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Careers strategy represents step forward for young people, but questions remain over support for older workers

Commenting on the release of the Government's Careers Strategy, Ben Willmott, Head of Public Policy at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development said:

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"Plans set out by the Government today to improve the quality of careers information, advice and guidance should over time help improve the quality of support available to many young people and enable them to make better choices about what to study, and their future careers.

"We welcome the enhanced role for the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC) in building links between education providers and business at a local level so more young people have contact and work experience with employers while they are at school. More than 600 CIPD members have volunteered to be CEC Enterprise Advisers to help lead efforts to make these connections and we will be continuing to support and champion the need for employers to work with their local schools and colleges to boost employability and careers insights among young people.

"It is also right that a considerable focus should be on spreading the use of best practice, for example encouraging all schools to adopt the Gatsby framework on careers provision, which will be supported by a push to ensure every school has a ‘careers leader’ responsible for driving this key agenda forward.

"However the success of the strategy depends to a large degree on how schools respond to what they are being encouraged to do and, longer term, there may need to be an adjustment to the Ofsted inspection framework so that all schools are assessed for the quality of the careers guidance they provide as part of their overall rating if not enough progress is made voluntarily.

"The area where there is less investment and action is on support for people needing to up-skill or re-skill as they get older. Beyond plans for a new, improved National Careers Service website ‘for all citizens’ there is little in the strategy to suggest that there will be sufficient support for older workers who increasingly need high quality careers advice and opportunities to learn new skills. This is especially vital in the face of new technology and longer working lives, particularly against a backdrop of falling public investment in adult skills and life-long learning."