'Partiality' of school careers advice disadvantages learners, report claims

The quality and availability of information, advice and guidance is 'a very serious concern', says report by Pearson and the AELP

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A lack of appropriate careers guidance about vocational training routes may be holding back young people in their search for work, according to a new report.

The study, by the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) and Pearson, analysed reasons for young people remaining Neet (not in education, employment or training) rather than progressing into employment. It concludes that learners were often not aware of the shortage of jobs in some sectors and suggests young people could have unrealistic expectations about careers and the world of work more generally.

The report questions the “partiality” and availability of face-to-face guidance in schools, which it argues could be causing young people to remain in school instead of exploring other training options. The quality, currency and availability of information, advice and guidance (IAG) remains “a very serious concern”, it adds.

“The real challenge lies in the lack of availability and the partiality of the current face-to-face provision,” says the report. “There is still a strong case for further government intervention to ensure that schools, in particular, take their responsibilities seriously.”

'We need a concerted effort'

While the report, Routes into Work – it’s alright for some, welcomes the creation of the new Careers and Enterprise Company, it adds that more work is required to improve IAG.

In January, education secretary Nicky Morgan announced that a new law would be introduced, requiring state schools to give vocational routes as much weight as academic options when providing careers advice to pupils.

A spokesman for the AELP said: “The researchers’ interviews with young people show that the issue isn’t just about having universal access to careers advice. Young people need earlier and more accurate labour market information which can prevent wrong career choices being made, particularly in terms of chasing scarce opportunities in popular business sectors without being aware of the full range of options available.”

Lesley Davies, senior vice-president at Pearson, said: “We need to explore further why the hour-glass pattern for skills is emerging with not enough progression to level 3 and above, and there needs to be a concerted effort by government, employers, providers and others to raise awareness among young people about the high-quality vocational learning routes that are available to them.” 

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