Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said schools must give equal airtime to the non-academic routes pupils can take post-16, under government plans to end the ‘second class’ perception of technical and professional education.

A new law would see apprenticeship providers visit schools as part of careers advice from early secondary school, to talk to pupils about the opportunities open to them. It will also mean schools will be required by law to collaborate with training providers to ensure that young people are aware of all the routes to higher skills and the workplace, including higher and degree apprenticeships. The move follows concerns from ministers about careers advice, with some schools currently unwilling to recommend apprenticeships or other technical and professional routes to any but the lowest-achieving pupils – effectively creating a two-tiered system of careers advice.

At ThinkForward we work with the most disengaged young people across east London to ensure they transition from school to further education or employment. However, we’ve found that although such new laws are much needed, they must be met by demand. Young people need to first be willing to take these opportunities and make the most of careers advice. Which is why our early intervention one-on-one Coaching model engages disadvantaged young people over five years from the age of 13. We ensure young people are offered business mentoring, work placements, work insight days and skills workshops, including CV writing and interview practice to make the most of opportunities offered post-16.

To put this in perspective, 44% of people who began apprenticeships last year were aged 25 or over where as figures now show a fall in the number of 16 to 18-year-olds signing up – a 1.4% drop to 129,90. Which is why in 2015 we came up with eight Ready for Work capabilities, based on recommendations from research into the behaviours, mind-sets and skills employers across all sectors looks for in their workforce, particularly for entry level positions.

ThinkForward Managing Director, Kevin Munday said: “We welcome the changes outlined as we’ve identified through our Progression Coaching model how critical good careers advice and ongoing support can be in supporting a young person into a sustained career path. However we would like to see more guidance for schools to supported disengaged students with such opportunities.”



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