National Careers Service must provide proper guidance for the many, not just the few - Twigg and Marsden

5 April 2012

Stephen TwiggStephen Twigg MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, responding to the Government’s launch of the National Careers Service, said:

“High quality and accessible information, advice and guidance is crucial for making sure that all young people know of the opportunities open to them. We know that providing the right support can make the difference in young people determining their future pathway. Proper information, advice and guidance should not be exclusive to young people from better off backgrounds. The Government has to ask itself if it thinks that its plans will ensure proper guidance for the many, not just the few.

“It is important that we recognise innovative, high quality, low cost solutions. That does not mean relying so heavily on online systems. But instead, the Government should learn from the excellent examples being pioneered by organisations like Future First and by schools across the country, who draw on alumni to inspire and raise aspirations.

“But announcements like this today do not address one of the most pressing issues facing Britain and that is the youth unemployment crisis. With over one million young people not in education, employment or training, young people want to see the government taking action on jobs and growth. Labour has put down its marker in the Jobs Guarantee. In failing to deal with this crisis, the Government is showing just how out-of-touch it is with the needs and aspirations of young people across the country."

Gordon Marsden MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Further Education, Skills & Regional Growth, said:

“With unemployment now at a 17 year high of 2.7 million, including 1 million unemployed young people, it is more vital than ever that people can access high quality careers advice to improve their long term employment prospects and help them find work.

“But the Government’s failed economic policies, cutting spending and raising taxes too far and too fast and choking off growth, which has flatlined since the 2010 spending review, have meant that there is a lack of jobs for people to go into. Labour’s five point plan would give a one year National Insurance tax break to all small firms taking on extra workers, and would repeat the bankers’ bonus tax to fund our job guarantee for young people out of work for a year.

“Having abolished the careers advice structures which existed under Labour without a proper replacement, there are now concerns that the Government’s new All Age Careers Service is being put at risk of failure because it lacks the resources it needs to get off the ground. This could have lasting implications for young people’s access to career opportunities. Numerous surveys have shown the crucial role which good careers guidance plays in raising people’s awareness of the options available to them, in particular vocational opportunities.”