A radical change in careers information, advice and guidance (IAG) has been unveiled at a launch attended by Children, Schools and Families Secretary Ed Balls, Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United Football Club and Schools Minister Iain Wright.
The new IAG strategy will modernise careers education to make it accessible for today's generation of young people and to keep pace with a rapidly changing economy – and make sure every young person, whatever their background, can aim for the top.
New research shows that children at 11 have very high aspirations, with 75 per cent saying they want to go to university. Schools and parents need to work together to build on this level of ambition and get children thinking about higher education, especially those from homes where no members of their family have been to university before.
Children's aspirations, attainment and life chances are greatly improved when parents are involved in their learning and development and have higher educational aspirations for them. Consequently, providing parents with the help and support they need to engage in their children's learning is at the heart of the strategy.
The Department is trialing career related learning in 38 primary schools this year. The trials will encourage pupils and parents to have the conversations about careers and education choices early, during the final years of primary school. This will help prepare young people to choose the right subject options at 14. Parents will be given help, support and resources to do this.
The strategy sets out plans to provide support and resource for schools and parents to engage with young people from an early age to talk about career opportunities. School staff and external advisors in contact with parents will be better equipped to help and encourage them to engage more effectively with their children's learning and development.
More broadly, the strategy sets out:
- the Government's ambition that every young person will get careers education up to the age of 18 in line with raising the participation age
- piloting approaches to teaching about careers in primary school and plans for primary schools to work with universities to give younger pupils an experience of higher education and the wider world of work
- the ambition that every young person will have access to a mentor – two new national mentoring champions will help increase mentoring opportunities between schools, businesses and higher education
- plans for bringing IAG into the 21st Century with better online access to careers advice through Facebook, You Tube, blogs and forums and a new dedicated online mentoring scheme from 2010 to enable young people to talk to professionals online
- more help for disadvantaged and disabled young people in accessing work experience so that all young people -regardless of their background, ethnicity or gender – can realise their full potential
- a £10M fund to support innovative ways of delivering careers education
Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, said:
"A radical change is needed in the way careers advice and education is delivered. This strategy aims to do just that with schools and parents at the centre. Many people have anecdotal experiences of really bad careers advice and often say if they had their chance again they would have done something different. I want this generation of young people to be able to look back and say their careers advice and guidance was relevant and gave them informed options.
"Our strategy sets out a new approach for schools. It brings together young people, those working in business and older peers. They are best placed to provide an understanding of all the different types of jobs they could do and the qualifications they will need to fulfill their ambition."
"Parents tell us they want their children to have the chance to succeed whether their strengths are practical, academic or both. That's why young people today can choose from Diplomas, GCSEs, A levels, apprenticeships and university. And they will often make choices based on informal contacts from friends and family so parents play a vital role."
"There are many opportunities for parents to engage in their child's career advice. End of year assemblies in primary schools provide a brilliant platform for discussing careers and education routes. I think this is a great way to introduce the subject, because we know it is often too late for children to start thinking about this at 14 when they are influenced from when they are seven, eight and nine."
"Parents tell us they want to see an end to the old boys network that means only children from privileged backgrounds get their foot in the door. My aspiration is that every young person will have a mentor so that they can get expert direction, with all primary children visiting or finding out more about universities. "
"This generation of young people look to the internet for knowledge in most areas. That is why we are investing more money in online advice and guidance so that we can deliver a truly 21st century careers education service."
Sir Alex Ferguson, Manager of Manchester United Football Club. said: "When I was a young footballer my father insisted I did an apprenticeship. Without this advice and qualification I would not be where I am today. I think all young people should do apprenticeships if they don't want to go to university or start working. They provide a real route into all sorts of work opportunities.
"All sorts of people can influence children in their career choices, but it is important that teachers, parents and businesses spot talent early on and nurture young people to achieve the best they can. Parents who want their children to be footballers know how important it is that they start playing young. But that's not just true for football – if parents want their children to be doctors or lawyers then they should make sure their children get to see something of those careers as well."
To see the further information on the strategy and quotes from Manchester United player Ryan Giggs, Schools Minister Iain Wright and Charlie Clare, Headteacher of Geoffrey Field Junior School, Reading please click here
To see the full IAG strategy please click here