NG Bailey calls for end to lottery on careers advice from schools

NG Bailey

Building-services specialist NG Bailey is recommending a radical shake-up of careers advices in schools to help tackle the growing skills crisis across industry. In a 20-page report, the company proposes that the Government reinstates funding support for schools careers advice, which was withdrawn from schools in England in 2012.

NG Bailey employs over 2500 people, and its apprenticeship scheme has launched the careers of more than 5500 young people. The company believes that the lack of face-to-face careers advice in most schools means millions of pupils are not being told about the full range of academic and vocational options available to them. The previous coalition government withdrew £200 million of funding for careers advice when it axed the government services.

Cal Bailey, sustainability director at NG Bailey, said, ‘Tackling our growing skills gaps has to be a priority for the Government, and this has to start in our schools.’

Since 2012, schools in England have been responsible for sourcing and funding careers advice for pupils, rather than the Government and local authorities. NG Bailey’s report says that as a result it is a ‘lottery’ whether pupils get good-quality careers advice or not.

The report’s findings are supported by the company’s research among more than 500 apprentices across the UK. Just 24% said that the school was their main source of information on apprenticeships. 31% indicated receiving personal careers advice at school that included apprenticeships.

Cal Bailey comments, ‘We have a collective duty to ensure that our young people are given the right level of support to help them into fulfilling and sustainable careers. Politicians, civil servants and educationalists need to work with the business community to make the changes that we all believe are necessary. Around half of all school pupils do not go to university, so focusing advice on academic routes rather than vocational ones risks damaging the futures of millions of young people.’

NG Bailey wants to encourage cross-industry discussions on the future of careers advice in schools and identifies a number of other areas where improvements could be made to help young people and employers

• Stronger statutory guidance from the DfE to prevent schools from effectively ‘opting out’ of offering face-to-face careers advice.

• Closer collaboration between the DfE and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) to ensure careers support meets the needs of employers.

• Standards in careers advice provision within individual schools to be clearly highlighted by Ofsted in its school inspection reports.

• Vocational training and apprenticeships to be more effectively and consistently promoted by schools, to reduce the number of pupils on ‘dead-end’ courses.

• Better links between employers and schools to improve pupils’ understanding of the world of work and the career options available, particularly in the science, technology, engineering and maths fields.

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