October 30, 2018 dmh

The Chancellors’ Budget (October 2018) allocates £100 million for the first phase of the National Retraining Scheme (NRS).This will include “a new careers guidance service with expert advice to help people identify work opportunities in their area, and state-of-the-art courses combining online learning with traditional classroom teaching to develop key transferable skills.”

I suspect this will focus on work with adults in the workplace. Lots of questions about how this might fit into the current careers landscape in England?

In 2012, the new all-age National Careers Service originally had a clear agenda to provide universal careers support services deep in local communities and businesses. The budget circa £105m was mostly for adult career guidance. Over the next three years, funding for area-based Prime Contractors working with priority groups is circa £45m.

Table 1: Overview of Priority Groups 2014-2019

2014 Priority Target Group2015-16 Priority Target Group[1]2018-2019 Priority Target Group


Young adults below level 3Low-skilled adults without a level 3 qualification, employment or trainingLow skilled adults without a level 2 qualification
Young adults aged 18-24 not in education, employment or trainingAdults aged 18-24 not in education, employment or training
Redundancy/Distance from the labour marketAdults facing redundancy, newly redundant or distant from the labour market (that is the customer has not been in any type of work for two years or more)Adults aged 50 and over who are unemployed or at demonstrable risk of redundancy
Low-skilled employedEmployment and Support Allowance (ESA) and in the work-related activity group (WRAG) who are unemployedSingle parents
Black, Minority, Ethnic (BME)Adults with learning difficulties and/or disabilitiesPeople with special educational needs and/or disabilities
CarersJobcentre Plus customers on DWP Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)Adults unemployed for over 12 months
50-year olds +People who are claiming Universal Credit who are looking for work and are at least 18 years old
OffendersAdults in custody aged 18 years or over, or an ex-offender

Source: Education & Skills Funding Agency

[1] In 2016-2017 the Priority Groups remained fairly stable with minor changes to include some Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and Universal Credit customers. The current set targets for area-based Prime Contractors include achieving: Customer Satisfaction Outcomes (CSO) (90%), Career Management Outcomes (CMO) (80%), and Job or Learning Outcomes (JLO) (45%).

The number of individuals aged 50 years and over as a proportion of the adult population is projected to increase from 42 per cent in 2010 to 50 per cent by the mid-2030s (Fuller Working Lives, 2017).

The Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) monitors National Careers Service contracts on a monthly basis – this includes: Ofsted inspection, mystery shopping reports, quality standards, and key performance indicators (KPIs) linked to payment by results (PBR). Targets include customer satisfaction (90%+), career management (80%), and job and learning outcomes (45%).

The service employs qualified and highly trained careers advisers. Ofsted in its cycle of full inspections of the National Careers Service (April 2017) found all of the 12 local area-based Prime Contractors were either (good) or (outstanding).

Table 2: – List of area-based Prime Contractors and geographical areas covered

Area Name and Prime Contractor from 1st October 2018


Geographical Area Covered
East of England and Buckinghamshire

Prime Contractor: Futures

Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Central Bedfordshire, Bedford, Luton, Northamptonshire, Milton Keynes, Suffolk, Norfolk, Peterborough, Southend on Sea, Thurrock, Essex


East Midlands and Northamptonshire

Prime Contractor: Futures

East Midlands and Northamptonshire Derby, Derbyshire, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Northamptonshire Cumbria
North East and Cumbria

Prime Contractor: Education Development Trust: National Careers Service

Northumberland, County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland, Stockton on Tees, Darlington
North West

Prime Contractor: Growth Company

Lancashire, Blackpool, Blackburn & Darwen, Sefton, Wirral, Liverpool, Knowsley, Halton, St Helens, Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Warrington, Trafford, Stockport, Tameside, Manchester, Salford, Wigan, Bolton, Bury, Rochdale, Oldham.

Prime Contractor: Prospects Ltd (The Shaw Trust)

Barking & Dagenham, Barnet, Camden, City of London, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Havering, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Westminster, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Croydon, Ealing, Greenwich, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kingston upon Thames, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Wandsworth
South East

Prime Contractor: CXK – Education Development Trust: National Careers Service main sub-contractor

West Berkshire, Slough, Reading, Bracknell Forest, Windsor & Maidenhead, Wokingham, Hampshire, Surrey, Southampton, Portsmouth, West Sussex, East Sussex, Kent, Medway, Isle of Wight, Brighton & Hove
South West and Oxfordshire

Prime Contractor: Adviza – Education Development Trust: National Careers Service main sub-contractor

Bath & NE Somerset, Bristol, Isles of Scilly, North Somerset, Somerset, Dorset, Bournemouth, Poole, Devon, Plymouth, Torbay, Cornwall, Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Swindon, Wiltshire
West Midlands

Prime Contractor: Prospects Ltd (The Shaw Trust)

Telford & Wrekin, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Coventry, Birmingham, Sandwell, Dudley, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Solihull, Staffordshire, Stoke on Trent
Yorkshire and the Humber

Prime Contractor: Education Development Trust: National Careers Service


North Yorkshire, York, East Riding of Yorkshire, Doncaster, Hull, Rotherham, Sheffield, Barnsley, Kirklees, Wakefield, Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, North and North East Lincolnshire

So far, millions of adults have benefited from the National Careers Service with high customer satisfaction ratings. Recent research shows for every every £1 invested in the National Careers Service in a region, Treasury stands to gain a £9 return on investment.





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