Local government leaders have called on Whitehall to hand funding and control of national skills schemes to local areas as they warn thousands of young people risk missing out on careers advice.
The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that the Government’s Careers Hubs scheme will only support 1,300 schools and colleges and only reach a ‘fraction’ of young people.
A Careers Hub is a group of secondary schools and colleges in the same area which work with local partners in the business, public, education and voluntary sectors to ensure that careers outcomes are improved for all young people.
Twenty hubs were launched in 2018 by the Government’s Careers & Enterprise Company and in May 18 more were announced, backed by a further £2.5m investment.
There are currently a number of organisations involved in careers provision in a community, including the Careers and Enterprise Company, National Careers Service, Jobcentre Plus, councils, schools and colleges.
The LGA called on the Government to ‘end the patchwork’ of careers activity in England and devolve control over employment advice to local authorities.
They argued that localised support would enable councils and combined authorities to develop an all-age careers service that would help reduce the number of young people – currently 800,000 – not in education, employment and training.
‘Two years ago the Government’s Careers Strategy pledged to provide an improved service that supports people of all ages. Instead, careers provision in England is becoming ever more fragmented and complex,’ said Cllr Kevin Bentley, chairman of the LGA’s People and Places Board.
‘Too many young people are not receiving the high-quality, impartial and personalised careers advice they deserve and this is a disservice to them. This leaves too many youngsters making unsuitable career decisions, which have a potentially devastating impact on their future.
‘Councils are best-placed to tackle this. Devolving careers advice, post-16 and skills budgets and powers to local areas, would allow councils, schools, colleges and employers to work together to improve provision and match young people with employment routes that actually exist within their local communities.’
A Department for Education spokesperson said: ‘We want to support all young people to make informed career choices. Careers Hubs are one part of a growing package of support available to schools and colleges to meet the Gatsby Benchmarks of good careers guidance.
‘Hubs work within The Careers and Enterprise Company’s existing Enterprise Adviser Network. Through this nearly 2,300 schools and colleges have been matched with a senior business volunteer to build relationships with students and introduce them to career opportunities.
‘The network is working: 94% of schools and colleges say they are happy with the support provided.’