Robert Halfon has today delivered a key speech highlighting the fragmentation and incoherence of the Careers Support landscape across England. TO READ HIS FULL SPEECH – 031218 Robert Halfon Careers Speech
Key comments include:
“Careers support is still far too fragmented
We have a confused mish-mash of offerings of support with different government agencies
providing bits here and un-coordinated pieces there. For the student it must be like trying to negotiate a way through spaghetti junction with all the signs pointing the wrong way. No wonder so many get lost. How can they know and understand the difference between The National Careers Service and the Careers and Enterprise Company: Networks for Collaborative Outreach and local authorities: combined authorities, city mayors, or Local Enterprise Partnerships: Jobcentre Plus or individual university outreach or National Collaborative Outreach Programme? On top of this are employers’ own initiatives and third sector organisations. Some working with government agencies, some not.
And no overarching entity to bring it all together, far less a decent roadmap to guide baffled
students to good quality help and advice.”
We are ignoring the need for professionalism
The evidence shows that access to personalised, impartial and professional advice is at the heart of delivering effective careers support. They are key to providing objective advice, unrestrained from cultural bias. They bring important up-to-date knowledge of the labour market and the routes people need to take to make the most of likely opportunities. They are trained to understand students’ strengths and motivations, and match this with good advice. But recent policy has banished large portions of the career development profession. Teachers and employers cannot do the job alone. Careers leaders can play a part, but students
must have access to independent advice. This is particularly important when it comes to
technical routes, which have not always been championed by all schools.”
There is a scandalous lack of oversight.
The National Careers Service is heavily scrutinised. I’m talking the works: Ofsted inspection, mystery shoppers, quality standards, and payment by results linked to customer satisfaction and job/learning outcomes. But the CEC? Nothing
evenly remotely comparable.”
Offering top-class impartial support from qualified professional advisers.
The evidence shows that independent and impartial support delivered by experts is crucial. Our new National Skills Service should recruit the very best professional careers specialists. It should treat careers support as a distinct field of expertise – not one that can be shipped out to teachers (whom we already ask to do so much) or generalists on the cheap. Again, we can learn some lessons from other support systems. The offer in Scotland has been commended by the OECD for its professionalism. Its career support experts are professionally qualified and top-up regularly to develop. We used to have a healthy number of experts in our own workforce. Tragically, many are now leaving the profession, or going elsewhere, because we have reduced our demand for their skills. What a complete waste. We must welcome them back and allow them to play their part in a new, world-class offer.
So, what I am calling for today is: A one-stop-shop under the direction of one backbone entity. One that focuses heavily on those who have fallen on hard times. Serves all ages. Offers support from qualified professional advisers. With a clear line of accountability. And brings into the fold the National Apprenticeship Service and a UCAS style portal for technical education. These are the core pillars of a National Skills Service. Top-class careers support is a lifeline for those who may stumble blindly into a life of unfulfilled promise. It also taps into a whole new reservoir of latent talent and endeavour to help in the vital task of continuing to build the UK economy.
Robert Halfon and Claudia Harris (CEO, Careers and Enterprise Company) interviewed today on BBC World at One (16.01 -21.00) https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0001d92
Refer to the earlier recommendations of the National Careers Council reports to the Coalition Government (2012 -2014) – if only Government had listened and acted upon the recommendations that came from this Council comprising the CBI, ASCL, CEO Careers Experts & CEO Charitable organisations – It’s time for a rethink and urgent action to create a coherent system that support young people, adults and industries across England.