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Welcome to Space4Careers, the blog of the Centre for Career & Personal Development at Canterbury Christ Church University. This blog does what it says on the tin, it provides an opportunity for anyone who is interested in all aspects of careers work to find a little bit of space in their busy lives to think about current issues and trends. If you like or dislike, agree or disagree with what you see, please respond and let us have your views. We'd love to hear from you.

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Wednesday, 2 February 2011

All Change and All-Age

Our Minister of State for Education, John Hayes announced the New All-Age Careers Service on Nov 4th 2010 and during his speech made the following statement:

‘A single, unified careers service would provide major benefits in terms of transparency and accessibility. And a single service with its own unique identity would have more credibility for people within it as well as users than the more fragmented arrangements that are currently in place.

There are a range of other benefits, including the ability to support young people more effectively during their transition to adulthood. And that’s why creating an all-age service will be one of my and my Departments’ most important tasks over the coming months and years.

As we go about this, it’s important to recognise that we’re not starting from scratch. On the contrary, we will build on Next Step, and on Connexions because we must not lose the best of either’.

In advocating this, I am certainly under no illusions about the Spending Review settlement. But if we are going to create the sort of comprehensive guidance service that I and many others think we need, then we will simply have to do more with less’

Fine words—but how does this relate to reality?

Take, for a start, not wanting to lose the best of Connexions. What I actually see is Connexions centres with large CLOSED notices scrawled across their premises, careers advisers pulled out of schools and many receiving redundancy notices. If the careers advisers are not in the schools and the Centres are disappearing, I do wonder how this can be keeping the best of Connexions?

Secondly, there is the ominous ‘doing more with less’. Is this actually possible? Well, given the wonders of modern technology, the Minister may actually be lucky with this one. My own experience of delivering telephone guidance for the Open University opened my eyes to just how effective this can be and it is certainly a more economical option, both for the client and guidance company, than face to face. So with an innovative approach, utilising the latest advances in technology ( I am not suggesting that the telephone falls into this category!) I believe Mr Hayes may ( just) have a chance of genuinely achieving more with less!

During his speech he also emphasised the need to continue to improve the status of the profession and the need for continuing professional development. This has to be good, and is already happening with the new LLUK Level 6 Diploma for adult guidance professionals and the Task Force recommendation of level 7 qualifications as the standard within 5 years.

Another theme was the partnership he expected to see between professional guidance practitioners and the schools who will be able to buy their services in. It was clear that he feels strongly that schools should buy in independent, impartial, professional career guidance for their pupils, however, it also was obvious that who the school purchase this from will be the decision of the individual school. In my opinion this will lead to a very variable provision with only some schools being prepared to pay for quality provision for all pupils, especially if they have to do this out of reduced budgets.

So what do the changes really mean?

John Hayes’ speech demonstrated that he is a champion of change to a better, more professional career guidance provision for all ages of client but the worry is that he may well be thwarted by the present funding cuts and other s in power that do not have his own convictions .

Time will tell.

Please click on the above title to link to the ICG website where you can read or listen to the John Hayes speech in full.

Barbara Shottin

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