Gordon has castigated Tory Ministers for their failure to deliver a proper strategy for careers for young people – responding to concerns of businesses at a Dods Labour Party Conference Apprenticeship event.
In his role as Shadow Apprenticeships Minister, he took questions from the business partners at the meeting, including about careers advice and how to engage a broader range of young people into apprenticeships. He called on the Government to deliver a funded universal all ages all stages careers service.
Speaking to the audience Gordon said: “We have consistently pushed the Government on this for the past few years, and despite plenty of warm words, a careers strategy is yet to appear. Anne Milton, the new Skills Minister was specifically pressed on this at the Apprenticeship APPG in the summer, but this strategy has still not appeared.
“From conversations I have had with businesses and young people across Blackpool, it is clear that situation is still in a dire state. The most recent Industry Apprentice Council Report for 2017 showed that the number of young people being encouraged to do an apprenticeship at school or college has actually decreased this year (down to just 21% from 24% in 2016). It also stated that careers advice in schools is still nowhere near good enough, with only 22% of survey respondents rating theirs as good or very good.
“Alongside the long-awaited careers strategy there needs to be a way in which we can improve the situation in schools and colleges rapidly. If Ofsted were to take a trio of steps and report not only on the adequacy of careers advice generally, but also the information available to students on apprenticeships and the work experience available that would be a strong signal for improvement
“That is why we welcome the calls for substantive careers education to be delivered throughout the National Curriculum, addressing a wide range of skills, not just careers. It is vital that young people in Blackpool get proper guidance from an early age so they know the vast range of options and opportunities available to them. That includes the options of traineeships, as we have pledged, as an official pre-apprenticeship programme”
Gordon also responded to concerns both from today’s apprenticeship forum and last night at the Apprenticeship APPG event with young apprentices to broaden opportunities for young women taking apprenticeships forward.
He said: “It’s disturbing that the recent public accounts committee enquiry has revealed too many variables in the pay that young women receive alongside other concerns about how helpful some of them are to giving those young women a decent entry into future careers. We would urge the new IfA and the Government to look seriously at ways in which young women from disadvantaged backgrounds could be given further support. This might include more targeted financial support and some good local initiatives with councils and stakeholders.”