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Report into Careers Service published 10 May 2007

THE Department of Education is carrying out a review of the Careers Service’s role after an independent report highlighted scope for improvement.

Prospects Services carried out a five-day inspection of the Careers Service in January at the request of the Department.

The inspectors met Department heads, Careers Service staff, senior teaching staff within schools and the Isle of Man College, employers and young people using the service, among others, and sat in on interviews between advisers and students.

Their report, containing 13 recommendations, concludes that while the services provided have good features, there are shortcomings in important areas.

Director of Education John Cain has been tasked by the Department to produce a strategy for the future of the Careers Service ahead of an action plan being drawn up.

Most young people benefit and learn from their contact with the Careers Service and take something away from consultations with advisers, the inspectors found. More go on to ‘positive’ paths after they reach 16 than in the UK. Advisers have a good knowledge of careers, routes and options for young people. The service gives good guidance to those choosing non-traditional career paths. However, ongoing support is insufficient, says the report.

The ‘mix’ of services offered by the Careers Service, concentrating as it does on individual interviews with Year 11 students, is insufficient to meet the needs of young people at different stages in their development, the inspectors say.

Positive activities for supporting careers learning are in place within the education system and include individual guidance, work experience programmes, teaching in enterprise skills and the staging of conventions to highlight employment and higher education opportunities. But the provision is not joined up and not all the activities are open to all, say the inspectors.

The Careers Service already works effectively with partners such as the Department of Health and Social Security and the Department of Trade and Industry, the report states.

But it says that overall, there is a lack of joint working and observes that better collaboration with other agencies would lead to an improved range of services for young people.

The Careers Service is managed by the Youth and Community Division of the Department of Education buts its wider accountability is unclear, the report suggests, adding that quality standards should be set for the service.

The report also criticises data-gathering and record-keeping but notes that the Careers Service is under resourced, recommending staffing is reviewed.

Education Minister Anne Craine MHK said:

‘There are some very encouraging comments in the report but also areas flagged up where we need to rethink our strategy to create a Careers Service which better meets the aspirations of our young people and the demands of the workplaces they ultimately enter.’

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