Christine Hodgson, Capgemini UK ChairmanSecretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan has announced the establishment of a new employer-led careers advice company to be chaired by Capgemini UK Chairman Christine Hodgson (right). This will be in addition to Christine’s role at Capgemini.

In her statement to the Commons, Mrs Morgan said that, although the government has done a huge amount to raise standards in British schools, there is a need to improve the standard of careers provision. She acknowledged that “some schools and colleges are doing great things to ensure that their students access the necessary support, but too often provision is patchy.” Meanwhile, many organisations – including employers – offer excellent programmes for young people. “The challenge before us is how to ensure every young person in every part of the country has access to them,” she said.
 
She then announced Christine’s appointment. She said that Christine “has agreed to create and chair a new, independent company that will support much greater engagement between employers on one hand and schools and colleges on the other.”
 
The new company will act as an umbrella organisation to help employers, schools and colleges and other organisations navigate their way through the existing landscape. It will provide a vehicle to help other organisations coordinate their activities where appropriate. It will not itself be a direct delivery organisation, or act in competition with the many existing providers in the market, instead the new company will help schools, colleges, organisation and employers work together in partnership. The company will focus on the offer to young people, initially those aged 12 to 18. It will work closely with the National Careers Service (NCS), which will remain the mainstay of the government’s offer for adults.
 
The Minister said that it will be for the company’s board to set its own strategy but she envisaged that it will do a number of things:

  • It will use relationships with employers – private, public and third sector – to break down barriers between schools and colleges on the one hand and employers on the other, and increase the level of employer input into careers, inspiration and enterprise in all schools and colleges. It will do this partly through a network of advisors who will broker strong and extensive links at local level.
  • It will assist schools and colleges in choosing effective careers and enterprise organisations to partner with, including considering the use of quality marks.
  • It will stimulate more and better activity in areas where the current provision is poorest.
  • It will develop an Enterprise Passport to incentivise young people to participate in a wide range of extra-curricular activities that boost their appeal to employers, as well as their enterprise skills.

The government will support the new company with start-up funding in 2015-16, the cost of which will be met from the £20 million announced in last week’s Autumn Statement to improve careers advice and support for young people. Some £5 million of this will constitute an Investment Fund to support innovation and stimulate good practice across the country. In the longer term the company will be self-sustaining.
 
The Minister concluded her speech saying, [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.”

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