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Labour pledges compulsory careers advice and work experience

A Labour government would guarantee face-to-face, individual career advice for young people and make work experience compulsory.

The party’s education manifesto says that if Labour wins the election, young people will be offered independent and face-to-face careers advice by professionals trained to give information and guidance on both academic and vocational qualifications.

The advice would aim to signpost vocational and technical qualifications more clearly.

“This will support more young people to make the right choices about their future, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds who can lack the networks and prior information often used to access opportunities and progress,” the manifesto claims.

The proposals would cost £50 million and be funded and supported via a partnership between universities, schools, colleges and employers, according to Labour.

The party would also make work experience compulsory for all young people between the ages of 14 and 16, to better prepare them for the transition from school to work.

“More needs to be done to embed character education across school curricula and deliver opportunities for young people to access the workplace skills and experiences that help them make a successful transition from school to work,” the manifesto says.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “Young people must be equipped with the right skills, the right knowledge and the right advice to succeed.”

ISS CEO: Make work experience mandatory

In a separate interview, facilities management firm ISS UK's CEO Richard Sykes told HR magazine that there are major “gaps in the work experience piece” of the education system.

He said: “[Policymakers] should look way back into the curriculum and make it mandatory that young people do work experience. You need to create that bandwidth in the curriculum to enable them to have some work experience.”

He added that he would like to see work experience initiatives start younger, with 12- and 13-year-olds going into businesses. “Then you learn what business life is about and when you leave school you know what you’re walking into,” he said.