The Future of Careers Education and Guidance – 14th Annual National Conference for CEG Advisers and Consultants

Update from Jason Owen, CASCAiD’s UK Sales Manager

I attended day one of the Annual National Conference for CEG Advisers and Consultants or the ‘David Andrews Conference’ as it is also known, which took place on the 17th November in York.

David had put together an excellent, topical programme, which included key notes from Jennifer Coupland (DfE) and Brian Lightman (ASCL),  plus a selection of workshops and ample time for networking.

The timing of the event was good as it came just a couple of days after the Education Bill was given Royal Assent.

Jennifer Coupland, Deputy Director, Participation Division, Department for Education is responsible for careers policy and gave the conference a useful update.

So, what do the changes mean for careers guidance?

It was encouraging for the audience to hear Jennifer say that “careers guidance matters”.  She also said, “There is a demand for more and better careers guidance, with young people in particular saying they would like more help and advice” and “(Careers guidance) has a vital role to play in supporting the participation, attainment and progression of young people”.
We were then presented with some statistical analysis:

  • 86% of 16-17 year olds and 77% of 17 year olds said they would have valued help in finding out which career suited their skills and abilities
  • 94% of young people said they would like more help in choosing the right subjects or courses and more information about options available for FE or training

New duty on Schools

Jennifer then outlined the new duty on schools:

  • To secure independent, impartial careers guidance for pupils in years 9-11
  • Guidance must include advice on apprenticeships and other vocational routes and promote the interests of the pupil not the institution
  • Guidance must be provided from sources independent of the school – when questioned about this, the sources could be mentoring, employers, website, telephone helpline, etc
  • In addition to  the above, the Department, in the New Year will consult on raising coverage of the duty to 18 and extending downwards to year 8
  • Plus the duty will be extended to cover colleges

The Department for Education will be issuing, early in the Spring term, short and focused statutory guidance to schools

However, it was eluded to, that this was a concession by Ministers, who are at pains to stress that schools are free to determine how to fulfil the duty, but must have regard to:

  • The need to secure face to face guidance where appropriate (e.g. for disadvantaged young people)
  • Provision of wider careers activity to support independent guidance
  • Working with the Local Authority to identify those needing extra support
  • Working with other learning providers
  • Securing guidance from quality assured providers

What about Local Authorities?

Local Authorities retain the duty to:

  • Make available to young people below the age of 19, support that will encourage, enable and assist young people to participate in education and training

In 2013 when Raising the Participation Age (RPA) comes into effect, LAs will have two new duties:

  • To promote the effective participation of young people in education and training in accordance with the RPA requirements
  • To make arrangements to identify young people not participating

This will necessitate tracking and supporting young people, maintaining CCIS and continuing to deliver the September guarantee

It was stressed that although local authorities will no longer have an obligation to provide a universal service, there is nothing precluding them from operating one if they feel that is best for the young people in their area.

What is the role of the National Careers Service?

  • Offering a single point of access to online and helpline support for young people and adults from Sept 2011
  • Made up of a network of organisations providing face to face guidance to adults
  • (NCS providers) Able to offer services to young people on the open market
  • Will go live in April 2012

And face to face provision for young people?

When questioned about young people who want advice and guidance outside of term time, we were told they would have access to the website and helpline – no face to face – and when questioned further about what happens if a young person is not able to use the website or helpline (eg 0800 numbers can be blocked on some mobiles) we were not given any alternatives, which is very disappointing to say the least.

It is also worth noting that numerous reports, including Simon Hughes’ report to the Prime Minister, point to the value and need for face to face interventions as part of a healthy mix.  But it would seem that there is not the will or inclination within the Department to acknowledge this.  If it is all about saving money then why not be honest and say so?

Reference to comments made by Alison Wolf, who reported on vocational education for the government, regarding her belief that IAG should be online, not face to face, for all 16-18 year olds, were a point of much debate and annoyance amoungst delegates.

As delegates we questioned where the belief of the government and their advisers comes from and there was a feeling amongst many at the conference that these beliefs are somewhat detached from reality!

Times certainly are a changin’ for those involved in the careers sector! Whether we agree or not with the Government’s policies, they are just that and surely it is up to each of us for to make the best of them?

All in all a very informative conference, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Jason Owen, UK Sales Manager CASCAiD

(Please note:  these are my personal views and do not necessarily reflect those of CASCAiD)

One thought on “The Future of Careers Education and Guidance – 14th Annual National Conference for CEG Advisers and Consultants

  1. Its good to see how many people are still pointing out the glaring difficulties with the ‘present’ situation and how so many young people will not have access to the guidance they actually need. Keep it up!


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