“We recognise,” pointed out the new careers strategy published this week, “that the quality of careers provision across the country remains variable and there is much more to do.”
As far as understatements go, this is roughly on a par with suggesting Donald Trump’s retweeting of videos by the far right group Britain First wasn’t universally welcomed. Careers advice has long been the elephant in the DfE. Since Michael Gove was education secretary, it has been repeatedly pushed to the bottom of the list of priorities of successive governments.
Areas of concern
But, two years from when the strategy was initially due to be published, on Monday, it finally saw the light of day. And much of what it said was welcome. Schools, the strategy specified, must give providers of technical education and apprenticeships the opportunity to talk to all pupils – something which has not come close to happening until now. Ofsted, too, will comment in college inspection reports on the quality of careers guidance given to their students.
Other areas, however, appear unconvincing. A careers leader in each school and college sounds sensible – but how far will £4 million realistically go to addressing the ambition of putting 500 of these crack careers experts on the ground?
Expressly stating the importance of careers advice is a positive step. But by offering only what shadow skills minister Gordon Marsden describes as “pocket change”, it’s difficult to conclude that the careers strategy will be the game changer required.