Three in four schools fail to provide impartial career advice to their students, despite it being their legal responsibility, Ofsted has warned.
The watchdog's chief Sir Michael Wilshaw slammed schools for not doing enough to inform their pupils about career opportunities available. He said the new arrangements, which were introduced last year and made it the law for schools to provide effective guidance, were "failing".
"Our findings show that too few schools are doing enough to ensure all their students receive comprehensive advice about the breadth of career opportunities available to them," Wilshaw said.
“It is vitally important that young people have access to information on the full range of career pathways available so they can make informed choices about their next steps.
“It is worrying that the new arrangements are failing to provide good guidance or to promote vocational training options and apprenticeships. Given the high levels of youth unemployment, even amongst graduates, it is important the government, schools, local authorities and other agencies all work to improve the quality of careers advice in schools.”
The government was recently criticised by Barnardo's, who warned British youths are at risk of becoming a generation of aimless, career-less 'inbetweeners' because of government cuts.
"I would say the government is prioritising saving money over the futures of young people. Schools have not been given any extra money by the government to provide careers advice. They will have to find inexpensive ways of doing that, which will probably affect the quality."
Ashok Vaswani, Chief Executive of retail and business banking at Barclays described the report as a "wake- up call".
"We know that careers education has a direct effect on young people’s future job prospects.
"With business engagement identified as the weakest element of careers education today’s report is a wake-up call. Businesses can and should be playing an active role with schools in helping young people to start their careers and make the transition from education into employment.
"It is particularly concerning to see that the report found two thirds of schools have cut work experience provisions, when the LifeSkills Youth Barometer has shown nine out of 10 young people aged between 14 and 25 want work experience to be compulsory at school."
The report makes several recommendations including:
- The government provide more explicit guidance to schools on careers advice.
- The Government monitor students’ progress and achievement when they leave school through accurate collection of ‘destination data’ to give a better understanding of a young person’s journey to employment.
- The National Careers Service markets its services more effectively to all young people aged 13-18 and does more to disseminate information on national skills shortages so that young people gain a greater understanding of where there are likely to be greater employment opportunities.
- Ofsted also recommends that its own inspectors take greater account of careers guidance and students’ destinations when conducting future school inspections.