Careers Service (Young People)

Part of Opposition Day — [20th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 7:53 pm on 13th September 2011.

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Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education) 7:53 pm, 13th September 2011

The hon. Gentleman is asking me to provide a critique on the state of careers advice in this country today. I will come to that, because his party’s record is not one of which he should be proud. The Labour party has just been in power for 13 years and the state of careers advice today is a consequence of what happened during those 13 years, not of what has happened during the first 16 months of this Administration. Hon. Members in all parts of the House agree on the importance of pupils receiving good quality advice and guidance to help them make the right choices for their future; that is particularly the case in these difficult economic times. We have recently seen a welcome reduction in the proportion of 16 to 18-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training—it has fallen from 9.4% in 2009 to 7.3% in 2010—and rises in the number of 16 and 17-year-olds in education. The youth labour market is also tightening, with unemployment for 16 to 24-year-olds who are not in full-time education growing each year from about 420,000 in 2004 to its current level of 671,000. The premium on achievement in particular vocational and academic qualifications demanded by employers and universities means that making the right choices becomes ever more important, and the consequences of making the wrong choices are ever more damaging.