Last week John Hayes was supposed to have given the annual iCeGS lecture. Unfortunately Parliamentary business kept him away, but he sent a video and a senior civil servant (Susan Pember) who gave a more detailed speech and answered questions.
Although it was a shame that John Hayes himself couldn’t attend we still managed to have a pretty interesting lecture and discussion. The input from the government was very upbeat “careers guidance changes lives” and a desire to see the “best of careers services”, however relatively little new thinking was revealed. In general the policy remains that the new National Careers Service will be built on the bones of the existing Next Step service and we were provided with few revelations about how it would be developed. The idea of co-location with JobCentrePlus was hinted at and we were told that a new “Head of Careers” post would be created to head up the new service. This post could be useful in giving the whole thing a strategic focus and impact, but as ever the devil will be in the detail.
The majority of the conversation was focused around the changes for young people. As expected the concerns about the cuts to Connexions were rehearsed and Sue Pember did her best to defend the governments positions. Key areas of discussion included:
- The role of impartial services and whether you could rely on school leaders to guarantee this.
- What was going to be available for young people outside of school term.
- Whether the business model that the National Careers Service is based on would actually work.
- How the transition arrangements were working and where they would lead us.
- How quality could be ensured in the new arrangements.
In general I think that there was a consensus that there is considerable policy development needed. Whatever you think about the new school based, unfunded situation (and I don’t think much) the point remains that there are still too many details that need to be worked through. Given that this is all in the process of being implemented this is creating a lot of confusion and ultimately this must be bad for both careers professionals and young people.
After Susan Pember left Tony Waits led a discussion about how the sector could respond to this. He emphasised the importance of lobbying and campaigning, but said that we also need to start thinking beyond that. We then discussed the approaches that were being taken locally to ensure that some kind of service could be maintained for young people. There seem to be a huge range of business and delivery models growing up and we agreed that it would be useful for iCeGS to produce some kind of paper summarising the position.
So I’d like to repeat the call for information about what is happening locally. In particular I’m interested in the following issues:
- What is happening to the organisation that previous delivered the Connexions service?
- What are schools in your area doing?
- What are the local authorities doing to facilitate the new arrangements (if anything)??
- Are there any other bodies moving into the field?
- What is happening to the services that are offered?
- What is the impact on young people?
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