ASDAN CEO responds to House of Lords Committee on Social Mobility report

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The current system for helping people move from school to work is failing most young people, the House of Lords Select Committee on Social Mobility has found

Chair of the Committee, Baroness Corston, said: “We have found that without being taught life skills, given the right support, access to work experience and robust, independent careers advice, we are in danger of trapping these young people in low-skilled, low-paid work, with little chance of a rewarding career.”

In response to the report, Maggie Walker, ASDAN CEO, said: “This House of Lords report, headed by Baroness Corston, is a welcome and much-needed intervention into an issue that we already know is a serious challenge for schools, and wider society.

“It highlights, once again, the inadequacy of progression routes for thousands of young people – notably, the ‘double whammy’ of a narrow curriculum that fails to meet their educational needs, coupled with a lack of adequate careers advice and minimal preparation for the workplace.

“Therefore, the Lords’ recommendation of a 14-19 transition stage, with academic and work-based learning sitting side by side, is an interesting one that Ministers would do well to explore further if they are serious about improving social mobility. It is unrealistic and unnecessary, to channel all young people into universities or indeed apprenticeships – nor are these appropriate routes for all. It is high-time this was acknowledged and we are pleased to see this report goes some way in that direction.

“For too long, skills-based and vocational learning has played second fiddle or been an afterthought to more academic routes, even when a traditional curriculum has not been the best option for a learner. What we then have, as the Lords have rightly pointed out, is thousands of young people leaving school and drifting, without any real idea of the opportunities that might be open to them and unprepared for the demands of the workplace.

 We cannot allow this neglect to continue. As a society it is in all of our interests to ensure that our young people leave school equipped with information about the options open to them, that they have the knowledge and a skills-set to make choices and decisions, and are prepared for life beyond school. Anything less and we are failing them.

“As an organisation committed to widening social mobility and preparing young people for learning, employment and life, we are delighted to have been able to contribute to this important inquiry by the House of Lords.”

The report ‘Overlooked and Left Behind: improving the transition from school to work for the majority of young people’ goes on to make eight recommendations, which support the development of a more coherent and straightforward system to help young people aged 14+ in their transition from education to work.