Call for face-to-face careers advice

Online tools should be an adjunct to personal interaction, congress told

Secondary teachers have criticised the revamped Scottish careers service's focus on online advice, demanding that all students have access to face-to-face support.

The call, made in a motion by the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association and carried at the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) annual conference in Perth last week, said online tools should be used only in addition to individual attention from staff.

Young people themselves also criticised the loss of posts in recent years at Skills Development Scotland (SDS), the body responsible for delivering careers advice.

In the past three years, one in five posts at SDS had been cut, they said, despite the fact that high-quality careers advice was key to tackling youth unemployment.

The STUC youth conference motion, also carried by congress during the education debate, called on the Scottish government to ensure that SDS was "adequately resourced and able to return to providing high-quality careers guidance for Scotland's young people, including through face-to-face contact". The new careers services should be reviewed, they concluded.

Last year, TESS revealed that SDS had launched a model of guidance that categorised students according to a traffic light system.

"Green" pupils, likely to go to university or college, are referred to the My World of Work website in the first instance, and only "amber" pupils, who tend to have records of poor attendance or low achievement, are offered regular access to face-to-face careers advice. "Red" pupils, a small group considered unable to engage with careers advice, are diverted to other services.

The new service, rolled out in September, has been branded "inadequate" and "not fit for purpose" by SDS's own careers advisers.

In a survey by trade union Unison, 97.9 per cent of the 386 SDS staff questioned disagreed or strongly disagreed that the new model would result in an enhanced careers information and guidance service.

But in an interview in this week's TESS, Damien Yeates, chief executive of SDS, says "any student who really feels they would like face-to-face (advice) should get it".

Interview, page 14


Scottish teachers have called for additional resources for schools operating in deprived areas and for trainees to learn about the "nature and impact of poverty" as part of their initial teacher education

The demands were made in a motion by Scotland's largest teaching union, the EIS, carried at the STUC annual congress last week.

The motion also called for continuing professional development for all teachers to develop a clearer understanding of the effect of poverty "which blights the lives of at least 10 per cent of our young people".

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