Written Statement - Publication of Future Ambitions: Developing Careers Services in Wales
I am today publishing Future Ambitions: developing careers services in Wales. This report is the outcome of a review of careers services commissioned in Autumn 2009. It encapsulates several months of intense evidence-gathering from major stakeholders in the careers education and information, advice and guidance field.
I would like to place on record my thanks to Dr Edwards, Professor Sanders and Dr Hughes for their diligence and insight in compiling this Report.
Future Ambitions describes in some depth the wide-range of careers services providers in Higher Education, Further Education, schools, colleges, Work Based Learning Providers, Jobcentre Plus, Union Learning Representatives as well as Careers Wales – a whole ‘family’ of careers services providers. The report analyses their inter-relationships and attempts to scope a more co-ordinated, better-led service that has a shared identity and a shared outcome – citizens who are able to make well-informed learning and careers choices and are aware of the services on hand to help them towards fulfilling choices.
The potential of this rich, but un-coordinated ‘family’ needs to be given a lead and a focus to develop a distinctive world-class careers service. Essential components would include: a unified Careers Wales; policy leadership for this family; a suite of accredited learning opportunities for the whole ‘family’; and a highly visible brand underpinned by a rigorous quality assurance system. Such a step-change might be capable of developing an internationally recognised, coherent careers service of which Wales might be justly proud.
This is an ambitious programme. It is not solely about structural change – it is also about providing citizens with accessible resources in appropriate formats; it is about creating vibrant labour market information that is meaningful to the user; it is about building effective bridges between educators and employers. The report, therefore, represents a medium to long-term strategy for delivering this vision of a distinctive world class careers service.
The report contains sixty detailed recommendations to provide a route map to this vision. I am able to sign up to the majority of them. There are some that are not technically possible; whilst others are not affordable in the financial environment in which we presently find ourselves. The attached table provides the way-forward on each recommendation. The present financial uncertainties preclude me committing to too rigid a timetable – but I expect to see real progress in place and will receive regular updates on that progress from officials.