UNISON says tens of thousands of young people have no access to face-to-face careers guidance


UNISON is calling for cuts to the career service to be reversed.

Thousands of jobs have been cut from the careers service, with many more still facing the axe. Tens of thousands of young people now have no access to face-to-face careers guidance, just when the bleak jobs market means they need it most.

The government claims that a new all age National Careers Service (NCS) and in-school provision will replace the existing service, but the union is warning that it will not happen unless the government steps in to fund the service properly.

In a submission to the Department for Education’s consultation on careers guidance for young people, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This government is sacrificing young people’s futures by withdrawing decent careers guidance. Faced with a bleak jobs market, young people need a decent careers service now more than ever. But in many towns and cities across the country they will now find closed doors where their careers office used to be.

“The government cannot just tell schools that they have to do more – young people deserve better. We are urging the government to step up, provide sufficient resources, and help restore the high quality careers services that young people need.”

The union is also warning the government that a damaging postcode lottery is developing. In Birmingham, a city within the top 20 youth unemployment hotspots, the budget for careers services has fallen from £11m to £3.8m since 2010. More than two-thirds of the staff have lost their jobs and only one advice centre remains open.

In six London boroughs – Kingston, Merton, Sutton, Richmond, Croydon and Bromley – all the Connexions offices have been closed.  In Hull the staffing levels of careers advisers has been reduced from 81 to 18.

UNISON supports the proposals to extend the new statutory duty on schools, sixth form colleges and further education institutions to provide careers advice, so that pupils all the way from 12 to 18 benefit from it. However, the union has made it clear that the extension of the statutory duty will fail, unless the government re-considers its approach to the actual provision of careers services.

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