GOVERNMENT plans for careers advice in schools to be delivered through a telephone helpline have been slammed by MP Jonathan Reynolds MP.
Currently schools are required by law to offer careers advice to students, to help them determine what to do when they leave school and how to achieve it - but there is no requirement for that guidance to be offered face to face.
Government plans for careers advice to be delivered through an online and telephone support service, have sparked fears that opportunities for face to face careers advice may become more limited.
And in the House of Commons today (Monday 18 June, 2012) Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds said this would be a “mistake”.
“If Government Ministers are serious about social mobility, they have to be serious about careers advice too,” said Mr Reynolds, following the exchange in Education Questions.
“It is no good the Government lamenting the fact that too few young people in constituencies like Stalybridge and Hyde go on to take top jobs in Law, politics and even journalism, if they are not willing to give them the tools they need to get there.
“Quality careers guidance is crucial to social mobility. It offers young people the information and encouragement they need to pursue the professions and careers that would be right for them.
“But to be really effective it must be delivered one-to-one by professionals who have an understanding of the student’s capabilities, personality and expected outcomes, academic or otherwise.
“Careers advice fails if it does not encourage academically-gifted students to consider a wider range of options that looks beyond the experiences of their families and friends.
“And it is equally counter-productive if it advises a young person who will struggle to pass their GCSEs on the best route to become a surgeon.
“Yet without the detailed information about pupils available in a school, without the opportunity to meet face to face, there is a risk that the advice will not be good enough.
“Already there are suggestions that careers guidance needs to be better – but moving advice to an online or telephone support service will do nothing to improve the advice on offer.
“To be effective our careers guidance must be personalised and carefully targeted. These Government proposals – which fail to recognise the importance of face-to-face advice - are a mistake.”
In a recent survey by the CBI, 68 per cent of employers say the general quality of careers advice is still not good enough.
But Mr Reynolds believes this is a reason to improve what is on offer. And with 60 per cent of respondents in the same survey saying they would like to play a greater role in delivering careers advice he believes there is plenty of scope for improvement.
Mr Reynolds raised the issue during Questions to the Secretary of State for Education on Monday 18 June, 2012.
Published 20 June, 2012.