What’s happening with the aacs?

The new adult advancement and careers service (aacs) will be launched across the UK this coming Autumn. For those who need a quick recap, aacs is the temporary name for a new all age adult guidance service. The aacs will be run by the Skills Funding Agency, bringing together the Careers Advice Service and nextstep.

Access to the aacs will be through three main entry points: telephone, online and face to face. The aacs will be available to everyone, regardless of age or situation; however adults that are hardest to reach will be a priority target group.

The aacs is expected to contribute towards the government’s goal of moving towards an 80% employment rate. As part of development for the aacs, ten regional prototypes for the delivery of adult guidance are currently being trialled throughout the UK. This will help to determine which approaches to adult guidance are the most effective. As part of the aacs, all jobseekers will complete a Skills Health Check. The Skills Health Check allows the jobseeker to evaluate their skills and consider the skills employers require. As part of the process a Skills Health Check diagnostic tool will be used.

The Skills Health Check diagnostic tool was trialled in the West Midlands at the end of September 2008 among new Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants. In August 2009, the LSC produced a report entitled ‘Evaluation of the Skills Health Check Diagnostic Tool’. The report documented feedback from practitioners and clients that had used the diagnostic tool. The report concluded with a list of recommendations.

Recommendation 7.1 from the report states:

“There is some work to be done in ensuring that advisers are clear on the aims and objectives of the Skills Health Check tool and in particular are clear that it is not being considered as a replacement for tools such as Adult Directions which are designed to identify particular careers to which customers may be suited. This could help to counter some of the criticisms that advisers are currently making of the tool.”

This recommendation suggests that Adult Directions is an essential part of the guidance process, for inspiring jobseekers to explore their career options. The Skills Health Check diagnostic tool could be used to provide a basic skills analysis, before researching careers that match the client’s skills and interests with Adult Directions. Here at CASCAiD, we are monitoring developments in the Skills Health Check and other aacs pilots to ensure our products can be developed to meet the needs of guidance professionals.

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