State of the art careers advice, regretful students and apprenticeships

After the seemingly never-ending criticism of the quality of careers advice available to young people in the press, it’s very refreshing to hear Robert Halfon, the Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, hail the “state of the art” careers advice that colleges deliver. It’s worth quoting him further, “Whichever colleges I have visited the careers advice there has been state of the art. I cannot think of one college I have been to where the careers advice has not been excellent”.  At our Linking London IAG Practitioner, we have been discussing the possibility of producing a publication to showcase good IAG practice delivered by our partner colleges, and this will form an agenda item at the next meeting on the 27th of February. Here at Linking London, we know the fantastic work that college careers advisers in the partnership are engaged in and we regularly provide a forum at meetings for our partners to showcase their work with learners. To date, several potential themes have been identified. These include using destinations data to inform the college IAG offer, using labour market intelligence effectively, supporting the development of employability skills and working innovatively with partner universities to support career choices and develop academic skills. The College Careers Adviser strikes back or the Return of the College Adviser are working titles I’ve come up with for the proposed report, but I’m sure we will have some other slightly more sensible suggestions from attendees on the 27th.

On a related matter, according to a survey conducted by the Student Room that they have recently published a survey on their website, a significant number of students regret their choice of university and or degree. Of the 1805 students surveyed, 18% regretted their choice of degree, with the majority citing a lack of initial research as the main cause of their disappointment. Whilst it’s fair to say that the responsibility lies with the student to put the time and effort in in the first place. One practical way of trying to address this issue is to identify former college students (ideally from the same course), who have progressed on to HE, to come back to talk to current students about the importance of making an informed choice and putting the time in to do your research. Hearing it from the horse’s mouth as it were, from my experience, seems to make a bigger impression on students than any number of generic ‘why go to HE’ talks. As part of our new HEFCE funded NCOP, Linking London will look to work with former college students as part of the offer to participating colleges. For those of you interested in reviewing theories and practice regarding how we help young people to make career enhancing decisions, Anthony Barnes has written an interesting article on the CEGNET website. I particularly like the quote he highlighted, “We cannot guarantee that students will make wise decisions but we can at least help them to make decisions wisely”.

As ever there has been a steady stream of apprenticeship articles and announcements. Robert Halfon has announced that the Department for Education (DfE) is setting the public sector a target of recruiting 200,000 more apprentices by 2020. This follows on from Jeremy Hunt’s announcement that up to a 1000 Nursing Degree Apprenticeship (DA) starts are expected this September. It’s not clear at present how many of these DA nurses will already be in employment, for example, as health care assistants, and how many vacancies will be advertised externally which our college learners can apply to. At two of our recent qualification practitioner group meetings, I have presented on higher and degree apprenticeships, with a focus on the current picture for London in terms of actual vacancies. Using the find an apprenticeship vacancy search tool we found a grand total of 35 higher level apprenticeship vacancies currently being advertised in Greater London. Nine of these are Degree apprenticeship vacancies. Sam Murphy, our Graduate intern, has compiled a summary of these vacancies, including information on apprenticeship type, company, role, entry requirements, duration and qualifications obtained. If you would like a copy please visit the Linking London Partners' Area under qualifications – apprenticeships.