Radical shakeup needed on school’s career advice

One of the UK’s largest building services firms has criticised the Department for Education (DfE), stating that it’s a “lottery” as to whether pupils get good quality careers advice or not.

London-based NG Bailey has hired over 5,500 apprentices since it’s been in business, but has hit out at government officials with a new report, entitled ‘‘Careers advice in schools: building a better future.’’

Over 500 apprentices were asked a series of questions regarding their relationship with careers advisers during their time at school. Only 24 per cent of apprentices said that their school was responsible for them undergoing a vocational course, with just 31 per cent of respondents actually receiving apprenticeship guidance at school.

Cal Bailey, sustainability director at NG Bailey, argues that the government needs to do more to tackle the growing skills gap, starting with improving careers advice at school level.

The building firm have called on the DfE to provide £30m worth of funding to over 500 schools and 450,000 pupils, so they can benefit from sound careers advice. The group also hope to see more government promotion regarding vocational and apprenticeship training.

‘‘We have a collective duty to ensure our young people are given the right level of support to help them into fulfilling and sustainable careers. Politicians, civil servants and educationalists need to work with the business community to make the changes that we all believe are necessary,’’ commented Bailey.

The improvement of careers guidance is a must for the building company, as they intend to engage in more cross-industry discussions on how schools supply career advice to its students. Another major aim is to prevent schools from shying away from giving its pupils job advice.

‘‘Around half of all school pupils don’t go to university, so focusing advice on academic routes rather than vocational ones risks damaging the futures of millions of young people,’’ continued Bailey.