Calling all Connexions and ex-Connexions people

I think that everyone is aware that Connexions is experiencing some major cuts at the moment. At worst this might mean that youth careers services are going to vanish all together. There is a lots of activity on the policy level, lots of lobbying etc, but I’m not clear what is happening on the ground.

I’d like to hear about what is happening to people and the services they deliver locally. How are Connexions companies and advisers trying to see their way through the current crisis. I think that it is really important that there is somewhere that exeriences are being shared, the impacts of cuts recorded and the potential for campaigns and challenges thought through.

I’d like to offer this blog as a place if there isn’t anywhere else.

I think that we should be talking about:

  • What is happening locally? How many people have been made redundant? What is the impact on service users?
  • What happens next? How services are being organised? Whether the local Connexions organisation will survive? Whether schools will buy careers services in? What kinds of things schools will buy?
  • What you think about this?

I’d suggest that people respond to this in one of three ways:

  • reply to this post with a quick thought
  • write a blog post and send it to me or put it on your own blog and tell me
  • email me on t.hooley@derby.ac.uk with what you can tell me – even if it is off the record

I’ll try and post something drawing together all of the strands once we’ve got a few posts.

What do people think? Is this a good idea? Has anyone got a better one?

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13 thoughts on “Calling all Connexions and ex-Connexions people

  1. One of the things to mention is that you don’t need to have loads to say. Lots of little snippets of information will allow us to build up a picture of what is going on. I’d rather people posted and sent me anything that they think might be interesting/useful and we can post it to try and inform the debate. @newmanswords made a good point that we need to be looking a bit wider than Connexions and to think about Education Business Partnerships and other bits of local authority structures that have also been damaged by the cuts. I’d also throw Aimhigher into that. Anyone got anything else that we should be attending to?

  2. Hi Tristram,I’m an ex Connexions man who turned freelance nearly two years ago. I’ve been working with a couple of local partnerships in the Midlands. One has seen cuts of between 40% to 60% of frontline staff and Management, the other has seen what is possibly their third restructure in as many years. Job descriptions have been revamped and staff are to be called "Careers Advisors" (funny how things come full circle?!?!). "Careers" seemed to have become a dirty word when I joined Connexions some seven or eight years ago (a bit like "don’t mention the war"!!). Careers Advisors were now called Personal Advisors and the shift was to working with those not in education, employment or training. It appears that the pendulum has swung back again in the opposite direction!Staff I talk to have been left very disheartened and disillusioned. Some have taken voluntary redundancy, others are busily looking for jobs that aren’t out there, some have taken big pay cuts and are struggling to stay afloat.While Connexions wasn’t perfect – I think right from the start there should have been more clarity and consistency from "on high" as to how the service should have been delivered – it certainly doesn’t deserve this kind of massacre.I’ve edited what I was going to type! I could sit here for hours and rant!Thanks for the opportunity.Ade.

  3. @newmansword has asked what I plan to do with the information that I gather on this site. The honest answer is that I’m not sure.I hoping that the sharing of information and transition strategies might help to 1) inform the debate – by putting out there what is actually happening on the ground2) provide people in different areas of the country with some ideas about how other people are doing/dealing with these challengesI’ll also do my best to reflect it back to people with more power and influence than me.

  4. Just some initial thoughts about how careers guidance provision might develop. My sense is that the model I have known as a careers adviser is now dead.National Careers Service – universal element – including careers information database with links to areas prospectuses and organisations such as Apprenticeships and UCAS, plus self-directed interest guides and aptitude tests and access to downloadable careers education resources for schools or other providers to use.Schools will be able to buy in additional services as they wish, including additional or specialist CEG resources, face-to-face guidance, group sessions, attendance at parents evenings etc, perhaps according to an agreed menu of services. As these services would be non-statutory, they could be funded on a subscription basis by parents, e.g. paying an annual subscription of ??25 or more depending on services available. Parents could also opt to pay for additional services such as psychometric testing or further in-depth guidance.Schools could form groups or consortia to pool resources to employ and / or buy in addtional guidance services. Funding for vulnerable / disadvantaged / LDD young people could be taken from the Pupil Premium or via local authorities who would still retain responsibilty for them.Services would be provided by ‘willing providers’ who demonstrate that they adhere to the standards laid down (e.g. via Careers Profession Alliance). Delivery could be sub-contracted to qualified practitioners who could be employed on a flexible basis to meet the needs of customers. Individula guidance practitioners would be required to belong to a relevant professional organisation and be responsible for their own continuing professional development.

  5. I’ve just been sent the following anonymous update"Connexions services in my neighbouring area have been cut drastically. One interesting development has been the intervention of an educational recruitment agency who see some opportunities in, and a solution to, the current situation. This agency already has successful, longstanding relationships with many of the secondary schools in the area. The agency invited a number of Connexions people to a lunch meeting to discuss their proposal for future CEIAG work in schools. Given the option, not all of the attendees chose to return to hear the full briefing."

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