One of the major themes at this year’s NAMSS conference in Liverpool was the lack of good careers information for young people. This was very much brought out by Joy Mercer, Senior Policy Manager at AoC, in her presentation “Careers Guidance – What’s the Problem, What’s the Solution?”
Ms Mercer began by asking why careers guidance is so important, going on to identify the following crucial reasons:
- It supports programmes to further learning
- It inspires young people to consider employment opportunities that fall outside the knowledge base of parents and school teachers
- It meets emerging gaps both locally and nationally in STEM vacancies
- It gives much needed support to NEETS (Not in Education, Employment or Training)
- It educates young people on their options
According to Ms Mercer, although it is now two years since the statutory duty for providing independent careers guidance was introduced into schools, so far there has been little improvement in the information that young people receive. She identified five crucial problems which are hindering better careers information getting into the hands of those who need it:
1. Schools and colleges do not work effectively together
2. Schools are not working alongside college liaison officers
3. There is a lack of participation from schools in college open days
4. College liaison offers only tend to speak with selected students
5. There is little distribution or displaying of college marketing literature
She pointed to the AoC’s Careers Guidance: Guaranteed as a part of the solution, which amongst other things calls for:
– Colleges, schools, universities, Jobcentre Plus and local authorities coming together led by the Local Enterprise Partnership to form a clearly signposted careers hub
– More opportunities for young people to try their hand at various vocational options.
– Careers education embedded into curriculums.
We would very much agree with this, save only to add that the kind of careers hub being mooted will need to include reliable, local, and accessible data covering the kinds of aspects of occupations that will really help young people make informed and objective decisions about the future path they want to take. What exactly do we mean? Our own presentation at NAMSS covered this in detail showing:
1. How solid local data on occupation trends, earnings and transferrable skills makes a huge difference to young people in their search for a sustainable career
2. How our Career Coach tool is being used by colleges throughout the country to give this kind of information to young people
3. How three colleges – Chesterfield, Lakes, and Bournemouth & Poole – are using Career Coach and the data it contains to engage with their young people in their local communities and schools
For a more in depth look at how our data is being used to give much needed careers information to young people, you can download a copy of our NAMSS presentation here, and read our response to Careers Guidance: Guaranteed here.