Education Bill

Memorandum submitted by Anne Joel (E 11)

I am extremely concerned about the proposals under the new Education Bill which affect Careers Information Advice and Guidance, and Careers Education in schools.

I have been a guidance practitioner for several years and have worked in the Careers Service in different formats for nearly 20 years. I and colleagues have a wealth of Careers and Educational Guidance experience and expertise and indeed unquestionable loyalty to young people.

I, in particular work with pupils with learning difficulties and disabilities – I realise that there may still be legislation and ongoing work with this group of young people, however I do have personal concerns in terms of my job role and how that may have to be carried out, dependant upon the changes locally/nationally. This is in particular regard to having a professional infrastructure around Careers which can regulate, standardise and offer CPD to myself and other careers professionals.

In general terms the Bill is in danger of ‘scrapping’ a qualified and committed workforce – careers guidance should remain statutory to support the needs of young people and engender a well informed, work ready and appropriately qualified young workforce for the future. There is a danger of a huge gaping gap in the future ‘knowledge and skills’ of young people which are indeed our future workforce. The impact of changes in careers guidance, coupled with numerous other cutbacks, changes etc, including  the increase in University fees, are , to my mind, denying the country and economy of hundreds of thousands of future ‘equipped’ workers – the knock on effect of which will hit in future decades, not only in the next few years.

I am concerned, of course, about my own job and role, but I speak as a Careers Professional and a mother of a son currently at University in his second year – (aside, financially, as a single parent, I could not envisage, how, if at all, he would have been able to afford University under the future funding regime) – this was the right path for my son, he has worked hard throughout his school life, achieving A grades in all his A Levels and was able to go on to his chosen course at University. As a mother I guided him but he wholly benefitted from ‘independent’ guidance from another careers professional – so even the high achiever, with a mother working in the business of careers, required the professional Careers Guidance input to assist with subject choice, university choice, applications etc. It is wrong to consider that this role is not important or an ‘entitlement’... at any level.

Please reconsider – the Careers Service/Connexions Service, whatever you choose to call it, is akin to the Teaching professions in that its professionals have a unified interest in young people, their learning and their future. We add to the teaching and learning by equipping young people with information and guidance to enable them to utilise their skills and abilities to give them the best possible chances at acquiring and holding down good and relevant employment in the future – they are our  future Doctors, Engineers, Teachers, Designers, Farmers, Mechanics, Builders, Economists, Business Managers, Politicians.....  (to name but a few).

February 2011