An Aspiration Nation – report by the National Careers Council

An Aspiration Nation > Creating a culture change in careers provision is the first offspring to pop forth from the new(ish) body, the National Careers Council.

It’s delivery comes with a bit of rumpus to help publicise it as two of the founding members of the Council resigned in pre-emptive unrest at what it was to include. But I’m not going to dwell on that as there’s already a never-ending LinkedIn thread you can find which discusses it all in great detail.

The report does though talk a lot about schools as it demands a “culture change” in careers provision on offer for young people and has a few suggestions for how the both Schools should tackle this and how the National Careers Service could spread it’s remit to provide an umbrella of structure to, what we’re constantly told has become, the very fractured and sporadic work of careers in schools across the country.

It asks the NCS to:

build capacity in schools, to ensure the effective and efficient dissemination of national

and local LMI, and to promote the wide adoption of quality standards.


provide more schools and colleges with professional development support, offer advice on lesson plans linked to the curriculum, and share exemplars of good practice, information for apprenticeships, traineeships, further education and higher education routes

In fact, that sounds a bit familiar, maybe someone else also suggested something along those lines….

*waits for applause*

Meanwhile us schools should:

Ensure that all students understand the range of career routes open to them and how to access information necessary to underpin informed choices

Make available face-to-face guidance to all pupils from Year 8 onwards

Have strong links with employers who are able to contribute to pupils’ education by raising their awareness and giving insights about the range of careers open to them

Have access to high-quality and up-to-date labour market intelligence
(LMI) and information about all education and vocational education
training routes pre- and post-16

Help young people develop competences to be able to transfer their
knowledge and skills, be resilient and adaptable within changing
sectors and economies

Work with parents to raise awareness about career routes and to
challenge stereotypes

Have access to quality-assured careers providers and professionally
qualified career development professionals to provide face-to-face

Ensure that all leavers have a planned progression route
Integrate career management skills into a broad and balanced

Which is extremely sensible and similar to the Guidance document the Dfe put out with the new duty.

It’s good stuff, couldn’t argue with any of it. No one in their right mind would.

But that’s also kind of a problem. The report reads as if it knows it’s stuck between a rock and a hard place and seems to offer all of its clearly diplomatic recommendations with a weary shrug that make it sound like a Goldilocks recipe for porridge. Not too hot. Not too cold. Just right. And don’t ever, ever ask where the money’s coming from to pay for it.

The Government has already responded to the Select Committee report on Careers with a stonewall rejection of the some of the best ideas like the requirement of schools to publish an annual plan of Careers provision. We also know that the Ofsted review will publish soon and will probably contain the sort of case studies of brilliant work included in Annex 2 of today’s report. Ofsted has already said it will inspect Careers in schools from September so the forthcoming report seems to me a good opportunity for them to disseminate best practice.

There are big ideas in the report, large scale ambitions for collaborative working across business and all stages of education, and the pleas for the NCS to get involved in the UKCES LMI For All Project and involve themselves in the large Careers based events such as National Careers Week make eminent sense.

Overall though, the section of the report dealing with schools reads like the authors knew that the Dfe well of patience had run dry and that, to best nurture the hope of getting things done, the colouring had to stay between the lines.


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