Today Ofsted published its report Going in the right direction: careers guidance in schools from September 2012. In summary, the report shows that careers provision is pretty much in turmoil – with both schools and the National Careers Service failing to deliver informed, impartial advice to young people. Here's a few key stats that demonstrates the problem
Only 1 in 5 schools were effective in ensuring all students in Years 9,10 and 11 were receiving the level of information, advance and guidance they needed to support decision making.
In the weakest provision, teachers were often required to deliver careers guidance in tutorials and assemblies.
The National Careers Service was not focusing on supporting young people up to the age of 18 and its website and telephone services were not promoted in schools.
Links between careers guidance and local employment opportunities were week, with schools not working with employers to provide work experience.
Only a third of individual careers guidance interviews observed by inspectors were conducted well enough.
About 4 in 5 schools visited did not evaluate the quality of their careers guidance effectively.
Not all schools had accurate and complete data on students' actual destinations.
It's no secret that manufacturers are facing acute skills shortages. EEF's Skills Survey found that four in five companies are currently experiencing recruitment problems. As such, manufacturers are crying out for young talent. Developing a pipeline into the industry then is critical – and careers provision plays an important role.
Oftsed has made a number of recommendations to make improvements – including recommendations for employers –
Employers and employer networks should work with the National Careers Service to facilitate links between employers, and all schools by promoting the advantages if having an employer on school governing bodies with responsibility for providing young people with direct exposure to the world of work.
Employers and employer networks should also provide more detailed information to schools and careers guidance professionals on local job options, developments and local skills shortages.
This focus on employers is welcomed – Government must give employers a greater role in careers provision, and industry is ready to rise to the challenge. As such, we have made a number of recommendations to Government so that we can finally get careers provision where it needs to be:
1)Careers ‘awareness' or ‘inspiration' should begin in Primary School, with careers ‘guidance' being introduced later at Secondary Schools
2) The current guidance for schools must be made more assertive as to what should be delivered and head teachers must ensure that teachers are given clear objectives as to what careers provision should achieve.
3) Compulsory work experience at Key Stage 4 should be reintroduced and further work experience encouraged at Key Stage 5 also.
4) There should be a continuous professional development requirement for teachers to spend between two to five working days a year each within industry to learn about local labour market opportunities.
5) All schools should be allowed to recruit industry experts without qualified teacher status to teach key subjects on a part-time basis whilst speaking about how subject choices impact career prospects.