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Schools not incentivised to take careers advice seriously, say business leaders

Business leaders are backing an MP's call for improved careers advice in schools. A letter written to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan by Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holdness, has been co-signed by The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), and EEF, the manufacturers' organization.

The general feeling amongst business leaders is that current career guidance is too weak. As Martin McTague, policy director at the FSB, said: "Schools are under a lot of pressure to deliver on a wide range of fronts, so it's not surprising careers advice has slipped down the priority list. But getting good, independent careers advice at the right time can transform a young person's chances of finding a career they love and fulfilling their career potential. We think this change will provide the nudge schools need to up their game - ultimately leading to better long-term careers advice for young people."

The letter calls for statutory guidance to be amended so that all schools are required, rather than

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only recommended, to work to obtain a quality award for careers advice, information, education and guidance that meets an approved standard determined by the Department for Education.

Stuart, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group for careers advice, guidance and information, states in his letter:

"The central problem facing careers education is that schools are not incentivised to take careers advice seriously. In our high stakes education system, school leaders will understandably prioritise those issues that will lead to serious consequences if they fail to deliver them. Careers advice does not fall into this category.

"Having made it compulsory for schools to meet an agreed careers advice quality standard, the appetite for high quality career guidance would leap among school leaders."

Without quality careers advice and guidance in schools, young people end up on the wrong courses and either in the wrong career or not in work at all, leading to a lifetime of unhappiness and big problem for the nation's economy.

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