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Labour coy about careers

Reforms of Britain's careers service are contained in a secret document being prepared by Labour strategists.

Shadow Education Minister Stephen Byers hinted at a raft of new policies during a pre-election debate this week.

The party is preparing a major policy document on careers advice for release later in the campaign.

Speaking at a debate organised by the Training and Employment Network, Mr Byers refused to give details of the planned reforms. But he said: "We have very interesting plans for a revamped careers service which will be able to respond in a more flexible way."

He hinted at one possible development, however, when questioned about the role of the youth service: he said that a Labour Government may have to adopt some of the practices used in the youth service to reach disaffected people who never visit careers offices or Job centres, and called for a breaking down of barriers to get staff such as those in the employment service into Britain's housing estates.

But education minister James Paice dismissed Labour's call for reform, pointing to the progress already made by careers officers.

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