Things for Careers Advisers and Teachers to watch out for in 2019 (as well as Brexit!)

Andy Gardner January 2019

Happy new year!

For the next few months there will be relentless media coverage of Brexit developments.  No deal, the negotiated deal, a people’s vote or kicking the can down the road by delaying Article 50, who knows? In some ways it seems that the government is stuck in a zombie state, with nothing much happening.  On an individual/micro level we will still be interviewing clients, organising careers education, helping with work experience etc, set against ever dwindling funding. On an organisational/macro level we will still be dealing with issues such as, can we meet the Gatsby Benchmarks/Statutory Guidance, are we meeting our SEND/NEET duties and how can we find new Careers talent to replace our ageing and poorly paid workforce? Life will still go on, and we know for sure people will still want Careers Advice from both qualified humans and digital sources.

As for the Baker Clause in schools and FE, look at this FE Week Survey article and year-on reflection article:

Student Finance

Watch out for more announcements in June 2019 on how student loans should be treated in the national accounts and the plans to deal with this.  HEPI’s Nick Hillman worries that “we are at risk of sleepwalking into a triple whammy of fewer university places, less funding per student and tougher student loan repayment terms.”  Things may not be so drastic, but we must face the possibility that the HE Bubble that has existed because of England’s unique funding system will pop if universities are exposed to austerity and Brexit, with a large part of their funding now up against competition from other government departments

T Levels

There has been much fanfare about T Levels, which are due to start teaching in September 2020.  There are endless reports of difficulties gaining the required work experience elements.

Before this, we would argue that Careers Education and Guidance will need to be extremely robust to help possible applicants make the right choices. If it isn’t, how are we going to make sure that young people and parents understand the differences in the range of 16 plus provision.  For a young person wanting to do something in computing they could possibly do an A Level in Computing, a BTEC Level 3 in Computing (it seems that Applied General Qualifications like this will remain, when initially the government said that they would disappear), T Level in Digital and IT, and a wide range of IT Apprenticeships.  They will need decent Careers Education and one-to-one guidance from a qualified Careers Professional to negotiate these choices.  Is it wishful thinking to have some extra funding so this can happen?

We still don’t know about the Transition Year, in a speech on technical education in December 2018, the Secretary of State said that he would set out more details on the transition offer in the new year.

Will T Levels even survive Brexit?

Not enough Apprenticeships

At the 2018 Conservative Party Conference, Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced that he would be reviewing the Apprenticeship Levy rules which have led to a reduction in the recruitment of new apprentices (and the abandoning of the 3 million target!).  Anything that makes the recruitment of an apprentice into an apprenticeship easier for employers would be welcomed!  When this review will report is not known.

Going back to the first point regarding Student Finance, it shouldn’t be assumed that if changes in student funding happen and there are less university places, that apprenticeships will be able to take up the slack.  It takes an Apprenticeship Training Organisation a large amount of work to sign up an employer for just one apprenticeship, as many employers are still resistant.  The government needs to make it more attractive for an employer to take on an apprentice.

Schools being overwhelmed by their commitments

In our careers bubble we can think that the Careers Strategy is a massive issue, but I received a sobering communication from my youngest Son’s secondary school in a letter they had written to the local authority about being overwhelmed by duties and requirements without enough funding. These ranged from reductions in ICT equipment spending to special needs and many other issues I hadn’t heard of. The Careers Strategy wasn’t even mentioned, in fact nothing to do with careers was mentioned specifically.

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