In response to the report published today by the Education, Skills and the Economy Sub-Committee, saying that inadequate careers advice in many schools is exacerbating skills gap, Seamus Nevin, Head of Employment and Skills at the Institute of Directors said:
“The IoD welcomes the committee’s focus on careers guidance, which by all accounts remains an Achilles heel in the UK education system.
“However, simply imposing a penalty on schools for poor performance will not be a panacea for deeper, structural issues. Currently, schools are financially incentivised to push students into universities and away from apprenticeships, but for some young people this may not be the most appropriate route. This distortion between school incentives and optimal outcomes for students must be tackled.
"As ever, the real focus should be on providing students, teachers, parents and careers guidance advisors with better information about the employment market and the needs of employers. This means more contact with employers while in school, work experience, and careers talks.
"Alarmingly, just 43 per cent of students currently receive any formal careers guidance before choosing their A-level subjects and yet the subjects they choose can severely restrict their employment options later in life. This is partly because only 83 per cent of secondary schools employ a qualified, full-time careers adviser, with many relying instead on other support staff to fill career guidance roles. The only way to solve this problem is to improve guidance, not punish schools for being poorly equipped."
Earlier this year, the Institute of Directors published a report into Lifelong Learning, which included recommendations for improving careers advice for both children and adults.