Last week, I attended the Westminster Briefing on Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance: Establishing a Stronger United Profession for All Ages. The event set out to help address the many questions surrounding the CEIAG sector in light of the announcement about the introduction of the all-age careers service, the impact of the comprehensive spending review and the publication of the Education Bill.
The event was introduced and chaired by , Editor of Children’s Services Weekly. Chris offered some helpful background to elements of the recently published Education Bill. Clauses 26 and 27 of the Bill relate specifically to careers education and guidance, putting the emphasis on schools to provide independent, impartial guidance. During the event, concern was raised about the impact of the proposed changes, in particular on the value of careers education, which many delegates fear will disappear from many schools.
Gerard McAlea from the Quality, Support and Guidance Division of DfE, spoke about the Education Bill and stated that while the Bill aimed to give more freedom to schools, independent, impartial careers guidance was crucial in order to support the Government’s ambitions for improving social mobility.
Gerard also spoke about the need for quality assurance as part of the new all-age careers service. While he confirmed that decisions about funding and procurement for the new service were yet to be agreed by Ministers, the commitment to quality assurance will underpin everything.
Professor Rachel Mulvey, Vice Chair of the Careers Profession Taskforce spoke about how vitally important it is for careers professionals to “regain the mastery of labour market information and intelligence” as part of the changing CEIAG context. Prof Mulvey highlighted that John Hayes MP, Minster of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning had endorsed the recommendations of the Careers Profession Taskforce.
Deirdre Hughes, Immediate Past President of the ICG put the forthcoming changes to CEIAG delivery in England into a UK and EU context by highlighting changes to strategy elsewhere. Deirdre also highlighted the vital role that careers guidance plays in getting people into sustainable employment.
Paul Chubb, Director of Careers England delivered a thought-provoking presentation about “Rainbow Builders”. Paul spoke about how important it is for schools to support young people with careers education and careers guidance to equip them with the skills they need to aspire to be successful people who will benefit the economy.
Tom Miller, Director of Skills and Business Support at Reed in Partnership illustrated the importance of linking careers guidance to the needs of employers. Tom highlighted the findings of recent research undertaken by Reed which found that one in five young people feel that they don’t have the right skills to get into work. Tom spoke about the importance of employability skills and work experience. The survey found that 90% of young people believe work experience gives them a competitive advantage when seeking employment.
The afternoon session moved away from policy slightly to look at examples of CEIAG delivery in practice. Presentations from Connexions Thames Valley, iCeGS, NEAGA and George Spencer Academy illustrated where provision is really benefiting young people and adults.
While there wasn’t a huge amount of ‘new’ information on the forthcoming changes (many of the practical implementation aspects are still to be confirmed), it was very interesting to get an update of feelings and views from across the careers sector.