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Policy statement

Careers Information: Advice and Guidance

In our policy statement we look at how we can help inspire tomorrow’s engineers, improve motivation and strengthen the ties between education and employment in science and engineering.

To drive economic growth, build the next generation of infrastructure projects and meet our 2050 carbon reduction obligations, the UK urgently needs more people to choose careers in science and engineering. This choice begins with a greater emphasis on studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in schools.

We are concerned that the proposed changes to careers information, advice and guidance (CIAG) will not provide the level of service that young people or the economy need in science and engineering.

Schools are the key site for providing CIAG. Yet the funding, expertise and incentives to support effective delivery are being cut at a time when it is needed most, given youth unemployment rates. We welcome the creation of the all-age career service. However the emphasis on those aged 19 and over, particularly the lack of an entitlement to face-to-face career counselling until the age of 19, is a retrograde step.

Employers and professions need to take greater responsibility for providing Labour Market Information (LMI) through a variety of routes, including engineering-specific and jointly produced careers materials, as we are currently doing through our Education for Engineering initiative.

The key issue is that we need to use people who have careers and are creating careers to give advice to those that seek them. On the basis that it ‘takes one to know one’ we need to improve the motivation and strengthen the ties between education and employment in science and engineering.

Key recommendations

  1. All secondary schools should have access to transparent national and local Labour Market Information to provide 14- to 19-year-olds with a greater understanding of national and local labour market and employer needs. Where possible, schools should also establish an advisory panel of local and regional employers.
  2. Careers advisory agencies should each have a professional specialist in engineering and technology careers with an entitlement to Careers Profession Alliance Continuing Professional Development when developed.
  3. STEM teachers throughout the UK should be entitled to develop continuously their understanding of STEM careers, allowing them to advise students better on the up-to-date potential for employment.

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