MORE THAN 150,000 YOUNG PEOPLE UNACCOUNTED FOR AS THE CLOSURE OF CAREERS ADVICE SERVICES CONTINUES TO HURT THE YOUNG UNEMPLOYED
Jane Clinton and Andy Gardner June 2015
THE DEVASTATING effect of closing careers advice services has allowed more than 150,000 young people to fall off the radar of local authorities.
These figures come following a Department for Education report, which was published in September 2014, outlining the statutory guides for local authorities after the government raised the participation age (RPA) so that now all young people in England are required to continue in education or training for longer.
The DfE report entitled, Participation of Young People in Education, Employment or Training, stresses the importance of “intervening early… to prevent the risk of long-term disengagement and the risk of adult unemployment, low wages and health issues.”
Yet 155,789 young people aged 16-18 are simply unaccounted for in local authorities in England as the true extent of the impact of cutting careers advice services for the young begins to emerge.
Research by the Central London Careers Hub (CLCH) reveals how the future of many young people is hostage to a “postcode lottery” which has been created by the cutting or stripping down careers advice services. Opportunities for such “early intervention” as recommended by the DfE report are now severely compromised.
The research by CLCH found that 90 per cent of local authorities with no, or very limited, careers advice offices lost touch with those young people Not in Education or Employment (NEET). These authorities also struggled to get them back into Education, Employment or Training (EET).
This contrasted with local authorities which scored highly on their knowledge of what their NEETs were doing and their ability to re-engage them in EET. Of those local authorities that scored highly, 93% had careers/youth support office provision.
Graham Stuart, former chair of the education select committee said: “Careers choices and the guidance to help inform young people have never been more important.
“This research proves the need for every area to ensure the provision of first-class careers advice and guidance including face-to-face provision from trained professionals.”
The DfE report’s guidelines for local authorities is, in many cases, simply not being met as careers advice services have been marginalised or reduced to a cursory chat.
The majority of local authorities that had retained their careers advice services/offices showed a clear grasp of what their young people were doing.
Andy Gardner, the Founder of CLCH adds: “Where are these 16-18s? Are they in education, employment or training? Are they in their bedrooms, being fed and watered by their parent/parents? Have they gone abroad? What are they doing? We just don’t know, because the one organisation that could be on top of tracing these young people, the Careers Service has been dismantled.
To then have the RPA duties, and have no way of monitoring them is bizarre, you couldn’t make it up.
It’s the oldest Civil Service trick in the book, Sir Humphrey Appleby would be proud. You shift the numbers from one statistical column to another, then stop bothering to find out where NEETs are, or chasing them up, lump them all in the Don’t Knows, then get the PR people to endlessly trumpet how the NEETs numbers are going down and don’t mention the huge number of don’t knows which is nearly double the number of acknowledged NEETs.
Finally, what’s bizarre ‘cubed’ is that the government is putting a huge amount of effort into the expansion of apprenticeships (for which it should be given tremendous credit) yet denies itself the one set of people on the ground who can impartially explain to young people the benefits of apprenticeships and help those without family support to apply for them”.