines of accountability in making the tracking processes more efficient and effective. The accuracy of the data is also dependent on the quality of the data collection by each local authority and the reliability of data provided by schools and providers. Inspectors encountered hugely contradictory data at a local level. The anomalies were quite shocking. For example, in one area, schools collectively reported a NEET figure of 0%, while the local authority for that area reported a figure of 10%. How can we plan for improvements when we simply can’t rely on the figures we have?”..” Local authorities have the duty to collect this information, but they do not have the power to enforce the providers to submit it to them.”

Her first set of recommendations to address the problems are:

Firstly, the government must ensure that there is a reliable system for tracking a young person’s educational progress and participation throughout their learning career. Plans to use the unique learner number linked to an individual’s national insurance number may be one way forward. However, any system would need to be accurate, secure and fool-proof. Whatever the systems, local authorities must be held to account if their data collection is ineffective.

Secondly, local authorities must have legal powers of intervention to ensure that all schools, academies and FE and skills providers comply with local protocols to provide full and prompt information on learners who drop out of their courses into unknown destinations.

Thirdly, the government must ensure that schools, providers, local authorities and government agencies, such as Jobcentre Plus, are mandated to share (albeit sensitively) information about learners’ backgrounds. This information is key to providing individualised support to young people when they transfer to different education and training providers

One of the main issues is that nationally managed strategies have too often been poorly aligned with local delivery. So there must be national strategies to support local initiatives to develop long-term solutions.

So, in relation to this, here are her second set of recommendations:

Firstly, young people must be at the heart of all planning and delivery of 14 to 19 provision. The government must ensure that there are clear lines of local accountability for the range and content of education and training, be it through the local enterprise partnerships, the local authority or other bodies.

Secondly, employers must take responsibility for leading vocational education and training for young people and make sure it supports the economy of the area. In turn, providers must work with employers to ensure that what they provide leads to their learners securing employment.

Finally, all schools must collaborate with other providers and careers guidance professionals to ensure that every young person has access to impartial careers guidance to help make informed choices about their futures

 

She concludes ‘As for Ofsted, I can assure you that inspections will take greater account of the actions taken by schools, FE and skills providers and local authorities to decrease the likelihood of a young person becoming NEET. Inspections will focus on how well providers ensure that all young people have a fair chance to progress.’

 This is perhaps the strongest indication  yet that Ofsted  will, in  future, pay much more attention to,  and hold schools accountable for, the quality of  information that  they hold on their pupils, their progress and tracking ,  their training and employment  destinations and the quality of  the impartial  professional careers  advice and  guidance  that  they  actually receive.

 

More  recently, the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said in the Commons  on 1 December, implicitly recognizing stakeholders concerns about Careers guidance in schools:”We are consulting representatives to examine what further steps we can take to prepare young people for the world of work more effectively, and to ensure that businesses are engaging with schools in meaningful ways.”

Securing a better future for all at 16 and beyond – annual lecture for further education and skills 2014 Lorna Fitzjohn, National Director for Further Education and Skills

10 September 2014

http://ofsted.gov.uk/resources/further-education-and-skills-annual-lecture-2014-speech-securing-better-future-for-all-16-and-beyond

IPPR REPORT- SKILLED STUDENTS WILL GET THE JOBS OF THE FUTURE

‘Skilled’ students most likely to win race for future jobs

Vocational qualifications have never been so in demand- is the VQ day message

IPPR Briefing suggests too much focus on churning out graduates, too little responding to needs of employers   

Comment

Three A-levels and a degree – the traditional ‘golden route’ in education – is no longer the only option when it comes to securing a job in the future according to a new report from the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) and backed by the Edge Foundation,  released to  mark VQ Day, 2014.  The Briefing report investigates the changing shape of the UK workforce and jobs market within the next decade. It reveals that many of the jobs expected to drive economic growth and mobility in the future will be accessible with a vocational qualification. The report also makes the important point that we should not just look to the jobs of the future but also at which jobs will be vacated as older workers retire

A key message from this is that it is not sufficient for policy makers to focus on increasing the number of graduates in the workforce as a way of creating more skilled jobs and driving economic growth. Indeed, the system may be delivering too many graduates than is required, certainly in some sectors of the labour market. The report suggests a growing demand for high quality vocational qualifications in the future, with the vocational route a useful pathway into work.  But it also warned that the qualifications and courses taken by young people need to better match the needs of employers.

By 2022 , according to the Edge Foundation,there is set to be an additional 3.6 million job vacancies in mid-skilled occupations such as child care supervisor, legal executive and commercial roofer, all of which employ high numbers of people with vocational qualifications at level 3 – the standard reached through Advanced Apprenticeships and many further education courses.

Additionally, the skills required for 9 out of the 10 most in-demand occupations of the future can be attained by completing vocational qualifications.

In 2022, the top three in-demand occupations will all be in health and care. As a result of our ageing population, nearly three million more health and care workers (2.75m) are going to be needed to look after people in hospitals, care homes and the community.

There will be nearly half a million jobs in skilled construction trades, ranging from bricklayers to geothermal pump installers.

There will be a quarter of a million jobs for ‘associate professionals’ – people with level 4 qualifications such as Foundation Degrees and Higher Apprenticeships. Opportunities range from accounting technician to day care manager and from dental technologist to financial adviser.

The top 10 occupations of the future (2022) are as follows:

Caring and personal service occupations (e.g. care workers and dental nurses)

Health and social care associate professionals (e.g. social workers and probation officers)

Health professionals (e.g. medical practitioners, psychologists and pharmacists)

Business, media and public service professionals (e.g. journalists and public relations professionals)

Corporate managers and directors (e.g. chief executives and production managers/directors in manufacturing)

Culture, media and sports occupations (e.g. artists, dancers and photographers)

Leisure, travel and related personal service occupations (e.g. sports and leisure assistants and hairdressers)

Other managers and proprietors (e.g. property/housing/estate managers and waste disposal/environmental services managers)

Customer service occupations (e.g. sales/retail assistants and telephone salespersons)

Business and public service associate professionals (e.g. air traffic controllers and insurance underwriters)

While many jobs will be created by economic growth, people leaving the workforce – mainly through retirement – will be directly responsible for creating the majority of job vacancies between now and 2022. In fact, more than 5.5million jobs – just within the top 10 most in-demand occupations – will be created through retirements.

The Edge Foundation says that the report also challenges the notion of the ‘hourglass’ economy which assumes many highly skilled jobs at the top and low skilled jobs at the bottom, but relatively few mid-level jobs in between. The data projections show substantial growth in the middle and lower end of the occupational ladder as well as at the top. For example, there will be additional jobs for:

Caring personal service occupations (#1) – 1.6 million additional jobs

Business and public service associate professionals (#10) – 1.2 million additional jobs

Skilled construction trades (#16) – nearly half a million additional jobs

Associate professional jobs in areas such as health, science and engineering (#2) – a quarter of a million additional jobs

Just over a third of all jobs will be created in high skilled occupations. It is important to note, says the  Edge Foundation,  that more people than ever are accessing higher education with vocational qualifications, giving them the edge with a combination of academic and practical knowledge. Recent Government research reveals that nearly 20% of advanced apprentices go on to higher education within a few years of completing their apprenticeships.

Jan Hodges OBE, CEO of the Edge Foundation which leads VQ Day, says: “This research clearly demonstrates that we must continue to support high quality vocational education if we are to meet the needs of our future economy.

“Education that combines rigorous academic teaching with a more practical and technical element – as we are seeing at University Technical Colleges, Career Colleges and Studio Schools – is a good example of how we can address the future skills issue. However, we also need to raise the esteem of vocational qualifications and celebrate the success of people completing them, which is what VQ Day is all about.”

Skills and Enterprise Minister, Matthew Hancock, said: “VQ day is about celebrating the ways in which high-quality vocational education and training, in all its forms, benefits learners, employers and the economy as a whole. We are reforming vocational qualifications to make sure they are rigorous and responsive to employers’ needs, to ensure all students get a valued qualification. The VQ Awards form an important part of the celebrations and set an exceptional example, demonstrating the success that can be achieved through taking vocational qualifications.”

Michele Sutton, President of the Association of Colleges, said: “The learning and training landscape has changed for young people.  It shouldn’t be assumed that completing a three-year academic course in university is the best path to follow to get a successful career.

“Our own Careers Guidance: Guaranteed campaign highlights the need to make sure school children have access to careers advice and guidance on post-14 education, training and employment options.  We need to make sure they are provided with advice for the best route through education based on their needs, rather than anyone else’s.

“The research launched by the Edge Foundation today supports this.  This found that nine out of 10 of the most in-demand occupations in the future can be attained by vocational qualifications.  Colleges are already part of this, providing a wide range of courses to their students.

 

BRIEFING -WINNING THE GLOBAL RACE? JOBS, SKILLS AND THE IMPORTANCE OF VOCATIONAL EDUCATION-IPPR –supported by the Edge Foundation

Jonathan Clifton, Spencer Thompson and Craig Thorley- June 2014

http://www.edge.co.uk/media/134800/winning-global-race_june2014.pdf

 

Note Also see Jan Hodges article in Daily Telegraph, 4 June ‘ Valuable Careers from Vocational Education’

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationopinion/10872909/Valuable-careers-from-vocational-education.html

PROFESSOR WATTS ACCUSES GOVERNMENT OF BROKEN PROMISES ON CAREERS ADVICE


DISAPPOINTMENT IN LATEST STATUTORY GUIDANCE ON CAREERS ADVICE

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

Comment

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

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/careers-guidance-for-young-people-in-schools

 

Non-Statutory Guidance-Careers Guidance and Inspiration in Schools

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/careers-guidance-advice-for-schools

CHARACTER REALLY COUNTS-WE CAN SUPPORT CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT AND RESILIENCE IN PUPILS

All Party Social Mobility group and Centre Forum say Character counts

Manifesto promotes importance of Character and Resilience

Comment

Why do some talented children grow up to fulfil their ambitions while others never realise their full potential? How do we create a country in which a person’s life chances are determined by their talent, not the circumstances of their birth? These are some of the difficult questions that the APPG ‘ Character and Resilience Manifesto’ aims to tackle.

The Chair of the APPG ,Baroness Claire Tyler, wrote:

‘There is a growing body of research linking social mobility to social and emotional skills, which range from empathy and the ability to make and maintain relationships to application, mental toughness, delayed gratification and self-control. These research findings all point to the same conclusion: character counts.’ She continued

‘The evidence also makes clear that people are not just born with or without Character and Resilience traits. Rather, a person learns to develop and use these abilities throughout their life. They can be taught and learnt at all stages of life. This means that policymakers and practitioners have a key role to play in encouraging the development of Character and Resilience throughout the population.’

The report says that there is growing evidence linking life chances to things beyond just test scores – that is ‘non-cognitive’ skills. In simple terms, these are attributes such as a belief in one’s ability to succeed, the perseverance to stick with a task and the ability to bounce back from life’s inevitable setbacks. In short, ‘Character and Resilience’.

At a summit last year, The APPG on Social Mobility heard evidence on how these so called ‘soft’ skills lead to hard results: where you are on the character scale will have a big impact on what you achieve. This Manifesto is an attempt to take the next step. It contains what we – as a cross party group – believe to be the best policies to enhance Character and Resilience across the life course.

In doing so, it is both a ‘call to arms’ to policy makers and an attempt to begin a wider national conversation on how developing Character and Resilience can help break down the stubborn blight of social immobility and enable people from every walk of life to realise their full potential.

 Character and Resilience manifesto

In the early years, the APPG calls on government to:

1. Introduce an Early Years Premium, extending the Pupil Premium into early years education;

2. Support development of a best practice tool-kit for the early years focussing on interventions that aid development of the crucial non-cognitive base in early child development;

3. Roll out evidence based parenting initiatives nationwide;

4. Encourage the development and implementation of an innovative campaign to convey simple but crucial child development messages to parents; AND

5. Develop a robust school readiness measure at reception that includes Character and Resilience.

In school, the APPG calls on government to:

1. Ask Ofsted to determine how to factor Character and Resilience and ‘extra’-curricular activities more explicitly into the inspection framework;

2. Make participation in ‘extra’-curricular activities a formal  aspect of teachers’ contracts of employment;

3. Create a respected, official ‘School Leaving Certificate’ that reflects a child’s achievement across a broad range of activities rather than just exam outcomes;

4. Incorporate Character and Resilience into initial teacher training and CPD programmes;

5. Support development of a best practice tool-kit for  interventions that aid Character and Resilience for specific  use in conjunction with the Pupil Premium; AND

6. Encourage all private schools to share their professional expertise and facilities that promote Character and Resilience with schools in the state sector, in keeping with  private schools’ charitable status.

In the transition to adulthood and employment, the  APPG calls on government to:

1. Encourage the growth of the National Citizenship Service and ensure that this has the explicit purpose of building

Character and Resilience at its heart;

2. Establish an officially recognised and valued National Volunteering Award Scheme to give adult volunteers formal recognition of their contribution to the lives of young people;

3. Seize the opportunity of the raising education participation age to use Character and Resilience programmes to re-engage the most disengaged 16 and 17 year olds back into learning; AND

4. Make Character and Resilience a key focus of the National  Careers Service.

In this area the APPG also calls on employers to:

5. Actively encourage staff to participate in CSR activities that develop Character and Resilience in young people;

6. Implement internal training programmes that help develop the Character and Resilience capabilities of staff; AND

7. Develop alternative routes into advanced professional positions that reflect the importance of Character and Resilience skills rather than raw academic achievements.

The chairman of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, Alan Milburn, described the report as “valuable”.

“Schools must do more to promote character skills as well as academic attainment,” he said.”It is not a question of either-or; the core business of a school must be to do both.”

The report has been welcomed widely, with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg saying it would help to “drive innovative thinking”.

In a speech last week, Education Secretary Michael Gove stressed the importance of extra-curricular activities.

“As top heads and teachers already know, sports clubs, orchestras and choirs, school plays, cadets, debating competitions all help to build character and instil grit, to give children’s talents an opportunity to grow and to allow them to discover new talents they never knew they had,” he said.

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said the report “tackles one of the most pressing questions currently facing our education system: how do we educate resilient young people that have a sense of moral purpose and character, as well as being passionate, reflective learners?”

Edward Timpson, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education said, in the Commons on 10 February,” Schools play an important role in providing character-building activities for their pupils. Sports clubs, orchestras and choirs, school plays, cadet forces and debating competitions all help to build character and give children opportunities to flourish. Schools are best placed to determine the needs of their pupils and how best to meet them”. He added that “We are also removing unnecessary health and safety rules that prevent children from going on expeditions and seeking adventures”

Character and Resilience Manifesto Chris Paterson, Claire Tyler  and Jen Lexmond

The all-party parliamentary group on Social Mobility and Centre Forum -Feb 2014

http://www.centreforum.org/assets/pubs/character-and-resilience.pdf

Note

James O Shaughnessy, formerly deputy director of the think tank Policy Exchange and adviser to David Cameron, has established Floreat Education which aims to open a number of Primary schools  which focus, interalia, on  developing  ‘good character, including virtues such as honesty, resilience and service to others’. Floreat Education has  just been chosen to open a new primary school on the site of the Atheldene Day Centre in Earlsfield.

WE MUST ADDRESS NOW THE SKILLS MISMATCH SAYS BCC-POOR CAREERS GUIDANCE PART OF THE PROBLEM

 

 

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

http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/J4108_Skills%20Manifesto_v4.pdf

 

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

http://www.ippr.org/images/media/files/publication/2014/01/Driving-a-generation_Jan2014_11820.pdf

Note

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’.