Face-to-face careers guidance for every student is it a new idea?
The pre-election pledge from Labour's education spokesman Tristram Hunt to put £50M into careers advice for schools is an interesting idea but it is not new.
Careers education is a service that many schools struggle to provide given the paucity of resources available to them. The coalition decision to remove work experience as a compulsory feature of a young person's education further undermined the perceived value of careers in the minds of many.
The overwhelming majority of schools have worked hard to maintain a strong presence of careers information, advice and guidance for young people through continuing work experience programmes, developing innovative PSHEe lessons and encouraging a sense of vocation through subject specific areas of the curriculum.
However, this is not the case for all schools. In some local authorities the challenge of finding acceptable work placements, and the burden of administration in locating those places that comply with the attendant health and safety measures, is a highly challenging and costly exercise. Schools and colleges who have worked towards a standard such as Investor in Careers have a deep understanding of the value of embedding work place education within the curriculum. They know that, where the recommended activities have been retained or newly attained, young people benefit at many levels.
If there is to be a change of government after the election it will be vitally important to conduct a review of careers education and training; perhaps training staff within schools to provide initial advice has been a useful first step, after all this is what the DFE recommend, but it is not a standalone measure.
Here are some key points relating to Quality Awards, such as Investor in Careers. The can be found in Evaluation and monitoring of advice and guidance (p16).
In developing careers provision for
pupils, there are currently three aspects of quality assurance that schools
should take into consideration:
The quality of the school careers programme. The Government recommends that all schools should work towards a quality award for careers education, information, advice and guidance as an effective means of carrying out a self-review and evaluation of the school's programme. The national validation, the Quality in Careers Standard, will assist schools to determine an appropriate quality award to pursue. There are currently twelve quality awards that are recognised as meeting the Quality in Careers Standard.
The quality of independent careers providers. The recognised national quality standard for information, advice and guidance (IAG) services is the matrix Standard. To achieve the Standard, organisations will need to demonstrate that they provide a high quality and impartial service. Schools can access an online register of organisations accredited to the matrix Standard.
The quality of careers professionals working with the school. The Career Development Institute has developed a set of professional standards for careers advisers, a register of advisers holding postgraduate qualifications and guidelines on how advisers can develop their own skills and gain higher qualifications. The main qualifications for careers professionals are the Qualification in Career Guidance (QCG) (which replaced the earlier Diploma in Careers Guidance) and the Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development. Schools can view a register of careers professionals or search for a career development professional who can deliver a particular service or activity.
A pledge to put funds into CEIAG is a heartening first step, and vital if apprenticeships and other work-related forms of education training and learning are to be effective. All of our young people deserve nothing less than the best quality of preparation for their future careers in a fast-changing and challenging environment. Will we see similar promises from all of the major parties and, more importantly, will they been put into action when the general election is over?