Last updated: 12.09.13

Awareness of apprenticeships and vocational training 'must improve'

UK schools may need to work harder at promoting the benefits of apprenticeships and vocational training to pupils.

This is the suggestion of a new report released yesterday (September 10th) by Ofsted, the official body for inspecting schools, which found that awareness of these career development options needs to improve, particularly at facilities where the A-Level path remains the "gold standard".

What's more, it was discovered that too few of the 60 secondary schools and academies reviewed were providing a comprehensive careers advice service - and this could be holding young people back from exploring employment opportunities more in line with their needs.

Commenting on the report, Katerina Rudiger, head of skills and policy campaigns at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said many employers in Britain are keen to engage with schools and, consequently, educational institutions that are not already doing so have the responsibility to open their doors to them.

She added that it is important to recognise there are wider systemic issues at play and greater investment is needed so all young people have access to an independent careers adviser.

"Schools should also be incentivised to embed careers advice and guidance into their teaching programmes via targets that measure this, not just academic exam results," Ms Rudiger explained.

The CIPD is currently running a Learning to Work programme that encourages HR leaders to provide local pupils with advice on CV and interview skills and, so far, around 2,000 professionals have signed up to volunteer.

According to Ofsted, the government should offer schools more explicit guidance when it comes to careers development and better monitor children's progress and journeys to employment.

The publication pointed to a lack of employer engagement in faculties, which it claimed is affecting schools' ability to "broaden [pupils'] minds about realistic employment opportunities in their local area".

Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said: "It is vitally important that young people have access to information on the full range of career pathways available so they can make informed choices about their next steps."