As the UK gears up for National Apprenticeship Week (14-18 March) Gateshead College is pushing the agenda for better careers advice for North East youngsters.
The issue of inadequate careers advice has hit national headlines in recent months with The Rt Hon Nicky Morgan, secretary of state for education, legislating to ensure that technical colleges and companies providing apprenticeships get into schools to give careers advice to pupils.
The new law is welcomed by Gateshead College whose recent study among its students found that only around half of those students interviewed in the survey said they received information about apprenticeships, even though Government has made them a priority.
Results also showed that 59% received information about vocational courses and fewer than half of the sample group said they were told about options available to them at a local FE college.
In response, Gateshead College has created Career Choice, a series of events which bring together schools, universities, employers and existing careers advice services to give young people clear and unbiased advice about the best route for them to realise their career ambitions.
Judith Doyle, principal at Gateshead College said: “Careers advice must inspire young people to make decisions that will help them to develop the right skills and knowledge on a learning path that suits them as an individual.
“From apprenticeships and vocational courses to A Level qualifications, there’s a lot of opportunities and it can be overwhelming but it’s so important that young people are told about all of the options available to them. I strongly believe that greater cohesion is needed between schools, colleges and careers services to ensure broad and impartial advice is offered.”
Gateshead MP Ian Mearns, who is also a member of the influential Commons Education Committee, is backing the agenda to improve standards in careers advice. He said “Young people are our region’s future workforce and we should be doing everything we can to provide them with the opportunities and ongoing support to follow a career path that’s right for them.
“This needs to start with shaking up the current careers advice provision and I very much support the efforts of Gateshead College to encourage collaboration between schools, FE providers and careers services. A collective approach is a step in the right direction to provide the best advice, allowing individuals to shine in their chosen careers.”