Missed Connexion

19th March 2004 at 00:00
Fiona Blacke's affirmation of Connexions misses the point.

The upgrading and sharing of premises and the involvement of young people in the design of the service are welcome. But the emphasis on those at risk and a refusal to distinguish between personal and careers advisers have led to an erosion in the quality of guidance for those outside the targeted group.

One concern of careers advisers at Connexions is that in some parts of the country they are managed by chief executives with little understanding of the work.

Ms Blacke's comment that she knows of only one person who ascribed their success as an adult to a careers adviser - and that person is now a principal careers officer - exemplifies the point. The remark is especially offensive coming from the person responsible for a region in which the community has been so well served by its careers service in the past.

Many surveys have shown the benefit of good careers guidance on young people's lives, and the erosion in quality will have a serious impact on young people and the economy.

The career guidance policy review by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows that the UK is a world leader. In England that position is under threat and requires urgent attention.

Tony Watts

3 Summerfield, Cambridge

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