The Government announcement comes just a few weeks after Gateshead College launched Careers 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.
The fresh approach to providing careers advice was launched after a study by the college showed that young people weren’t getting the information needed to make informed choices about their futures.
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.
Sir Michael Wilshaw echoed this as an issue across the sector in his fourth annual report for Ofsted which was released on 2 December. He stated: “A study on the most-able pupils found they were not getting the information, advice and guidance they need to prepare for suture studies or next steps into employment or training.” He also added: “Poor advice in schools led to a small number of apprentices initially starting an A-level course that they felt has delayed their career.”
Judith Doyle, principal and chief executive at Gateshead College, said: “We have a huge responsibility to support young people in making career choices that are right for them and I strongly believe that greater cohesion is needed between schools, colleges and careers services to ensure broad and impartial advice is offered.
“There is clearly still a misconception that apprenticeships are not for young people with a good academic record and continued poor promotion of them in schools is further damaging their reputation as a way into skilled jobs.
“Working together to provide sound, robust advice about the different paths available will not only help students to achieve personal aspirations in their working lives, it will also help put apprenticeships on a level playing field with other employment routes and create greater confidence in them as a valuable step to a rewarding career.”
Around 200 students in years 9, 10 and 11 at secondary school and their parents attended the first Careers Choice event held in late November. Connexions, Sunderland University, Gap Medics, North East Raising Participation Partnership and Direct Recruitment joined the college to host one-to-one careers appointments, workshops and presentations about A Levels, vocational courses and apprenticeships.
Barry Pollock from Durham attended the event with his daughter Lucy. He said: “The event was really useful. We’ve not been invited to anything like this before or received such clear information on career routes. It actually provoked a conversation between us that helped her to talk more openly about her future and what she wants to do.”
Lucy added: It was a great event. I now feel more informed about the different options available and I really appreciated that the careers adviser took the time to find out more about me and what I was good at as well as what I enjoy doing. I feel more confident in choosing a career path and would highly recommend that any young people looking for careers advice attend a Careers Choice event.”
Gateshead College holds monthly open events and the next will take place on Monday 14 December 2015 from 4.30pm to 7.00pm. For more information, visit http://www.gateshead.ac.uk/events