Central London Careers Hub completed its first season of 25 events in July 2015, providing career sector knowledge for Career Development Professionals in London and the Home Counties. We knew that over 700 delegates had come to the events – averaging 28 per event. The majority of the delegates were staff of remaining Local Authority and Traded services Careers Services and FE College Careers Services, with smaller numbers of new Careers services, Independent Careers Advisers, university careers advisers and a few Teachers.
We were often asked by employer bodies, training providers, employers and other organisations “what is your reach?”, or “how many people do the Careers Advisers that come to your events see?” and we would admit that we had absolutely no idea.
So we decided to ask all the Careers Services and independent Careers Advisers who had come to CLCH in its first season four simple questions:
1. In the last 3 years how many guidance interventions have you done?
2. In the last 3 years how many NEET guidance interventions have you done?
3. In the last 3 years how many group works have you done?
4. In the last 3 years how many schools or colleges have you worked in?
We asked for the last 3 years data, because this would cover the time when funding for Careers Services in England had been pulled by the DFE to be replaced by a duty which large numbers of schools chose to completely ignore.
You could be forgiven for thinking that Careers Advisers are now irrelevant, having been replaced by an endless array of websites, employer speakers and alumni networks. You could also be forgiven, due to endless reports (normally commissioned by new entrants to the careers education and guidance marketplace) for thinking that young people are really happy to now receive advice from Teachers, parents and friends, so therefore why bother with Careers Advisers?
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Against all the odds, remaining Careers Advisers are seeing an astonishing number of people, showing a true entrepreneurial spirit, in an increasingly difficult financial situation.
So here is what our survey discovered.
In the last three years Careers Services and independent Careers Advisers who had come to Central London Careers Hub had done the following work:
• Guidance interventions – 462,593
• NEET Guidance Interventions – 79,990
• Groupworks – 12,229 (if we assume 20 people in each group that would be 244,580, this is probably an underestimate!)
• Number of Schools and Colleges – 578
To put this data into context, let’s compare it with reliable data from three sources over the last 3 years:
• Skills London (the brilliant skills and jobs fair which attracts visitors from all over South East England) – 96,000 (32,000 x3)
• Big Bang Fair (the excellent Stem event in Birmingham attracting young people from all over the country) – 216,000 (72,000 x 3)
• Career Ready (the superb UK wide charity linking employers with schools and colleges to open up the world of work to young people) – 8,100 (2,700 x 3)
So why have Careers Advisers survived and how come they are seeing many people? This is the Central London Careers Hub take:
There are still senior managers in schools and FE colleges who get the holistic value that Qualified Careers Advisers bring to their institution. Whether it is their one-to-one work, group works or consultancy.
Local authorities can see the benefits of small injections of money into Careers Services and the multiplier effect it has on communities. Though Local Authorities face even more financial pressures in the next few years.
Many young people have an intrinsic need to talk to an impartial Careers Adviser who will focus down their ideas, help them to use information sources, clarify where they need to be both realistic and ambitious, make them aware of the careers, courses and training opportunities that they never realised existed and put into action tactics to help them achieve a way forward.
Careers Advisers are relentless – they are always there. Their continuous presence in an institution is a perfect fit with the real behaviour of many young people, who can change ideas in an instant, forget appointments, be facing exclusion and generally not be the rational beings we would sometimes like them to be. Young people are adolescents, many in puberty, they can be a bit random and Careers Advisers are brilliant at dealing with this.
Careers Organisations and Careers Advisers have showed a wonderful degree of enterprise. For many in 2012 the funding ended literally overnight. Their ability to reinvent themselves has been nothing short of amazing.
The final word goes to Steve Stewart, Executive Director, Careers England:
“Good careers guidance and hence good career decision making is made up of several elements. These are clearly documented in the Gatsby report titled Good Career Guidance which is now accepted by the DfE and Careers and Enterprise Company as the way forward.
The report sites eight benchmarks, three of which (personal guidance, addressing the needs of each pupil and learning from career and labour market information) require the contribution of professional Careers Advisers.
Now more than ever is the time to recognise and value our Careers Advisers.”
The majority of this data was sourced direct from Careers Service and FE college management information systems (MIS). Smaller amounts of data were provided by a survey of CLCH delegates not covered by MIS.
No Careers Services/FE Colleges or individual careers advisers and their individual data have been mentioned, this is to protect market sensitivities.