In a wide-ranging speech today Micheal Gove again trailed the forthcoming updated careers guidance:
We also need business to provide more opportunities for students to learn about the world of work directly from those who can speak with enthusiasm and passion about their companies and careers.
For young people reflecting on which career path to follow no information is as valuable, no inspiration so powerful as the testimony of those at the front line of business. That is why the new careers guidance produced by my colleague Matt Hancock is all about cutting out the middle man and getting inspirational speakers in front of students to spark their ambitions. Students can’t aspire to lives they’ve never known. So we need business people to visit schools, engage and inspire.
Initiatives like Robert Peston’s Speakers for Schools and Miriam González Durántez’s Inspiring the Future: Inspiring Women are superb models. But every business should be engaging with its local schools and colleges – offering speakers and competing to inspire the next generation.
Which reinforces the message that Careers work in schools should be purely about brokering collaboration with business.
He did have some good points on work experience though:
And that inspiration should feed through directly to the offer of work experience.
I know that some companies have been reluctant to offer, or maintain, work experience because of the bureaucracy, risks and costs associated with it.
Offer a young person your time, interest and access to your workplace and you can then find yourself worrying about arcane, confusing and unnecessary regulatory burdens.
We’ve already started to sort out this nonsense. Last year the Health and Safety Executive stripped away unnecessary health and safety rules, the Home Office removed the need for criminal checks on employers offering under-18s work experience, the insurance industry – at the government’s request – confirmed that young people on work experience will be covered by employers’ liability insurance, and the Department for Education introduced new funding rules that encourage schools and colleges to arrange post-16 work experience. We’ve changed the law so that for most businesses, so long as you behave reasonably, you have discharged all your duties under health and safety legislation.
Soon, there will be no excuse for any company to decline to offer young people proper work experience.
Which, to someone in the midst of attempting to organise placements for a year 10 group, is bliss to my ears. Still too many businesses are hiding behind fabricated rules and regulations and imposing arbitrary minimum age requirements that, to the young person, feels like a door slamming in their face before they’ve even had a chance to impress.