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Government inaction on careers provision failings is unacceptable

1 November 2016

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The Government's failure to address inadequacies in careers guidance is unacceptable and Ministers must act to improve provision as a matter of urgency to ensure young people are equipped with the right skills to succeed in the modern economy, says a statement from the Chairs of the Education, Skills and the Economy Committee.

Strongly critical

The Committee, consisting of members of the Education and Business Select Committees, is strongly critical of the Government's response to the Committee's report on Careers education, information, advice and guidance, published in July, which found that provision is still poor in many schools, leaving young people without a clear idea of the career options available and exacerbating the country's skills gap.

Failure to produce a strategy

MPs point to the Government's failure to produce a long-promised strategy for careers education. Neil Carmichael MP and Iain Wright MP, Co-Chairs of the Committee, accuse Ministers of "burying their heads in the sand".

The Chairs also express concern at the Government's dismissal of their Committees' recommendation to encourage schools to improve their careers advice and to bring more coherence to the confusing picture of provision.

Exacerbating the skills gap

Neil Carmichael MP and Iain Wright MP, Co-Chairs of the Education, Skills and the Economy Committee, said:

"The Government's lack of action to address failings in careers provision is unacceptable and its response to our report smacks of complacency. Ministers appear to be burying their heads in the sand while careers guidance fails young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and exacerbates the country's skills gap.

"Impartial advice and guidance and high quality careers education is vital if we are to achieve the social mobility and aspiration that the Prime Minister has talked about and vital to creating the skilled workforce needed to grow the economy post-Brexit.  

"We are very disappointed that the careers strategy long-promised by Government has still not been produced. It is also disappointing that the Government has dismissed our recommendations for holding schools to account through Ofsted inspection and untangling the confusing web of organisations, services providers and websites offering careers advice.

"The Government should think again on careers advice, take on board our Committee's conclusions and get its act together to produce a thorough careers strategy, which supports the needs of all young people and the economy as a whole."


The Committee is concerned the Government is not acting on the following conclusions from the report:

  • The Government's careers strategy is urgently needed and must include immediate steps to ensure all young people have  access to high quality information, advice and guidance
    It is also concerned the Government has rejected the following recommendations from the report:
  • Ofsted introduce a specific judgement on careers information, advice and guidance for secondary schools. The Common Inspection Framework should be amended to make clear that a secondary school whose career provision is judge as ‘requires improvement' or 'inadequate' cannot be judged to be 'outstanding' overall
  • All Government-funded careers initiative be brought under the umbrella of The Careers & Enterprise Company to provide a more joined-up approach to careers provision.

Further information

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