This morning at the annual CDI conference the Government has announced the publication of it’s long awaited Careers Strategy.
Link to the Strategy:
Link to the Press Release:
Links to media coverage:
Links to stakeholder reaction:
There are lots of smaller announcements in the document. Whether or not these add up to form a coherent strategy will remain to be seen. Some of the announcements of new provision do come with added funding but, it should be clear, that these funding levels are well below the historic Connexions funding and below the required funding outlined via the Gatsby report.
Practitioners will go through the document with a fine tooth comb looking for sections which most impact their work, accordingly I have concentrated on announcements to do with school and college careers work. There is plenty in the Strategy to do with adult careers services as well.
Below are some of the bits that jumped out at me on first reading
A: A new website for the National Careers Service is coming
B: A Careers Leader job description will also be published while schools will need to publish the contact details of this person and the provision their schools provide from September 2018. The list of responsibilities of a Careers Leader may well end the historic careers in schools cliche of teachers taking the role in a few free timetable slots.
The funding for training Careers Leaders is welcome but it should be acknowledged that is it for 500 schools (approx £8000 per school). There are currently 3408 secondary schools.
Previously Connexions was funded approx £200m annually while the Gatsby report concluded that (from it’s second year) a funded schools Careers programme would cost £44,676 per academic year or over £152m an academic year for the current number of secondary schools.
C: 20 “Careers hubs” look like an expansion of the North East Enterprise Partnership Gatsby pilot. Will these match with Opportunity Areas and will each Hub employ their own Co-ordinator as the pilot did?
D: A firm challenge to the Quality in Careers Consortium. Despite lobbying for a required status, the Strategy retains the “recommeded” nature of Quality Standards and clearly demands that their invigilation and inspection requirements are strengthened to meet the Gatsby Standards. The recent results from the Compass self evaluation tool show that this will be a big change.
E: CEIAG provision in primary schools will be getting it’s own funding boost and research to see what works for young people at this stage of education
F: A handy timeline of when all the components of the Strategy will come online
G: For many years policy makers have been calling for a centralised portal for applying for vocational courses – the Strategy says this could happen and it would be hosted on the National Careers Service website
H: Schools should be putting on a Careers Fair, speed dating or work experience type event for every year group, every academic year
I: New Statutory guidance is coming in January 2018 – which is also the crux of the biggest problem with the strategy
There are other small pots of funding allocated throughout, £5m in 2018 for a further round of Careers & Enterprise Company investment funding for example, but the ultimate aim of the document is to push the system towards offering a Gatsby Standards level of provision without the Gatsby Standards invoice.
Also missing is any notion of accountability or monitoring for these changes. The research arm of the Careers & Enterprise Company is churning out publications highlighting impact of past provision but the Strategy makes no mention of tracking impacts of provision on cohorts of students.