Pupils aged 10 should be given careers advice

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Youngsters will be urged to start thinking about their careers from the age of ten under new plans unveiled by Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrats' deputy leader.

In a report to David Cameron, Mr Hughes also sets out plans to hand out university scholarships for all state schools.

Mr Hughes said: "It is never too early for people to start thinking about future careers and educational opportunities. Children in their last year of primary school can be inspired, and can form their first clear impressions of the world of work and further study."

Primary schools will have to host career advice sessions with industry experts  and parents to discuss what qualifications are needed.

He hopes the move will make youngsters start thinking about university before they even start secondary school.

Mr Hughes said: "The message I have heard from young people around the country is clear. We need better careers advice, starting early, and with parents as well as students given better information about going to university.

"It is crucial that decisions about higher education are made on the basis of costs and benefits and not fees, debts and loans. The next six months are vital and there is all to play for."

Mr Hughes also called for scholarships of at least £3,000 for living costs to be awarded to children from only the poorest backgrounds.

Every state school and further education college in England would have on average three scholarships. But if there were no pupils from poor backgrounds, the scholarships would be reallocated elsewhere.

Mr Hughes also called for students aged between 14 and 16 to be given lessons in basic financial management. 

But his proposals were branded a waste of time by lecturers and students.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said: "Given that the Education Maintenance Allowance has been scrapped, university fees have trebled, Aimhigher, careers advice centres and the future jobs fund have gone, what exactly is the point of this report?

"Surely any such report should have been commissioned, and published, before important access to education decisions were made."

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