One in six careers advice workers say that no young people in their area will be able to receive face-to-face advice because of cuts to the service, a survey has found.
The survey, compiled by the Institute of Career Guidance from responses by 340 Connexions staff, found that nearly a quarter of careers advisers had been made redundant as local authorities slash funding and replace face- to-face advice with an online service.
Nearly a sixth said the entire careers service in their area had closed or was due to close.
Institute president Steve Higginbotham said: "The findings from this survey provide hard evidence of the devastating impact of the cuts to the careers service in England.
"The vision for the new all-age National Careers Service that was welcomed when announced in November has turned out to be a travesty, with not enough funding to support it.
"We now know that face-to-face guidance for young people will not be part of the new service unless schools are able to pay for it from their own budgets."
Unison, the public-sector trade union, said at least 8,000 staff had been made redundant and more job losses were planned. It said the cuts to the careers service were the most severe in the public sector.
Funding for Connexions, the national advice service for young people, is being replaced by a requirement on schools that they organise independent careers advice for their students.
But entitlement funding, which is used by many schools and colleges to pay for careers advice, is also being cut by 75 per cent.
The institute's survey found that Essex was closing its entire careers service except for a website and telephone helplines.
Surrey has also shut its Connexions centres and will only provide advice for pupils with special needs and those not in education, employment or training (Neets).
In Norfolk, face-to-face guidance has also been scrapped, while in Leeds all the advisers are working part-time to prevent redundancies.
The new careers advice service - dubbed an "all-age service" but in reality combining provision organised by schools and colleges with a service for over-19s - is due to start in September, but respondents to the survey said few areas had a transition plan in place.
One former adviser in Hampshire told the survey: "Young people are our future. They have been hit by rising higher education fees, loss of education maintenance allowances and loss of discretionary travel allowances.
"And yet they are supposed to work though it all without professional support. Young people with statements are having to jump through hurdles to gain funding.
"When the Government complains about the Neet levels in the summer they will only have themselves to blame, but it will be the young people who will be the real losers in this mess."
SURVEY FINDINGS: Faces down
- Nearly one in four respondents had been made redundant or received a redundancy notice.
- Nearly one in six said that the entire careers service was due to close or had already closed.
- One in six said that their employer planned an online service to replace face-to-face guidance.
- More than 80 per cent said their employer had already made job cuts or was expected to do so within four months.