Information, Advice and Guidance for Young People – who will deliver it?

An update on the recent national conference “Information, Advice and Guidance for Young People – who will deliver it?” from Jason Owen, our UK Sales Manager.

The conference on Information, Advice and Guidance for young people took place on the 31st March and was organised by Neil Stewart Associates. It was an appropriately timed event, as it took place the day before some of the biggest changes in careers provision came into force.

The day was split into four sessions: Setting the scene; Giving the right guidance; Helping young people reach their full potential; and Key issue seminars. The first three had a number of presenters, each speaking for about 15 minutes.

We were welcomed on the day by Neil Stewart himself, as he said “Yes I do exist!” and he provided a humorous preamble to a very informative day.  The range of speakers was quite broad, which provided insights into a variety of situations.

Session One:  Setting the scene was kicked off by Tricia Jenkins MBE, International Centre for Excellence in Educational Opportunities, University of Liverpool.  In these budget-constrained times, it can be tempting to let young people rely on internet search engines to find careers information but Tricia provided some food for thought. 

Tricia mentioned that there are currently about 4.5 million results thrown up by a Google search for ‘IAG in the UK’, which I’m sure you will agree is a serious case of “information overload” or as I’ve also heard it described “A bit like drinking water from a fire hydrant”. 

Gareth Griffiths, Head of Curriculum and Qualifications Policy, YPLA continued the theme of ‘challenging cultural expectations’ and presented some interesting statistics:  75% of judges, 70% of finance directors, 45% of civil servants and 32% of MPs attended private schools. This reinforces the importance and role of good careers guidance provision for all. 

John Freeman CBE, rounded off the session, speaking about ‘Funding for IAG’. This was an honest assessment of where we are at the moment and where we are heading, particularly as there is an increasing notion that the ‘All-age Careers Service’ will be primarily web-based, with a question mark looming over local face-to-face provision.

Session Two:  Giving the right guidance began with a useful statistic from Richard Barrett, Director of Deloitte LLP, which was that “95% of young people want employers to be more involved in providing IAG about careers and jobs”. 

Peter Cobrin from Notgoingtouni gave a passionate talk about “Careers information, advice and guidance not being taken seriously in some schools” and rather than the “Government poncing around with structures” we need to do something today to help young people.  He also cited the usefulness and potential of “careers profiling tools” (such as Kudos) as part of a bigger careers IAG process that fits in with face-to-face work. 

Richard Linley, Senior Policy Adviser, Equality, Action on Access raised an interesting point regarding tuition fees: “If students pay more, they can demand more”.  The session was rounded off by Susan Hayday, Foundation Degree Forward (fdf) who informed us that, “Apprenticeships can be more difficult to get into than Oxford” and gave the example of Network Rail which received 10,000 applicants for 200 places. 

The Q & A session raised the question of “Who will hold schools accountable for delivering IAG?” to which the reply came “Every single child who passes through your hands”.

Trevor Mason, Institute of Career Guidance (ICG) was the first speaker in Session 3:  Helping young people reach their full potential.  Trevor spoke very passionately about the need for effective career guidance and warned that the current changes in the sector could lead to “two million young people not getting impartial IAG”.  I’ll repeat that – 2 MILLION – scary stuff indeed that surely demands action now, rather than more political rhetoric? 

Brian Lightman, Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said “We have a moral duty to help students to access the opportunities our generation had” and added, “Schools and colleges need full information from the Government”.

Session Four gave delegates a choice of three topical seminars, including critical websites – a vital role in the adviser’s toolkit, which was lead by Hilary Nickell, Surf in2 Careers.  If you’re not aware of the Career Companion resource, have a look at:   www.careercompanion.co.uk.

All in all, it was a useful conference and for me, one that highlighted the passion and enthusiasm that exists in the sector, despite the current uncertainty, for ensuring all young people have access to and receive good careers information, advice and guidance.

The whole event was recorded and can be downloaded with speakers’ notes at:  www.policyreview.tv.

Jason Owen

UK Sales Manager, CASCAiD Ltd

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