January 21, 2021 dmh
Chapter 3: A Flexible Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

I reported earlier, the Government has published Skills for Jobs: Lifelong Learning for Opportunity and Growth, along with the interim conclusions of the Post-18 Education and Funding Review: Pioneering reforms to boost skills and jobs – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) Closer scrutiny of the paper indicates there are some policy announcements, including the appointment of Sir John Holman as an Independent Strategic Adviser on Career Guidance. Interesting to note the emphasis within the White paper on the words “career guidance”. The aspiration is to create an all-age careers system.

On a positive note, good to see a commitment to funding for a trained Careers Leader in every secondary school and college.  No mention of careers-related learning in primary schools or careers support for those most vulnerable not in education, employment or training (NEETs).  

The Department for Education (DfE) reports “the reforms in this Skills for Jobs white paper will give people a genuine choice between high-quality technical and academic routes, ensure that students and taxpayers are getting value for money, and enable everyone to get the high-quality skills that employers need in a way that suits them. 

Key policies include:

  • Putting employers at the heart of post-16 skills
  • Providing the advanced technical and higher technical skills the nation needs
  • A flexible Lifetime Skills Guarantee
  • Responsive providers supported by effective accountability, governance, and intervention  
  • Supporting outstanding teaching”

They also state: “High-quality careers information, advice and guidance is vital if we are to make a success of these reforms. In the white paper, we are announcing new measures in four key areas that will build on the foundations laid by the Government’s 2017 Careers Strategy and deliver our long-term vision of a high-functioning, national careers system that is available to all.”

You can read the full text in Chapter 3: A Flexible Lifetime Skills Guarantee. In summary,

Develop a cohesive careers system

We will develop a more cohesive careers system with The Careers & Enterprise Company and National Careers Service based on greater local and national alignment. We have appointed Professor Sir John Holman as Independent Strategic Adviser on Careers Guidance to advise on alignment between The Careers & Enterprise Company and the National Careers Service, to create a clear, all-age careers system. 

Regarding his appointment, Sir John Holman said:

“I am pleased to have this opportunity to help DfE to develop an all-age careers guidance system that is as good as the best in the world.

The pandemic has accelerated changes that were already at work in the employment market, and people need the best guidance possible, starting at school and college and continuing to be available through their working lives, to help them navigate these difficult waters.”


Provide personalised careers information and advice

We will improve the National Careers Service website to make sure that every young person and adult can access personalised careers information and advice online. 

Complete the national rollout of careers infrastructure

We will accept the Post-18 Review Panel recommendation to complete the national rollout of Careers Hubs, digital support, Careers Leader training and the Enterprise Adviser Network (EAN) to all secondary schools and colleges. This includes extending access to all special schools and alternative provision and funding for a trained Careers Leader in every secondary school and college.  

Strengthen incentives and accountability for schools and colleges

We will introduce a range of measures to incentivise schools and colleges to prioritise careers guidance and hold them to account for the quality of their careers programmes. This will include a strong statutory framework, tougher enforcement and an Ofsted review of provision. To build a whole-school or whole-college approach, we will build careers awareness into every stage of teacher professional development and embed careers education into the secondary curriculum.  

Our work will be underpinned by a more strategic approach to careers research, building our understanding of the outcomes from careers activity and helping us to target our investment. 

DfE states: “The 2017 Careers Strategy has laid strong foundations and our investment, supported by the National Careers Service and The Careers & Enterprise Company, is delivering positive results and outcomes for young people and adults. 

Now is the time to finish the job, building on our knowledge and evidence of what works. We want to embed excellent careers guidance within a cohesive national system so that everyone can benefit. This is more urgent than ever as Covid-19 has led to unprecedented challenges and we need to support people of all ages into education, training, and work.”

Keen to hear your views: email: admin@


  1. Neil Hammond 4 months ago

    This is a useful guide to the governments thinking about careers work in the future. I would like however, answers to the following points:
    1.the government has belatedly recognised careers guidance which has often been ignored by them because it is our preferred way of supporting our clients. Will guidance be enhanced and valued by government?
    2. We often refer clients to other organisations that can support clients needs. We are advocates that aim to move people forward. Can we guarantee that we can always do this?
    3.The time spent with clients is important. Why is this not recognised by government? Too often we are spending too much time with clients we are told but sometimes it takes time to help those in need.
    4. The way we help can be determined by big money government contracts and the dedicated work of careers advisers is devalued, Can Careers advisers be valued for changing lives?
    5. Can careers advisers play a more influential role in the direction of careers work?

    • Author
      dmh 4 months ago

      Neil, I agree with all of the important questions you raise.

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