It’s almost a year since the Government published its plan for raising the quality of careers provision in England.
‘Careers strategy: making the most of everyone’s skills and talents’ aims to support people of all ages to make the right choices when it comes to acquiring the skills and qualifications needed to pursue a rewarding career. It promotes a culture of providing the ‘right advice’ in the ‘right place’ at the ‘right time’, supported by experiences from employers.
The LGA welcomed the Careers Strategy, but it is an ambitious plan, which depends on a strong partnership between government, employers, the education sector and the careers community to make it work.
We believe its success is at risk because no-one is coordinating this activity and, in many areas, councils are plugging the gaps in provision (see case studies, below).
Councils and combined authorities recognise the pivotal role good careers provision plays in ensuring employers can find local people with the skills they need to improve productivity, and they want to help government fix the current system.
However, careers provision in England remains patchy, complex and confusing, for both young people and adults. Across any one local area, there are a number of organisations and providers involved, including The Careers & Enterprise Company, the National Careers Service, Jobcentre Plus, councils, colleges and schools, plus myriad funding streams.
For example, The Careers & Enterprise Company will be spending £5 million over two years on rolling out up to 20 ‘careers hubs’ – groups of schools and colleges, located in the same geographic area, working with universities, education and training providers, employers and career professionals to improve careers support.
The ‘careers hubs’ will cover 710 schools and colleges across the whole of England, but exclude nearly 3,000 schools and colleges. Councils are concerned that this will result in many young people who will simply not benefit from this initiative, and this is a disservice to them.
We want to help government fix the patchwork careers provision and create a joined-up careers offer for people of all ages. But it can only do that by working with councils and combined authorities, and enabling them to develop a locally coherent and locally commissioned, all-age careers service, with requisite funding.