CEIAG & Careers Leaders

Robert Halfon – An open letter about CEIAG

Robert Halfon - An open letter about CEIAG

Tuesday 9th August 2016

Robert Halfon was appointed minister for apprenticeships and skills shortly after Justine Greening was appointed Minister for education. Yesterday it was confirmed that he is to hold the remit for careers education and guidance in schools. Here is an open letter to him setting out my hopes for his term as minister in charge of CEIAG

Dear Robert

I hope you don't mind me calling you Robert, but I'm hoping that we'll have a lot to talk about during your tenure. First of all let me congratulate you on your new role, it's been suspected since your appointment that you'd be in charge of CEIAG and now it's confirmed.

Who am I? Now there's a question I've pondered long and hard... Ahh you mean why am I writing to you about CEIAG? Well, I'm somebody who has spent over 20 years running careers education in schools, I took early retirement due to hearing loss and didn't want to waste the knowledge and commitment to the importance of CEIAG that I have. So I've set myself up as a consultant to support schools who are struggling with delivering effective careers within the confines of the lack of funds. I'm on the council of the CDI, and the board of the Quality in Careers Standard. you'll come across them both pretty soon. Finally, and most excitingly for me, I'm one of the directors of National Careers Week. So without further ado, let me segue directly into passing on my thoughts about CEIAG to you.

CEIAG in schools - Turning the inspiration agenda into achievement.

Schools are struggling to provide good quality CEIAG in the face of receiving the duty to provide the service in 2012 but no extra money to do so. Add to this the fact that few schools actually have somebody on staff who really understands the intracracies of how careers education, which has its own pedagogy, fits in with the need for quality information and finally guidance to make sense of how the world fits together. It doesn't help that we've been awaiting a new statutory guidance since early 2016.

Many children in state schools have limited networks thus a limited idea of the jobs that are available to them. Thus the 'inspiration agenda' which was pursued under the guidance of Gove and Morgan has achieved a lot in terms of raising aspirations but has fallen short is turning that inspiration into achievement. Most young people are bewildered by the information they are receiving from so many different sources and need a proper careers education programme to support the development of career management skills that they will need in order to succeed in todays ever changing world.

In addition, access to a properly qualified careers adviser is often seen as an expensive luxury rather than a necessity to many schools, thus leaving many of our most vulnerable young people in the situation where they have no unbiased and knowledgeable advice at all.


You've long been a supporter of apprenticeships, you have your own and were party to the setting up of the HoP apprenticeship scheme that's great. Sadly, we live in a world where many teachers are labouring under the misapprehension that university as the only way forward for a bright pupil and apprenticeships are for plumbers and bricklayers. Parents too labour under the idea that apprentices are great, but not for my child...

Social mobility is on the agenda with the idea of grammar schools being back on the table. A more effective method of promoting social mobility in my opinion is to ensure a wide range of higher and degree apprenticeships AND to make sure that teachers and parents know about them and understand them. Many lower income groups will struggle to send a bright young person to university and support them, where a degree apprenticeship could lessen that hardship and ensure our graduate are employable.

My top 3 wish list of things that you could do to improve CEIAG in the UK

1) Make a Quality in Careers Standard Award necessary for ALL schools, a quick way to check schools are meeting their obligations.
2) Meet with the CDI and learn what a properly qualified careers adviser can do not only for the child but also for universities (the drop out rate is rising currently) and apprenticeship providers.
3)A training programme for all teachers in KS3, 4 & 5 to support their understanding of apprenticeships and how to communicate with parents about them.

Here's hoping you're the minister that turns inspiration into make it happen.

All the best in your new role

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