FSB backs calls for improved careers advice

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Providing the best careers advice should be a top priority (image credit: iStock/Justin Horrocks)

Offering young people the chance to secure the best careers advice at school is something the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) feels could significantly improve the ability of children up and down the country to find rewarding careers.

The organisation has therefore joined a host of other top corporate enterprises in the UK - including the British Chambers of Commerce and the manufacturers' association the EEF - in sending an open letter to secretary of state Nicky Morgan regarding an amendment to the statutory guidelines for all schools surrounding careers advice.

It argues that the current approved standards set by the Department for Education are "too weak" and that young people across the UK would benefit greatly from an uplift in standards in this area.

Not only this, the letter states that the fact that the guidelines are only recommendations means that too many young people are not receiving the careers support that is needed. It is therefore something that the group would like to see addressed in the near future.

Martin McTague, policy director at the FSB, said: "Schools are under a lot of pressure to deliver on a wide range of fronts, so it's not surprising careers advice has slipped down the priority list.

"But getting good independent advice at the right time can transform a young person’s chances of finding a job they love and fulfilling their potential.

"We think this change will provide the nudge schools need to up their game - ultimately leading to better long-term outcomes for young people."

Providing additional support in this area would also help to ensure longstanding skills shortages in professions across the UK can be more immediately addressed, as often young people that would be perfectly suited to enter into these careers are not aware that this is an option for them.

Responding to the letter, MP Graham Stuart - former chair of the Education Select Committee from 2010 to 2015 and now chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Careers Information, Advice and Guidance - said that young people continue to face a plethora of choices when planning their future learning and careers, but the current system is failing many at present.

He noted that there is no "silver bullet" to address these issues instantly, but both business and careers experts alike believe that providing improved access to information for young people and helping them to make thoughtful choices about their future path will be of great benefit to individuals and the nation as a whole in the years to come.