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Labour pushes for more careers guidance in schools

Labour has pledged to fix a ‘broken system’ when it comes to the careers advice pupils receive at school (PA)
Labour has pledged to fix a ‘broken system’ when it comes to the careers advice pupils receive at school (PA)

The Labour Party has pushed for more careers guidance for pupils, saying that “all too often” pupils are unaware of apprenticeship schemes while they are at school.

The party has pledged to fix a “broken system” when it comes to the careers advice pupils receive at school.

In a speech to the Association of Education and Learning Providers, Toby Perkins, Labour’s shadow minister for further education and skills, is expected to say that there is “uncertainty” over legislation in the Skills Bill, and that the Bill itself has been a “missed opportunity”.

He is expected to say that “it remains unclear” how independent training providers will be affected by Employer Representative Bodies and Local Skills Improvement Plans.

The aim of the bodies and skills improvement plans is for colleges to make sure their training courses align with local business needs.

Mr Perkins is expected to criticise a “contradictory approach” to skills from the Government, with a “hands-off” apprenticeship policy coupled with centralised powers for the secretary of state through the Bill.

He will pledge that Labour will make sure that all secondary school pupils receive face-to-face expert careers advice during their schooling alongside a minimum of two weeks of compulsory work experience.

“Pre-pandemic just a third of young people reported receiving careers advice from a trained adviser, and that is even lower among young people on free school meals and with special educational needs,” he will say.

“All too often, apprentices that I meet tell me that they weren’t told about apprenticeships at school.

“Many say that that they left school without engaging with employers and without knowing the opportunities on offer in their local community.”

Mr Perkins will also set out Labour’s plans to protect the “independence” of training providers.

“An incoming Labour government envisages a clear role for training providers and we would seek a collaborative approach, rather than pitting organisations against each other as has happened too often under the current system,” he will say.

Sarah Hannafin, senior policy adviser for school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Good-quality careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) is important to all pupils in our schools. We have continually stressed that CEIAG should be appropriately resourced and of a high standard in order to support pupils to make the best choices and maximise their life chances.

“Despite support for careers education from school leaders, the current provision remains underfunded and therefore inconsistent. There is no specific funding for schools, nor any budget with which to provide impartial and independent CEIAG or work experience.”