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Labour pledges face-to-face careers guidance for every student


Britain’s careers advice service in schools will be given an extra £50m to guarantee face-to-face advice from trained careers advisers, Ed Miliband and Labour’s education spokesman Tristram Hunt will propose on Thursday, in what is being billed as an education manifesto ahead of the full manifesto due next week.

The money would come from a proportion of universities’ existing access and outreach spending that was imposed as a condition of being entitled to charge higher tuition fees. Universities are predicted to spend more than £700m on widening participation in 2017/18.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in 2013 described the current careers advice service as being on “life support”, with surveys suggesting four out of five schools are now offering inadequate careers advice.

A more recent Royal Society report last year found more than 90% of young people reporting not getting the information they needed to make informed decisions about their future.

The social mobility and child poverty tsar, Alan Milburn, has also repeatedly criticised the quality of schools’ careers advice, saying it has become a barrier to poor people aspiring to improve.

Labour claims its £50m will be used to ensure trained careers advisers are available to all school children, beginning at the age of 11, so they learn about high-quality apprenticeships as well as traditional university routes.

Hunt has said he wants a new vocational route through education and into the workplace with a technical baccalaureate, compulsory English and maths to 18 and an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the grades.

Labour has said it will protect the entire education budget in real terms, while the Tories have said they will protect the schools budget in cash terms. The Liberal Democrats have criticised the Labour plans for early years as largely a childcare policy, as opposed to a pre-school education policy.

At an event on Thursday Miliband will argue: “Young people must be equipped with the right skills, the right knowledge and the right advice they need to succeed.”

Hunt will promise: “Whether you want to pursue gold standard vocational education or a high-class academic pathway into work, Labour will make sure that you have the face-to-face guidance early on, so that doors are not closed off to you.

“Labour will ensure all young people can access face-to-face careers advice, with schools working in partnership with businesses, colleges and universities.”

It is argued some careers advice is now so poor, it is often delivered by school staff such as receptionists and teaching assistants without careers training or knowledge of vocational routes and apprenticeships.

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