The UK Government has set up a new governmental institution that aims at creating links between schools and businesses to provide youngsters advice needed to make informed career choices and prepare them for the rest of their lives. The new company that will receive £20 million start-up money will be led by Capgemini UK Chairman Christine Hodgson.
The UK Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan has announced the establishment of a new government-funded careers advice company that will aim at fostering links between schools and businesses and focus on careers education for those aged 12 to 18. “[The new company] will herald a step change in the quality of careers inspiration, advice and guidance provided to all young people – paying no regard to ability, interest or background. And it will help to realise our ambition of ensuring every child leaves school or college prepared for life in modern Britain,” says Morgan.
The company has been set up as a response to fears that careers advice has worsened since responsibility was handed over from local authorities to schools two years ago*. Morgan explains: “Some schools and colleges are doing great things to ensure that their students access the necessary support, but too often provision is patchy. The challenge before us is how to ensure every young person in every part of the country has access to them.”
The new body will not directly deliver careers, but act as an umbrella organisation to help employers, schools and colleges and other organisations work together in partnership. The body will assist existing providers to develop better careers guidance and coordinate their activities where appropriate. The company will work closely with the National Careers Service (NCS) and will not act in competition with the many the existing providers. The UK Government will support the new company with £20 million in start-up funding in 2015-16, a quarter of which will constitute an ‘Investment Fund to support innovation and stimulate good practice across the country’.
Capgemini’s UK Chairman Christine Hodgson has been appointed to chair the new company, a function she will take up in addition to her current roles. Hodgson joined Capgemini in 1997 and has fulfilled different roles, including CFO Global Outsourcing, CEO Technology Services North West Europe, Member of Group Management Committee, before she was appointed Chairman in 2011. In addition to her roles at consulting firm Capgemini, Hodgson acts as Non-Executive Director for both the Standard Chartered Bank and gaming company Ladbrokes.
* Research published on Wednesday 10 December 2014, by schools regulator Ofsted, showed that too many schools fail to give their students the information, advice and guidance needed to help them make informed choices and that apprenticeships are still seen as a ‘low status’ choice. Recent research by counterpart EY also highlighted the lack of information on alternatives to university given to students by their parents. According to the firm, this is the result of the combination of the lower importance given to these alternatives and the lack of easily found information.