GCSE results prompt calls for reform

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Careers advice should be reassessed, not just exams, says Financial Skills Partnership.

With thousands of young people from Oxfordshire picking up their GCSE results last Thursday, there are calls for exams to revert back to O-Level or GCE-style exams.

However, according to the Financial Skills Partnership, there should also be changes in how young people are advised on careers to enable them to emerge into the world of work fully prepared.

A recent study by the Financial Skills Partnership and Career Academies UK found that young people don’t know enough about the range of options available to them when they leave school and college. The study, entitled Routes to Success, found that routes into careers are becoming increasingly complex, and young people are making ill-informed decision about their futures.

Liz Field, CEO of Financial Skills Partnership, said: “Our research has found that young people are ambitious but don’t always have the right guidance to channel them in the right direction for the future. In recent years, we have seen a wealth of options open up for young people who are thinking about the best ways of starting successful careers.

“There are so many opportunities now that it is essential that careers advisers know about all the routes available, so they can give independent guidance to young people. Financial Skills Partnership has created Directions (www.directions.org.uk) - a free online careers destination for young people to gain an insight into the financial sector and pursue career opportunities with leading organisations.

“Directions helps them to find out about opportunities in the sector, which includes everything from one day work experience through to full placements, apprenticeships, and school and college programmes. It is also accompanied by a range of outreach activities for those in education and careers advisers, where employers can talk about the work in their sector, and where young people from all walks of life can be inspired and may even find their future employer in the sector.

Liz continued: “What we need to see in local schools in areas such as Bicester, Henley-on-Thames and Oxford, is a system where clear and impartial advice is given to young people, taking in university as well as the other routes into professional careers. However, with recent changes to the careers advice landscape, this will create challenges. Young people need to be told where they should look to research their careers further. As well as this, businesses should also play a more active role, working with schools to build key relationships, visiting them regularly and talking about their particular industries.”