School careers advice service "in a mess"

PUPILS are making the wrong career choices because school advice services are a "mess" following a shake-up, a North-East MP warned after carrying out an inquiry.

Pat Glass, the Durham North West MP, is a member of the Tory-led education select committee, which tomorrow (Wednesday, January 23) condemns a "worrying deterioration" in the help on offer.

Its report attacks the mistake of handing responsibility for careers guidance to individual schools, axing the Connexions service, run by local authorities.

A new National Careers Service (NCS) was launched by the government last year, but it does not work with schools and does not offer face-to-face advice - at a time of high youth unemployment.

Ms Glass said: "Schools in County Durham are really struggling, because they recognise they do not have the money or the expertise to give the best advice.

"Many of them are now trying to get together to buy that expertise from the county council - but it is having to make cuts and many of the staff that provided advice were made redundant. It's a mess.

"We end up with young people making the wrong choices and going down career cul-de-sacs, on the wrong courses, which is costly for both them and for the economy."

Ms Glass said she was aware of some local schools refusing to promote options at further education colleges, adding: "It is in their advantage to channel pupils to their own sixth forms."

Tomorrow's (Thursday, January 23) report does not call for the revival of Connexions - itself criticised for patchy advice - arguing that would lead to "greater uncertainty and upheaval".

Instead, it urged ministers to ensure the NCS was properly funded to provide face-to-face advice in schools and called for schools to publish an annual careers plan, including information on the support available to students.

Comments (2)

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7:15am Wed 23 Jan 13

Hunty1 says...

Connexions offered more than just career advice, it offered support to a very vulnerable section of society. Given the scale of current unemployment within our region I hope this government takes a serious look at this report and starts to look at the consequences of its actions!
Connexions offered more than just career advice, it offered support to a very vulnerable section of society. Given the scale of current unemployment within our region I hope this government takes a serious look at this report and starts to look at the consequences of its actions! Hunty1

11:53am Thu 24 Jan 13

Jaga says...

The Careers Service, under any name has been a mess for decades. I well remember going to careers advice interviews with my children quite a few years ago now. One was told that a year in a retail YTS would be better for her than going to college. I blew my top at that interview. She is now a Deputy Head. A couple of years later, my son was being dragooned into being a bricklayer on a YTS. Nothing wrong with being a bricklayer, some earn good money. Again a 'blowing of the top'. He had no interest in bricklaying and fancied something different. 'Professional' advice ignored again, and he is now a senior member of a multinational construction company.

Later in life, I again had dealings with the Careers Service, when I was working in the training department for a specialist engineering company. Very few dealings were positive. They were more concerned with numbers than getting a youngster into the right job or appropriate training. Talk about putting square pegs into round holes. Probably one of the reasons the north east is still in a mess.
The Careers Service, under any name has been a mess for decades. I well remember going to careers advice interviews with my children quite a few years ago now. One was told that a year in a retail YTS would be better for her than going to college. I blew my top at that interview. She is now a Deputy Head. A couple of years later, my son was being dragooned into being a bricklayer on a YTS. Nothing wrong with being a bricklayer, some earn good money. Again a 'blowing of the top'. He had no interest in bricklaying and fancied something different. 'Professional' advice ignored again, and he is now a senior member of a multinational construction company. Later in life, I again had dealings with the Careers Service, when I was working in the training department for a specialist engineering company. Very few dealings were positive. They were more concerned with numbers than getting a youngster into the right job or appropriate training. Talk about putting square pegs into round holes. Probably one of the reasons the north east is still in a mess. Jaga

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