Shadow Education Secretary, Tristram Hunt, announced last week that every teenager will receive guaranteed careers advice. Leader Ed Miliband unveiled their plans in London as part of the launch of Labour’s education manifesto. The manifesto outlines their aim to raise standards and increase opportunities for all young people.
Labour plan to revitalise careers advice, which is deemed inadequate for four out of five schools in the UK. Labour’s proposal will cost £50 million, and will be funded through a partnership between universities, schools, colleges, and employers. Labour also plan to build a “gold standard” vocational route through education; this would create a Technical Baccalaureate, compulsory english and maths to age 18, and an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the grades.
“The biggest challenge Britain faces is preparing our young people today for the economy of tomorrow”, said Miliband. “Young people must be equipped with the right skills, the right knowledge, and the right advice to succeed”. The dearth of careers advice in the UK has created a burden on teachers. Young people look to their teacher for advice regarding what they should do with their future, which creates a limited view of what career paths are available. Teachers are not trained to deliver such advice, and what they offer is often anecdotal. This tends to advocate university above all other possible routes, with equally valid paths such as apprenticeships and vocational studies being neglected.
By offering external services to deliver careers advice, schools will access a greater breadth of professional knowledge. This will expose young people to a range of ideas they previously deemed impossible. Increasing awareness regarding potential career paths is the goal of successful careers education, as well as providing bespoke plans tailored to the individual’s needs. Labour’s plans clearly address this issue. The need for careers advice is obvious. However, the success of such a programme will be in its delivery. If Labour can find the funding and structure to implement such a plan, our young people will benefit.
That said, the internet offers young people resources that previous generations would envy. At their fingertips, they possess information about every possible career; as well as means to contact relevant people, access forums to ask questions, and garner support from their peers. Careers education needs to ameliorate young people’s research skills and tech savviness; the skills required to make best use of these resources. Here at Kloodle, we believe that the internet provides unparalleled opportunities for young people to launch their careers. With enough proactivity, hard work and determination, the internet offers unbridled opportunity to engage young people with careers and employability.
Careers education should swim with this tide, not against it.