“Careers guidance and inspiration for young people in schools”

On Thursday 10th April, the Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise published a document called “Careers guidance and inspiration for young people in schools”. This is statutory guidance for schools that will come into effect in September 2014.

This guidance comes off the back of the Government’s policy to increase opportunities for young people to help them achieve greater potential in their lives beyond school.

Since September 2012, secondary schools in England have been responsible for ensuring their pupils have access to impartial careers guidance. Last year, the Government commissioned Ofsted to evaluate if schools were fulfilling this new duty. Ofsted’s report ‘Going in the right direction?’ demonstrated that although some schools had responded well, the majority of schools needed to do more to provide pupils with careers guidance and information that would motivate them to succeed.

In response, Matthew Hancock, the Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise, issued a vision statement:

“To be successful in their future careers, young people need inspiration and mentoring as much as advice. This important guidance will encourage schools to help pupils develop high aspirations to realise their potential. Employers and those themselves in careers they love are best placed to pass on knowledge and enthusiasm to young people. That is why we are encouraging schools to build links with employers to ensure pupils leave school with the skills employers need. There is now no excuse for schools and colleges not to engage local employers or for employers not to support schools and colleges to help young people in the transition from education to employment.”

The guidance published today puts further emphasis on schools to take responsibility to provide careers guidance, advice and direction to their students. The key messages from the report include:

  • Schools are expected to continue to build partnerships with local employers to ensure that their pupils are benefitting from potential opportunities in the workplace. These connections should help to shape any school’s careers service. Input from local employers could include mentoring; workplace visits; help with career management skills such as CV writing; job searching and interview practice.
  • Schools are required to make their students aware that if they do not achieve a C-grade or higher in their GCSE English and GCSE maths, they will be required to continue to study these subjects.
  • It should be made clear that many career choices require a solid base of knowledge in maths and the sciences.
  • Entrepreneurial skills should be promoted and developed – working for yourself is an option that more and more school leavers will need to consider.
  • Schools need to create a learning environment that reflects challenges they may face beyond their school years, in an attempt to help pupils develop problem-solving and decision-making skills. This is particularly essential for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds that may not get the necessary support from family or social networks.
  • For students older than 16 years old, work experience should be a significant focus.
  • Schools must work with local authorities to support vulnerable young people with their post-16 plans.
  • The success of a school’s careers guidance can be measured by the numbers of pupils progressing to apprenticeships, universities as well as into employment or to a further education college.
  • Schools need to ensure that a range of educational and training options (including apprenticeships and other vocational pathways) are made clear. Schools must make sure that the pupil’s best interests are at the forefront of any imparted advice.

Download the full Government document “Careers guidance and inspiration for young people” here.