MPs say rubbish careers advice given at schools is worsening skills crisis


MPs aren't happy about the careers advice being delivered in schools, warning that "inadequate" guidance given to youngsters is fuelling the country's skills crisis.

Too many young people are leaving schools in England without having the chance to consider future work options, said a parliamentary committee. The Government was urged to untangle the "unruly and complex" web of organisations and websites offering careers advice and to put a minister in charge of provision.

Generic stock photo of school girls

A host of policy changes and initiatives in recent years have failed to make improvements and in some cases have been counter-productive, said a new sub-committee formed by the Business and Education committees.

Neil Carmichael, who chairs the Education Committee, said: "At a time when it is vital we equip young people with the right skills for their working lives, it's concerning that so many are being failed by the guidance they receive.

A general view of pupils sitting an exam

"Careers advice should be a core part of a young person's schooling but at the moment it is little more than a poorly thought-out add-on. Schools should be incentivised to treat careers education, advice, information and guidance as a priority.

"The committee recommends Ofsted plays a bigger role in ensuring careers guidance is up to scratch by downgrading those who do not deliver high quality provision. A school should not be graded as 'good' if its careers provision is inadequate."

Maths exam in progress

Education and childcare minister Sam Gyimah said: "Our reforms are already leaving pupils better prepared for further study and work - we now have the lowest number of NEETs (people not in education, employment or training) on record and the highest ever number of young people going into higher education.

"But we know that careers education varies hugely. That is why we have made it mandatory for all schools and colleges to secure independent careers guidance for all 12 to 18-year-olds, and are investing £90 million over this parliament to transform careers education and guidance including funding the Careers & Enterprise Company to work with schools to develop closer links with employers.

"The Government strategy for improved careers education, due to be published later this year, will also provide a road map for this parliament and set out what we want to achieve by 2020."