Further education colleges have been invited to bid for a share of more than Pounds 15 million to launch and run the first year of a national careers service which will be free to all adults.
The venture is backed by a consortium of employers' organisations and will provide a national advice service with a telephone hotline and new technology support centres throughout the country. Costs of setting it up are estimated at Pounds 5 million, annual running costs will be Pounds 10 million.
The National Advisory Council for Careers Education and Guidance - backed by both the Confederation of British Industry and the Trades Union Congress - aims to bring a common advice scheme to all adults.
Responsibility for the careers service has traditionally been shared by schools, colleges and local education authorities. The service is now being taken over by a mixture of local private and public organisations.
Details were spelled out by the NACCEG in a consultation this week. It suggests that colleges, universities and the training and enterprise councils should bid, either individually or in partnerships. Colleges are seen as prime sites for the information technology centres.