ICG Adult Guidance Conference

An update on the ICG Adult Guidance Conference from Jason Owen, our UK Sales Manager.

On Tuesday 10th May, John Kelly, Director of Sales and Marketing and I attended the Institute of Careers Guidance (ICG) Adult Guidance Conference at the Jury’s Hotel in a sunny Birmingham. 

I’d not been to Birmingham for a few months and surprised myself by choosing the correct exit from the ‘Queensway’ tunnels.  So, a good start to the day!

The Conference had a good mix of keynote speakers, a lively Q & A discussion and a choice of workshop sessions in the afternoon.  It also provided a great opportunity to catch up with colleagues old and new.

Adam Micklethwaite from BIS (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) gave the first keynote address, which provided a useful careers guidance policy update. 

Adam confirmed that the forthcoming National Careers Service for England, which is due to go live in April 2012, will have “(from September 2011) single points of access to online and helpline support for young people and adults” and that it will “build on Next Step, drawing in elements of Connexions”.

Adam also confirmed that for 2012-13, BIS will provide £84m of funding for the National Careers Service.  It is also expected that the National Careers Service will “lead the way on quality and professional standards”.

Lyn Barham, from the ICG Research Committee, gave a useful insight into the whole area of ‘research’, before Paul Chubb, from Careers England rounded off the keynotes with a rousing and passionate address giving a ‘Careers England perspective on the All-age Careers Service’.

Paul commended Adam Micklethwaite and BIS for the work that has been done in relation to Next Step, but stressed that the National Careers Service “needs to be properly funded” and asked the Department for Education to be clear about what funding they have for the service, as “the silence is deafening”.

The move from the previous set-up (ie, Connexions) to the new service needs to be properly handled and Paul labelled the lack of a transition plan “unacceptable”.  He also stressed that in areas where the young people’s service had been decimated, the new National Careers Service will be the next port of call; being called a ‘National Careers Service’ raises a certain level of expectation amongst users.  Therefore, it is vital that it is properly funded. 

A full policy commentary can be found on the Careers England website:  www.careersengland.org.uk. You can find it in the ‘Papers’ section: look for Policy Commentary 15 – it’s an informative read.

The afternoon session began with workshops, include one entitled ‘Changing Clients, Changing Times’ which I led.  Thanks to all who took part.  I hope you found it informative and, as promised, here are the notes from our ‘What do you want a technology-based assessment resource to do?’ discussion…

A technology based assessment resource: 

  • Acts as an ice breaker and plants ideas for discussion
  • Provides sources of information
  • Is an assessment tool that provides an outcome relevant for the client at that time
  • Needs to be realistic and pitched at the client’s level.

This was followed by the final sessions of the day. I attended the lively, fun and informative session ‘Using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) with clients’ led by Sarah Lang.

My thoughts at the end of the day were that this was a good, informative conference, but that as a sector there are still lots of questions that need answering regarding the National Careers Service, not least to do with funding. 

And, with the Service due to go live in April, there is a lot of work to be done between now and then.

Exciting times indeed…

Jason Owen

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