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Does there need to be career advice reform for schools?

by Heat Recruitment

Sometimes, all it takes is a little guidance to springboard a student into career success.

Whether they go on to become a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker, it’s support from a dedicated careers advisor that can make all the difference in helping them to discover where their skills are best suited.

By offering a push in the right direction and invaluable insight into the employment landscape, careers advisors play a critical role in preparing the next generation for the future.

Today, most education professionals recognise the growing need to equip young people with the skills and attitude for the working world before they set foot in it. Yet, according to figures from a recent Ofsted report, just four of the 40 schools surveyed were providing adequate careers advice to their students.

Regrettably, the coalition’s Education Act put an end to government-funded careers advice back in 2012. New legislation required schools to seek “independent and impartial careers guidance”, although no additional funding was provided for this. Unsurprisingly, research from Careers England found that only 16.5% of 1,568 schools had maintained their previous levels of careers advice after the act was passed.

The problem this presents is twofold: without guidance, students leave school with a vague image of their future at best; a clearer picture of what they don’t want from their careers than what they do. Having spent the best part of a decade going from class to class learning facts, figures and of course, the best way to distract a supply teacher, entering the world of work will inevitably be a baptism by fire.

Even the best and brightest can find themselves at a fork in the road when support isn’t readily available. Before long, it’s time to fly the nest, and rent and bills won’t pay themselves: but where to go and what to do? With no sense of direction, young people are either entering into the wrong roles or delaying their career altogether.

If the latest government figures are anything to go by, this choice is a trend worth worrying about. Findings from their 2018 report revealed 794,000 people aged 16-24 were Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) in the final quarter of 2017. What’s more, inadequate careers guidance in schools has proven to be one of the main culprits of our  growing skills gap and national slump in productivity.

Finally, in December 2017, the government launched their new careers strategy. Their aim? To build a Britain that is “fit for the future” by providing young people with tailored support in developing their skills to meet the changing needs of business. From September, schools will be required by law to publish details of their careers programmes, as well as having a named “careers leader” in place capable of advising students on the best training routes and up to date information on the jobs market.

Under the strategy, the government revealed their intentions to create 20 careers hubs in order to boost support in the areas of the country most in need. Alongside this, every school is now required to use the Gatsby benchmarks to improve their careers advice provision in line with standards of international best practice. By the end of 2020, schools must meet all eight benchmarks.

By introducing careers advice requirements into UK law, the hope is that schools will start to place more focus on helping their students develop the skills they need to enter the workforce and hit the ground running.

At Heat Recruitment, we go beyond the traditional resourcing relationship. As part of what we offer, we advise clients and candidates alike on how to maximise their skill offering. If you’re looking to work with a key hiring partner, get in touch with us today!

By Hollie Thomas