A new “employer-led” company will launch next year to boost careers advice in schools and colleges, the education secretary announced today.
In the “ambitious new approach”, the company will be tasked with helping to bring employers together with schools and colleges, Nicky Morgan told the Commons on Wednesday.
The new company will have an initial focus on careers advice for 12 to 18-year-olds, and will work closely with the National Careers Service, Ms Morgan said. The company is expected to be fully operational from spring next year, the Department for Education (DfE) said.
The company will also be given responsibility for administering a £5 million investment fund “to support innovation and stimulate good practice” in careers advice, the DfE said.
Ms Morgan said: “[The company] will use relationships with employers, private, public and third sector, to break down barriers between schools and colleges on the one hand, and employers on the other, and increase the level of employer input into careers inspiration [and] enterprise in all schools and colleges.
“It will do this partly through a network of advisers who will broker strong and extensive links at local level. It will assist schools and colleges in choosing effective careers and enterprise organisations to partner with, including considering the use of quality marks.
“It will stimulate more, and better, activity in areas where the current provision is poorest.
“And last, but not least, it will develop an ‘enterprise passport’ to incentivise young people to participate in a wide range of extra-curricular activities that boost their appeal to employers as well as their enterprise skills.”
The announcement was given a cautious welcome.
ASCL general secretary Brian Lightman said: “Access to face-to-face guidance from qualified professionals must form part of the programmes that schools are asked to implement. ASCL welcomes the additional funding allocated today. This needs to be directed to front line services for schools.
“Today’s proposals will stand or fall on whether they enable schools to put in place expert, professional support.”
Dr Deirdre Hughes, until September chair of the National Careers Council for England, warned that establishing a national system of high quality careers provision would be a long-term, and potentially complicated, process.
Funding for the new body will initially come from a share of £20 million for careers advice announced by the chancellor in the Autumn Statement last week.
Over time, the company would become self-funded, Ms Morgan said, with employers covering the company’s costs.
The new company will be chaired by Christine Hodgson, chairman of Capgemini, a management consultancy firm.