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Young People: Information, Advice and Guidance

Volume 713: debated on Monday 26 October 2009


My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (Ed Balls) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Today I will be launching a new strategy to transform information, advice and guidance (IAG) for young people.

Quality, Choice and Aspiration sets out our plans to deliver 21st-century IAG that reflects what young people tell us they want and is more accessible and relevant, reflecting a rapidly changing economy. In line with our plans to raise the participation age to 18, our strategy will set out our ambition for every young person to receive careers education to 18. The reforms that we are setting out today will make sure that every young person, whatever their background, can aim for the top.

Raising the quality of IAG requires a new approach, one that brings together young people, those working in business and older peers, because they are often best placed to provide an understanding of all the different types of jobs that young people might aspire to and the qualifications that they will need to fulfil their ambitions.

Children begin to think about their future careers at an early age, so our strategy will support schools and parents working together to nurture the aspirations of children and develop their strengths, whether they are practical, academic or both.

This generation of young people look to the internet for knowledge in most areas. This strategy signals a step change in online advice and guidance, so young people are able to access IAG on Facebook, YouTube, blogs and other social networking sites.

Reflecting our approach to 21st century IAG, the strategy will include a number of new proposals:

piloting approaches to teaching about careers in primary school and plans for primary schools to work with universities to give younger pupils an experience of higher education and the wider world of work;

provide support and resource for schools and parents to engage with young people from an early age to talk about career opportunities;

the ambition that every young person have access to a mentor—two new national mentoring champions will help to increase mentoring opportunities between schools, businesses and higher education;

more help for disadvantaged and disabled young people in accessing work experience so that all young people—regardless of their background, ethnicity or gender—can realise their full potential; and

a £10 million fund to support innovative ways of delivering careers education.

This strategy has been informed and influenced by the important report Fair Access to the Professions by Alan Milburn and his panel, which was published this summer. The plans outlined today build on Milburn’s report and take forward the majority of the recommendations relevant to IAG.

Now more than ever young people need access to good IAG. This strategy sets out our vision. It puts in place the building blocks for an IAG system that gives every young person the high-quality support that they need to release their talents, thus setting them on the path to success.

I am placing a copy of the strategy in the Libraries of both Houses.