Call for a comeback for careers advice

Call for a comeback for careers advice

One of the UK’s biggest building services companies wants the government to reinstate funding for schools careers advice to help to tackle the “growing skills crisis” across the building industry.

NG Bailey also says that the lack of face-to-face careers advice in schools means millions of pupils are not being told about the full range of academic and vocational options.

Other proposals in a report published by the company last week include the Department for Education (DfE) funding a £30 million careers advice pilot that would involve 500 schools and about 450,000 pupils.

The coalition withdrew £200 million of careers advice funding when it axed the Connexions service in 2012.

Since then, schools have been responsible for sourcing and funding advice for pupils, rather than the government and local authorities.

The result, says the report, is a “lottery” as to whether pupils get good quality careers advice or not.

Cal Bailey, the company’s sustainability director, says tackling the “growing skills gaps” has to be a priority for the government, starting in schools.

“We have a collective duty to ensure our young people are given the right level of support to help them into fulfilling and sustainable careers.

“Politicians, civil servants and educationists need to work with the business community to make the changes that we all believe are necessary.

“Around half of all school pupils don’t go to university, so focusing advice on academic routes rather than vocational ones risks damaging the futures of millions of young people.”

The report also backs stronger statutory guidance from the DfE to prevent schools from “effectively opting-out” of offering face-to-face careers advice as well as closer collaboration between the DfE and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills to ensure careers support meets the needs of employers.

It also recommends standards of advice within individual schools be “clearly highlighted” by Ofsted in inspection reports, and that vocational training and apprenticeships be “more effectively and consistently promoted” by schools, to reduce the number of pupils on “dead-end” courses.

It also pushes for better links between employers and schools, to improve pupils’ understanding of the world of work and the career options available, particularly in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Pic: Cal Bailey working with pupils at Buttershaw Business & Enterprise College, Yorkshire, discussing STEM-related careers options and apprenticeships