Kieran Gordon, Executive Director, Careers England

There is now a pressing need to flex the ability of the National Careers Service providers across England to work with those who become a new priority due to the impact of the pandemic on jobs: all adults at risk of redundancy and adults over the age of 24, who have, or will become unemployed as a result of a shrinking economy

“The evidence says careers advice works, so we’ll fund it, with an additional £32 million to recruit careers advisers and provide bespoke advice and careers guidance for over a quarter of a million more people.” Rishi Sunak

This positive affirmation of the cost effectiveness of careers advice by the Chancellor at the Dispatch Box is at risk of being undermined by the inability of the National Careers Service to keep up to date with the major changes to the economy and to jobs in the face of the pandemic in the way that it is allowed to respond.

The National Careers Service provides face-to-face careers advice to adults over the age of 18 in England by trained careers advisers operating through a network of Area Based providers across the country. The providers have welcomed the extra investment and the acknowledgement of the value of their work in terms of its cost-benefit to the nation.

However, the uplift to the NCS is in danger of being holed beneath the water line due to the insistence that it delivers according to rules that were set in pre-Covid times. Traditionally, the NCS operates on a 100% payment-by-results basis, evidenced through the achievement of verifiable outcomes resulting in customers accessing jobs or learning opportunities. The tariff is set to prioritise specific groups of individuals who have been identified as being most in need:

  • 18-24 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEETs);
  • low-skilled adults without a level 2 qualification;
  • adults who have been unemployed for more than 12 months;
  • single parents with at least one dependent child living in the same household;
  • adults with special educational needs and/or disabilities; and
  • adults aged 50 years and over who are unemployed or at demonstrable risk of unemployment).

People outside these groups, Non-Priority customers, can access the service at a much lower funding tariff for providers, limiting what can be done to help them. Whilst the above groups remain in need, there is now a pressing need to flex the ability of NCS providers to work with those who become a new priority due to the impact of the pandemic on jobs: all adults at risk of redundancy and adults over the age of 24 who have, or will become, unemployed as a result of a shrinking economy. As things stand these people will miss out and all the signs are that the numbers involved will be in the tens of thousands. Analysis from the Institute of Economic Studies (IES) shows that redundancy notifications by employers are running at more than double the levels seen in the 2008/9 recession, and with the end of the Job Retention Scheme scheduled for October it is likely that this will increase further.

By helping people now, in advance of them being made redundant, as well as those recently made unemployed, we have the best chance of making the Plan for Jobs work. Otherwise, we risk the NCS being overwhelmed by a surge in demand for services and an inability to meet that demand, due to the inflexibility in the system. It is understood that there is a nervousness in government to open up the entitlement to NCS help with the finite level of resource that is available, even with the additional £32 million uplift, and the risks to losing focus on young people by removing the 12 months unemployed qualification period for people over the age of 24. But that would be hard to explain to a 25-year-old who has recently lost their job, or indeed a 19-year-old facing redundancy who has to wait until they are unemployed before they can come for help.

Certain sectors of the economy are being hit hardest by the pandemic: travel, tourism, hospitality and retail. The fact that these sectors are shedding labour means a disproportionate level of unemployment from these sectors, much of this at lower skilled levels (though not entirely) and those recently unemployed are therefore in need of a new career direction as opportunities will be few and far between for some time to come. On that basis alone, it should be possible to design additional priority groups that are targeted to deal with emerging need and address any nervousness about the availability of NCS funding to meet it.

The challenge for NCS providers is clear and for them to meet this challenge they will need to scale up their operations by recruiting, training and equipping additional careers advisers. This is difficult to do when these costs are contingent on income that can only be earned once the outcomes have been achieved in a 100% payment-by-results funding regime, which can be many months after the work has been done, adding a strain on cashflows and a risk to organisational viability should there be a shortfall in outcomes. It is understood that the Treasury is firmly wedded to the payment-by-results model of funding this area of public service, and this is a condition that providers are prepared to work with.

However, without some degree of funding being made available for development and scaling of the Service there is a real risk of underachievement as the cart pulls the horse. This is not just about funding, it is also about reputation for NCS providers, who have an impeccable pedigree of quality and results: recent Ofsted inspections rate all NCS providers as Good or Outstanding; the only sector to have achieved this across the board.

Risks to reputation go much further than this. Clearly the Treasury, the Department for Education and Department for Work and Pensions are at risk of failure if the Plan for Jobs fails: notwithstanding the impact on the many thousands of individuals who will miss out on the help they sorely need at this time of crisis. The mitigations to these risks seem straightforward, but it requires a broader look at what is happening now and what will follow and the flexibility to respond urgently.

Kieran Gordon, Executive Director, Careers England                      

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Video Advert

Newsroom Activity

T Levels mark a revolution in technical education

They are a high-quality, work-focussed alternative to A levels for young people once they’ve completed their GCSEs. These new two-year courses are...

Effectively teaching entrepreneurial leadership...

As part of our core curriculum, all students in the two-year program take an Entrepreneurial Leadership (EL) class. The EL program at A is designed...

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page