Teenagers who are uncertain or despondent about their careers and future job prospects are to be given more structured career education under new guidelines unveiled this week.
The document Looking Forward: Careers Education and Guidance in the Curriculum has been published by the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority just prior to the subject becoming statutory in schools at key stages 3 and 4.
Nick Tate, chief executive of SCAA, said the guidelines were needed to help schools, parents and young people cope with rapid economic and technological changes.
He added that proper guidelines and education in schools would also give children from socially disadvantaged families "positive images" of work.
At KS3 and KS4 the guidelines focus on three main aims: helping pupils to understand themselves and develop their capabilities; investigate careers and opportunities; and implement their career plans.
Although the document is intended for use in secondary schools, it includes advice for primary schools on how to introduce early discussion of the workplace in a cross-curricular approach.
Looking Forward is available from SCAA Publications, PO Box 590, London, SE5 7EF, Pounds 3.