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Careers Advice

Volume 565: debated on Monday 24 June 2013

12. What recent steps his Department has taken to improve careers advice and guidance; and if he will make a statement. (160861)

Schools are legally required to secure careers guidance for 13 to 16-year-olds. That requirement will be extended to 12 to 18-year-olds in school, and to young people in colleges, from September.

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, more than half of employers think that young people lack career guidance and work experience. There are some very good voluntary schemes, such as Work Discovery, which I saw in action with year 6 pupils at Wendell Park primary school last week. Why are the Government not supporting more projects such as that?

It sounds like an excellent project, and I should like to do everything I can to support it, and other social enterprises and businesses, to help young people experience the world of work.

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of visiting a high-tech engineering company in Luton, and it was drawn to my attention, yet again, that we are having to recruit thousands of graduate engineers from abroad every year because we cannot train enough of them ourselves. When are the Government going to take real steps to encourage more youngsters to look for careers in engineering?

Our ministerial team, and, indeed, the superb team at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, take every opportunity to encourage young people to consider engineering as a career, but one of the problems we face is that the quality of the teaching of literacy and, in particular, numeracy and mathematics in science qualifications is often not good enough to give ambitious young people the chance to become engineers. That is why we are improving the quality of English, mathematics and science teaching, and reforming GCSEs.