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Hope rests with the Green Paper

Your coverage of the Government's plans for careers guidance, expected in the youth green paper raises vital questions about how young people in English schools and colleges are supported in preparing for future learning and work.

Policy-makers, managers and practitioners across the UK agree that young people between the ages of 11 and 19 need four things to help them make choices wisely:

* careers education - a planned programme in their curriculum that helps them gain knowledge and develop skills for planning and managing their careers;

* work-related learning - experiences within their curriculum and outside school which help them learn about, for, and through work;

* personalised support and guidance - help to review, plan and manage their learning and progression to the next stage;

* careers guidance - help from specialist advisers with knowledge of the opportunities and the pathways to and through them, so they can identify their long-term goals and plan steps to attain them.

All three are essential and, in order to ensure they happen:

* staff in schools, colleges and careers services should be trained to national standards to manage and deliver them;

* schools and colleges should be able to get expert impartial careers guidance through partnership with an independent provider;

* the framework of the Office for Standards in Education's joint area reviews will need to pay more attention to the quality of CEG that young people receive than has been paid until now in school and college inspections.

If the green paper can flesh out a model of provision which meets these criteria, it will be truly supporting our young people to achieve their potential and contribute to our economic and social well-being.

Sylvia Thomson President, NACGT 36 Commercial End Swaffham Bulbeck, Cambridge

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