Careers Service (Young People)

Part of Opposition Day — [20th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 7:15 pm on 13th September 2011.

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Photo of Andy Burnham Andy Burnham Shadow Secretary of State (Education and Election Co-ordinator) 7:15 pm, 13th September 2011

I thank the Chair of the Select Committee for his question. He calls for humility, but I acknowledged at the beginning of the debate that we did not get the Connexions service perfect and that we were prepared to work with the Government. I pay tribute to him in leading the Select Committee’s production of a very good report that comes to the right conclusions on this issue. It is possible for schools, with sufficient support, to provide face-to-face advice, although I do not think that he or I would want to go back to the days when the PE teacher or some other member of staff was responsible for giving careers advice and did not do a particularly good job of it. We need independent, good-quality, face-to-face advice.

There is an important point to be made about conflicts of interest. At 16, young people face choices about whether to go on to further education college or sixth-form college, or whether to stay at their school. It is important, in the highly competitive world that the Government are creating, that the careers adviser in the school should not have a vested interest in advising the young person to stay there if that would not be the best option for them. That needs to be thought through, but, without a transition plan, we have no means of judging what will happen. The Government have simply not provided us with any detail.