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Cridland calls for careers advice overhaul

CBI director-general John Cridland has called for an overhaul of careers advice in schools, with a focus on face-to-face, quality advice.

Speaking at the Festival of Education at Wellington College, Cridland will say every young person needs access to “quality advice” about career choices.

He will distinguish between “advice” and “a website”, and call for more direct communication around careers.

“Young people can access all the information they need on their smart phones,” Cridland will say. “It’s a steer they need. And the best information young people can get is from ‘test driving’ things firsthand.”

Schools need to have stronger links with businesses, Cridland will say, drawing comparisons with Europe.

“In Germany young people have multiple encounters with employers throughout their education, with even stronger links in vocational schools,” he will say. “And in Finland yearly work experience from ages 13 to 16 comes ‘as standard’."

Careers advice also needs to start younger, even at primary school, Cridland will say.

He will say: “Only about a third of firms we spoke to who engaged with schools have links at primary level and that’s not good enough. At secondary school young people need careers advice when they’re 12 and 13 – before they make life-changing choices about what to study.”

Cridland will call on the government to introduce vocational A Levels to “level the playing field” and to scrap GCSEs. He will also call for businesses to “lead by example”, by sponsoring academies, engaging with curriculum design or supporting employees who act as school governors, for example.