THE NEW Welsh Assembly must decide within the next few months whether to press ahead with plans for the UK's first all-age careers service. Careers Wales was first proposed last year by the education and training action group - a think-tank chaired by Peter Hain, the Minister for Wales.
So far Wales has gone down much the same route as England. Responsibility for the careers service was passed from local authorities to eight new companies in April 1995.
While private employers are represented on careers company boards, the companies are run as partnerships by councils and training and enterprise councils. Their core contract is for advising youngsters in schools and colleges, as well as those about to enter the labour market, but they also receive funding through training and enterprise councils for helping adults.
The idea of an integrated service using the Careers Wales' brand name appears to have gone down well among careers companies. The Learning Direct adult helpline, run from four call centres in Wales, would be incorporated into the new service.