Students have their say on careers advice

Stockton students have been given the chance to have their say on the careers advice available to young people.

Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North, visited Stockton Riverside College to speak to students from the town’s two colleges about their experiences of careers advice and their knowledge of the options available to them.

The MP is part of the House of Commons Education Select Committee, the panel currently tasked with carrying out a follow up inquiry into the issue.

By expressing their views the students were adding their voice to the Government’s future decision-making on careers advice given to students post-14.

“There are no people more important to talk to about careers advice and guidance than young people who are on the receiving end of it,” said Mr Cunningham.

“I was keen to hear their views on what they think of the service, what they believe will improve it and what messages they would have me take to Westminster as we again scrutinise the Government’s approach to it.”

He said: “I know that whilst some schools and colleges provide a focussed and valuable service, in others it hardly exists. By listening to young people I hope I can influence the Government through the Education Select Committee and get the improvements the young people want and rightly demand.”

The event coincided with the Education Committee’s deadline for written evidence for the follow up inquiry into careers advice services.

It also came as the Association of Colleges relaunches its Careers Guidance: Guaranteed campaign, calling on the Government to ensure all young people have access to careers advice on post–14 education, training and employment options.

Joanna Bailey, Principal at Stockton Sixth Form College, said: “The lack of an effective, impartial and independent careers service impoverishes the aspirations of young people and blights their life chances.

“Our young people deserve to be fully informed about all the opportunities on offer to them but too often it seems that the information they receive is selective, out of date or inaccurate.

“We are fortunate to have a local MP looking into this issue.”

Stockton Riverside College Principal, Phil Cook, said: “This has been a great opportunity for our students and students from Stockton Sixth Form College to be able to put across their views and concerns to our local MP.

“There is little more important than choosing the right career. Careers guidance is a vital part of any educational process.”

The House of Commons Education Select Committee follow up inquiry into careers guidance for young people follows a report, published by the Committee last year that warned careers services were deteriorating and unless urgent steps were taken would continue to do so.