Careers education in ‘desperate need’ of more funding, union warns

Eleanor Busby

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Careers advice in schools needs more funding and greater support from employers, a teaching union is warning. 

Teachers want to provide the best careers education possible for children but schools do not have the funding for specialists needed to coordinate it, according to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL, believes education on careers has been hit by a lack of funding following the government’s abolition of the Connexions service in 2010.

Today she was due to tell the Commons sub-committee on education, skills and the economy that there were too few quality apprenticeships and that employers needed to provide more work experience to young people. 

Careers advice 'fragmented'

Dr Bousted was expected to say: “In the gap left after the coalition disbanded the Connexions service, careers advice has fragmented which has made it impossible for teachers to know where to turn to get good advice for young people.

“Teachers desperately want to be able to provide the best advice, but, although the government made it a statutory requirement for schools to provide impartial careers education, information, advice and guidance, it has not provided funding for the specialists needed to coordinate this.”

The union leader was also expected to say that there was considerable regional variation in the availability of apprenticeships, with fewer in London than the North West.

She was to say:  “Young people should have a right to have work experience and proper funding to enable them to find out about all opportunities, including those outside their local area. This is particularly important in rural and coastal areas where employment opportunities may be limited.

“Schools and colleges do, however, need more help from employers. We want work experience to be compulsory for 16-18 year-olds, and this will require employers to provide good quality placements.”

A DfE spokesperson said: “We are committed to extending opportunity to all young people, regardless of their background, and ensuring they have the inspiration and guidance they need for success at work.

“We are giving £70 million in careers funding over this Parliament – on top of £20 million already announced in 2014 – to transform careers education through high-quality advice, as well as around £7 billion to fund apprenticeships for every teenager who wants one.

"Our new careers and enterprise company for schools will help deliver real social justice by ensuring all pupils have opportunities to thrive. The Secretary of State has also given schools a legal responsibility to provide advice on all the routes into higher skills and the workplace.”

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Eleanor Busby

Eleanor Busby is a reporter at TES 

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