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Career help too low on priorities

The findings of the survey covered in your article "Pupils left to find their own career paths"(TES, February 13) will come as no surprise to those who have watched the emerging policy priorities of the Connexions service.

Since the concept of Connexions was announced in the late 1990s, the Institute of Career Guidance (ICG) has expressed concern about the inevitable reduction in access to career guidance services for most young people which would inexorably follow, as the resource focuses on those young people not engaged in learning or work.

The lack of universal access to effective career guidance is beginning to take effect in a variety of ways - lack of take-up of Modern Apprenticeships, increase in drop-out rates from further and higher education courses, and schools and colleges buying in their own career guidance.

A recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report included a list of the 10 features of lifelong guidance systems, based on an international study of career guidance services.

Among these features are: access to individual guidance by appropriately qualified practitioners for those who need such help, at times when they need it, and access to service delivery that is independent of the interests of particular institutions or enterprises.

It is clear that many young people in England (the only one of the four home countries to have adopted the Connexions model) do not have access to the career guidance they need. A comparative study of the career services on offer to young people in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as called for in your article, would help identify best practice.

In the meantime, thousands of young people in England will continue to be deprived of the career guidance services that they deserve.

Chris Evans

President

Institute of Career Guidance

Copthall House,

1 New Road, Stourbridge

FE focus 4

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