Radical careers education shake-up

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The government has announced a radical shake-up of careers information, advice and guidance (IAG) to modernise the support given to young people.

The new IAG strategy will modernise careers education to make it accessible for today’s generation of young people and make sure every young person, whatever their background, can aim for the top.

As part of radical new changes, the initiative will offer access to careers education to every young person up to the age of 18.

The strategy sets out plans for:

  • 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 to have access to a mentor - two new national mentoring champions will help increase mentoring opportunities between schools, businesses and higher education.
  • 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 contact 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.
  • provide support and resource for schools and parents to engage with young people from an early age to talk about career opportunities.
  • a £10M fund to support innovative ways of delivering careers education

Schools Minister Iain Wright, said: "Good careers advice is not delivered in a single afternoon and should never be a one-off event. We want IAG to be delivered from the end of primary school right up to 18 so that we build on the aspirations and ambitions that younger children have. If we engage them early on they are more likely to make the right choices throughout their education," said Mr Wright.

Children, Schools and Families Secretary Ed Balls, 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 fulfil their ambition."

The government believes every young person should have access to a mentor, and the new IAG strategy will see two new national mentoring champions helping to deliver that goal. Popular online sites, including Facebook and You Tube, will also play a large part in making IAG more accessible to young people. A ten million pound fund has been confirmed to support innovative ways of delivering careers education.

"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," added Mr Balls.

David Harbourne, director of research at Edge, welcomed the initiative as part of the independent education foundation's calls to ensure "all young people have the options to explore the many paths to success".

Mr Harbourne said: "I am delighted that the report stresses the importance of young people finding out about learning and careers options by seeing and hearing for themselves. Learning about courses and jobs directly from people who are already doing them is invaluable.

"We know young people want this - the message has come through loud and clear through Edge projects such as our youth-led Learner Forum. There are many paths to success and students need a wide range of experiences, including ones that are practical and vocational, to identify their individual talents."

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