With year-end activities and lengthy to-do lists, Christmas parties and celebrations in full swing, you may have missed, or may not have had time to sit down and read, the DfE’s new 36-page report on Career Strategy, released on 4th December. It’s the government’s long-awaited plan for raising the quality of careers provision in England ‘Careers strategy – making the most of everyone’s skills and talents’. So here at Gradconsult we have compiled a summary for you of the key things you need to know. We’ve purposefully not made this a critique, political or opinion piece, just a summary of what is in the document:
1) The why
This career strategy has been positioned as part of the Government’s plans to make Britain fairer, improve social mobility and offer opportunity to everyone. So that every person, no matter what their background is, is able to build a rewarding career. Indeed who can argue with that?
They set out that perceptions need to be challenged and aspirations raised so that subject and career choices are free from gender bias and social background, so people can look beyond their immediate environment to new and exciting opportunities. Excellence in careers guidance in the report is described as unlocking potential and transforming outcomes for people of all ages to enable equality of opportunity. There is a recognition of the need to move towards a culture of having the right advice, in the right place, at the right time – backed up by the experiences with employers and educators that make a difference.
2) The what
This ambitious plan is wanting:
• All young people to receive an outstanding programme of careers advice and guidance that is delivered by individuals with the right skills and experience whilst at secondary school and colleges.
• All young people to understand the full range of opportunities available to them – learning from employers about the skills that are valued in the workplace and having the opportunity to experience this first hand in the workplace.
• Access for everyone to get the right information they need to understand the job and career opportunities available.
• Every young person to be presented with two choices after the age of 16: an academic route, traditionally via A levels and University, and a technical route for those seeking to gain the technical knowledge and skills required for entering skilled employment. It is hoped the introduction of the new T levels, level 4/5 technical qualifications, and increasing the numbers of high-quality apprenticeships, will create a technical education system.
• To make sure that adults both in and out of work have access to the advice and guidance they need, by providing tailored careers support through the National Careers Service.
3) The how
The standard of excellence of careers guidance will be set using the eight benchmarks developed by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation. Universities UK are also exploring the potential to adapt and extend the Gatsby Benchmarks to universities, with a specific focus on identifying and addressing the existing barriers to social mobility. The Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC) will coordinate support for schools and colleges across the Gatsby Benchmarks. The National Careers Service will be the single service that provides careers information, advice and guidance.
4) The when
A short timeline and miles stones have been put in place. Activity starts as soon as January 2018 when schools and colleges should be adopting the Gatsby Benchmarks. By 2020 all schools should be offering every young person seven encounters with employers – at least one each year from years 7 to 13 – with support from the CEC.
5) The money
The Government will invest £5 million during 2018 in a new round of the CEC’s Investment Fund. The aim is to help disadvantaged pupils get the right additional support they need to prepare for work, including opportunities for mentoring and guidance. In addition, the Government will test what careers activities are appropriate and work well in primary schools providing £2million to test new programmes, or expand ones that work, including in challenging areas. Another £4 million will be provided to fund the development of new training programmes and support at least 500 schools and colleges in areas of the country needing most support to train Careers Leaders and build momentum behind this important role.
In summary, this is a huge and ambitious plan and for all of this to work, there needs to be a strong partnership between Government, employers, the education sector and the careers community to be able to bring together all the different elements. We will be watching the progress of this Careers Strategy very carefully over the next three years – there’s a lot to do!