The names of more than 60 FE colleges set to play key roles in new careers hubs, which the education secretary Damian Hinds has said will transform careers education across England, have been unveiled. But question marks have been raised over how viable it will be for the colleges to implement the required changes, as the hub support fund amounts to just £1,000 per provider.
CEC has so far received £40.8 million of government funding since 2015, and is expected to be given at least £18.8 million in each of the next two financial years. The announcement to spend a total of £60,000 (£1k for 60 colleges) on Career Hubs is incredulous! This 0.15% of £40m. Really puzzled as to how this will secure high quality careers advice for young people in England? Juxtapose this with the average salary of a college tutor circa £25k – £30k and/ or the cost of purchasing services from a professionally trained carers adviser. Whilst there are other small-scale funds made available by CEC, this is piecemeal and uneven across the regions. In reality, a postcode lottery continues with those most in need of careers support are being overlooked.
The Careers and Enterprise Company, tasked with establishing the hubs on behalf of the government, told FE Week the names of all the general FE and sixth-form colleges involved (see table below).
The colleges involved with each careers hub:
When asked if the CEC believed this amount would be sufficient, a CEC spokesperson said: “The central hub fund is one part of the money they will receive, but not the only strand. The exact funding per college will vary.” Other financial support on offer was said to include funding of up to £3,500 for 15 colleges and schools in each hub to train a “careers leader”. In areas facing “the greatest need”, schools and colleges will also “have access to a ‘virtual wallet’” of up to £5,000 each to fund what CEC calls “employer encounters” – which enable contacts to be established between employers and learners.
£5 million funding over 2 years in 20 geographical areas = £125,000 per careers hubs. This is better than nothing, as those who have not been successful in their proposals will testify. But is this really the level of expectation for our nation? A market in careers rather than a national all-age guidance system?