Guidance is suffering

9th April 2004 at 01:00
In reference to the article "Career guidance is in safe hands' (March 26), I'd like to make some comments as a Connexions personal adviser.

A satisfactory report from Ofsted says that the service has followed Connexions principles, which place heavy emphasis on working with young people with multiple needs rather than providing a universal service. As one of the qualified and experienced staff inherited from the earlier careers service, I can confirm that I am under increasing pressure to focus my attentions on a small percentage of needy clients at the expense of their academically brighter peers. My skills and experience have not altered. I just wish I could put them to better use.

I am all for dispelling mythology resulting from erroneous "before and after" claims, but I have to say that most of these claims have originated from Connexions civil servants who like to perpetuate the myth that there wasn't any kind of careers advice before Connexions in spite of the fact that Connexions employs 70 per cent of its staff from the old careers service.

However, the most powerful evidence to suggest that careers guidance is suffering under Connexions comes from the Connexions Service National Unit itself, which has changed the funding formula from 50:50 to 60:40 in favour of so-called "targeted" clients. This effectively cuts the funding for the universal service by 20 per cent this year. So unless Connexions partnerships are in the business of charitable work, they have no choice but to limit their services to "universal" clients.

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