A LITTLE-NOTICED but significant move by the Education Minister makes it unlikely the private sector will be allowed to bid for Scotland's 17 careers companies when the majority of current contracts expire in March 2000.
Helen Liddell announced she was inviting the existing companies to submit bids to continue their work and hinted that this would be a formality, providing the submissions showed evidence of involving local employers and communities.
Dermot Dick, chair of the Association of Careers Services in Scotland, welcomed the invitation for the companies to tender again as a vote of confidence. The alternative would have led to "a haemorrhaging of money into the administrative processes of open competitive tendering".
Careers guidance has been moving steadily up the education agenda in the past three years since the service was taken over by independent partnerships of education authorities and the local enterprise companies.
Mrs Liddell confirmed their importance when she said: "Effective career guidance is a valuable tool in ending social exclusion".