Skills gap worsened by inadequate careers advice, says study

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Skills gap worsened by inadequate careers advice, says study

Ofsted should downgrade schools where careers provision is sub-standard, according to a new parliamentary report.

The Sub-Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy said skills shortages have been exacerbated by inadequate careers guidance in many English schools.

It urged the government to incentivise schools to improve, put a single minister in charge of provision and ‘untangle the unruly and complex web’ of organisations, service providers and websites overseeing and offering careers advice.

The committee found that too many young people are leaving education without having had the chance to fully consider their future options or how their skills and experiences fit with opportunities in the jobs market.

It also judged that a host of policy changes, initiatives and new bodies introduced in recent years have failed to make serious improvements and in some cases have even been counter-productive.

Neil Carmichael MP, Chair of the Education Committee, said: “At a time when it is vital we equip young people with the right skills for their working lives, it’s concerning that so many are being failed by the guidance they receive.

“Careers advice should be a core part of a young person’s schooling but at the moment it is little more than a poorly thought out add-on. Schools should be incentivised to treat careers education, advice, information and guidance as a priority.

“The committee recommends Ofsted plays a bigger role in ensuring careers guidance is up to scratch by downgrading those who do not deliver high quality provision. A school should not be graded as 'good' if its careers provision is inadequate.”

The report said too many young people are missing out on work experience opportunities. It called on ministers to work with employers and schools to produce a plan to ensure all students at Key Stage 4 have the opportunity to take part in meaningful work experience.

In a separate article Godfrey Owen, Chief Executive of the Brathay Trust, said two thirds of apprentices are not told about apprenticeships by their schools or careers adviser.

“These apprentices had to find their own way to apprenticeships,” he said. “If schools, colleges, training providers and employers are going to meet the government’s ambition for the creation of three million apprentices before 2020, this is the number one problem that must be tackled.”

ASDAN’s Careers and Experiencing Work Short Course contains modules including Considering Apprenticeships, Career Exploration, Career Management and Considering Higher Education. This flexible course is for young people of all abilities, mainly aged 13 to 19, and can be used to accredit 10 to 60 hours of activities.