Design Features for an All-age Careers Service in England
This Briefing Note by the UK Careers Sector Strategic Forum (now the Careers Alliance) welcomed the announcement by John Hayes, the then Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, of the Coalition Government’s commitment to establish an all-age careers service in England, subsequently confirmed in its newly launched Skills Strategy. The Forum also welcomed the Minister’s affirmation of the need to strengthen career guidance as a profession, reflected in the report of Dame Ruth Silver’s Task Force on the Careers Profession and in the Browne Review on higher education funding.
This Briefing Note outlined some of the core principles that ought to be incorporated in the design of an all-age national careers service, identified some of the key issues that need to be addressed in developing the service, and offered the help of the UK Careers Sector Strategic Forum in tackling these issues.
The Careers Alliance suggested then that the all-age service needed to be viewed as a backbone for a world-class system of careers services in England. Principles that need to be adopted in developing such a system include:
- Access: that all citizens should have access to careers services when they need them, at any stage through their lives.
- Quality: that the quality of such services should be assured, both through the professional standards of careers practitioners, and through organisational quality standards.
- Impartiality: that these quality standards should ensure that there is always access to impartial career guidance, free of institutional interests.
- Balance between aspiration and realism: that careers services should focus on individual aspiration and potential, but should also ensure that career decisions are well-informed in terms of course progression and the needs of the labour market.
- Career self-management: that careers services should be designed to help individuals to manage their own careers, knowing how to access support where it is needed.