Adult Guidance Conference – Opportunities for the Future

Last week, I attended the ICG Adult Guidance Conference in Manchester. The ICG (Institute of Career Guidance) hasn’t held a specific adult guidance themed event in England for a few years, but the changes that are happening within the sector made the event a popular choice for advisers and others working within organisations that are delivering guidance.

The new adult careers service, Next Step, was obviously a key topic with many of the delegates involved in delivering the service. Adam Micklethwaite, Deputy Director, Further Education Directorate at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills provided a keynote address and expressed that the new service was something to be proud of. Adam confirmed that careers guidance is a priority for his department and stated that the upcoming skills strategy, strategy for economic growth and the education white paper will all have links into IAG.

Adam touched on the central spending review and confirmed that while no decisions have yet been taken, John Hayes MP, Minister of State (Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning), Business, Innovation and Skills, was exploring the potential for efficiency and synergy between guidance for adults and young people.

Dr Deirdre Hughes, President of the ICG also addressed the audience and discussed the current landscape for delivering guidance. Dr Hughes spoke about research that she had undertaken and explored how policy goals in relation to learning, social equality and the labour market could be translated into helping people to achieve sustained employability and economic well-being and improve their social mobility.

The afternoon keynote featured a presentation by Tracy Fishwick, Director (North West) Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion. Tracy highlighted some of the current statistics and trends around employment and expressed the need for potential employees to be flexible, mobile, adaptable and to have more skills and qualifications in the current economic climate.

Adrian Thomas, Head of Resourcing at Network Rail, provided an interesting view of the employer’s perspective. Adrian discussed his theory that everyone is talented and that to succeed they need to be coached to recognise their talent, believe in it, develop it and then exploit it. He also highlighted his belief that there is no such thing as an ‘ideal’ employee and the importance of finding employees who match the organisation’s corporate values.

The conference provided a great update on the current challenges facing those working in the sector. Speaking to other attendees, it was apparent that despite the current issues around funding reductions and the demand for services due to the growth in the number of people seeking work, those delivering guidance are remain incredibly focused on helping their clients in the very best way that they can.

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