Still a place for careers advisors in HE

As debate rages, the University of Derby says evidence shows careers professionals should still be central to young people’s futures

Researchers at the University of Derby say evidence confirms that ‘careers professionals’ should be at the heart of any approach to supporting young people’s futures.

Business Secretary Vince Cable was the latest minister to criticise current careers advice practices, stating that teachers ‘know absolutely nothing about the world of work’.

Speaking to hundreds of senior figures in the manufacturing industry, Mr Cable claimed Government schemes to get students interested in careers were being thwarted by an ‘underlying problem’ – and he pointed the finger at teachers themselves.

In a report commissioned by Careers England, University of Derby Visiting Professor Tony Watts confirms there are, in fact, many problems with how careers guidance in schools is delivered.

But it also recognises that many of these problems have resulted from recent Government policy. This has included the abolition of the Connexions careers advice service, the loss of statutory duties for career education and work experience, and the fact that schools have been asked to take on this new role with no funding or advice.

And the research also points out that there is still a valid place for ‘careers professionals’.

Dr Tristram Hooley, Reader in Career Development at the University of Derby, said: “Our research suggests that the ideal model of career guidance in schools would be based around a ‘careers professional’.

“This person could provide support to young people, help teachers to understand how their subjects link to the world of work and facilitate employer contributions to schools.”

Dr Hooley urged the Government to provide greater clarity to schools on how careers advice should be provided.

He said: “Given that the Government is currently revising the guidance it provides to schools, it is important that it listens to the evidence in this area.

“We need a clear statement from Government that schools should support young people to think about and plan for their futures. Such support should include the involvement of a careers professional, subject teachers, employers and other perspectives from outside the school.”

For the full Careers England report, entitled Recent Developments on the Roles of Employers and of Careers Professionals: A Pivotal Phase in Determining Future Careers Provision for Young People, visit


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