Budget Allocations and Arrangements for Careers Services for Young people within the new All-age Careers Service in England
At the start of the Coalition Government there was initially significant uncertainty about careers policy in England. The parties entering into Coalition Government had promised much in their manifestos, and notwithstanding much promise about prioritising social mobility, the issue of careers education and IAG policy remained uncertain.
This Briefing Note sets out the concerns of the then UK Careers Sector Strategic Forum (now called the Careers Alliance) about the funding and transition arrangements for career information, advice and guidance (IAG) for young people in England and about the responsibilities of schools.
The note outlines concerns about the lack of appropriate funding and transition arrangements, and the lack of certainty of responsibility and resource allocation to schools and local authorities.
These concerns were highlighted at a time when the then Minister for Skills, John Hayes had made a widely-welcomed speech at the Institute of Career Guidance conference in Belfast in October, where he had reaffirmed that the heart of the new arrangements for young people must be close partnerships between schools and expert, independent advisers. Such partnerships have been shown by international research to be the strongest model of careers provision for young people. They are based on, in essence, schools being responsible for careers education, and an external service being responsible for providing career guidance. It is important that both of these elements be secured in the new legislation.
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.
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