Careers guidance needs professional staff and recognition

Government needs to ‘properly recognise the value of careers professionals’ says UNISON after minister’s speech on service strategy for England

The government needs to “properly recognise the value of careers advice and the careers professionals who deliver it,” UNISON said today after education minister Robert Halfon said he wanted to “raise the profile and prestige of career guidance”.

Mr Halfon, a minister of state in the Department for Education whose responsibilities include skills and careers advice in England, was speaking on the government’s careers strategy at Westminster Academy school.

Responding to the speech, UNISON head of education Jon Richards pointed to “well-documented evidence that shows that careers services help people to achieve successful and fulfilling lives and make a critical contribution to a successful economy and a cohesive society.”

He said that independent guidance from a fully qualified careers professional is essential, adding that being a careers adviser is a complex role.

“It needs specialist knowledge, professional training and the maintenance and development of skills and knowledge throughout their career,” he added.

Welcoming signs that the government is planning to announce its “much-delayed” careers strategy for England, Mr Richards said UNISON would be looking for a universal careers service that:

  • delivers impartial information, advice and guidance for all;
  • is properly resourced with a stable funding system;
  • is delivered by qualified careers professionals with necessary expertise.

UNISON will also be working with the University of Derby to research how moving responsibility for careers guidance from local authorities to schools in 2012 has affected the service.