Careers education toolkit launched to boost 'parity'

Exclusive: High-quality, high impact careers education should be inclusive for all learners, says the Careers and Enterprise Company's Oli de Botton

Kate Parker

Careers education toolkit launched to achieve parity

A new careers education toolkit will help achieve "parity" between academic and technical post-16 pathways, the Careers and Enterprise Company has said. 

Launching the toolkit, which has been created in partnership with the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), chief executive of the Careers and Enterprise Company Oli de Botton, said high-quality, high impact careers education should be inclusive for all learners, no matter what path they took. 

In the Skills for Jobs white paper published in January, the government said “clear and outcomes-focused careers information” was fundamental to the success of FE reforms, and “impartial, lifelong careers advice and guidance” needed to be available to people when they need it, regardless of their age, circumstance, or background.

Long-read: Meet John Yarham, the careers guidance champion

More by Oli de Botton: How to get careers education right

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Mr de Botton said: “Our partnership with the Association of Employment and Learning Providers is absolutely critical as we work towards parity between the different post-16 options and give young people the right support at this difficult time.

“This package of support, with everything from resources and training to webinars and a new virtual community of best practice, will help young people to be as well prepared as possible for the future. More broadly the partnership also signals our goal to make sure schools become more aware of the excellent apprenticeship options available to young people.”

The toolkit provides key information in apprenticeships, traineeship and T levels as well was higher technical qualifications, occupational maps, and employability programmes. It also includes real life stories as well as key information, support around progression and the latest news about funding and the wider support available to young people. 

In a speech last month, Ofsted's chief inspector Amanda Spielman, raised concerns about a lack of high-quality careers guidance.

She said: “Without this, apprentices don’t understand their career options post-apprenticeship, either in their organisation or the wider industry.

“Providers need to go beyond just getting apprentices through their training programme – they need to work with employers and their own apprentices to make sure they truly do gain the right knowledge, skills and behaviours to make their next steps successfully, and to thrive in a professional environment.”

Jane Hickie, chief executive of AELP, said the system was complicated for young people to navigate: “Young people of all abilities now have a fabulous range of opportunities available to them after GCSEs which enables them to pursue a career as equally successful as those available via higher education. But the system of vocational and technical education in England is complicated, and the options it presents are not always as easy to find or as clear as they could be. We believe that What’s Next?, as a fresh interactive tool for the careers adviser and student will make navigation far simpler and easier to understand. 

“The partners behind this initiative have worked hard to make the new resource available as soon as possible after the publication of the FE white paper which is finally putting some real teeth behind the Baker Clause. It will also be really useful to have the resource at one’s fingertips when so many young people are worried about their future as we come out of the pandemic.”

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Kate Parker

Kate Parker is a FE reporter.

Find me on Twitter @KateParkerTes

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