Sally Hunt is the general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU)
A report from the education committee released today says our young people need much better careers advice. The MPs’ report also argues careers guidance should not be the sole responsibility of schools and it must be adequately funded.
All very sensible points and, in the main, the University and College Union (UCU) broadly welcomed the report’s findings and recommendations. We are not convinced schools’ advice is quite as partisan as some would have us believe, but the fact some schools are better at preparing their pupils for certain career paths is why we need to ensure all young people have access to proper advice.
Sadly, however, this is another situation where the government has already removed the thing people are calling for. A scheme offering careers advice to young people – Connexions – was axed by a government that has also made studying much more expensive at a time when huge numbers of young people cannot find work.
Today’s report is a timely reminder of those difficulties our young people face. We would argue only through investing in proper careers guidance and educational opportunities for young people will the government be able to alleviate the long-term problem of youth joblessness.
More than 150,000 16-24 year olds are classified as not working or learning and that has huge implications for their future and the economy. A recent study estimated the lifetime cost of young people who are not in education, employment or training between the ages of 16 and 18 could be as much as £77 billion.
While the government’s ‘all in it together’ mantra looks more ridiculous with each new policy announcement or tax cut, it is absolutely vital our young people get the advice and guidance they need to maximise their potential in whatever areas best suits their skills.