Poor Relations Of Europe

Careers Education And Guidance in England Is Poor

Careers Advice, Guidance and Counselling Systems in the regions of Wales, England and France

Successive Governments over the last 25 years of tears and cuts, have quasi-privatised, watered down, and dismantled a good, professionally trained Careers Service in England and Wales. And built a website. Such Cheapskates!

Sitting here in our Safe European Homes, we might easily find ourselves casting envious glances across the Channel, where Europe is as progressive, imaginative and integrated as ever.

I trained Careers Advisers at the University of Glamorgan during the Nineties. We were good. Alun Connick, and later John Talbot were part of an excellent team. No websites, social media or emails, mind. Plain old face to face contact did the trick, and not via Face-time, Skype or Google Duo, either. In the room.

The great men and women of our Careers Service in England and Wales, will be quietly despairing, turning in their graves, or Getting Angry. But, like The North, Careers Advice, Guidance and Counselling will rise again, from the withered grass and scorched earth of Austerity Britain. Our grass-roots make us what we are, define us as communities, and do good for our young people and adults needing help.

There are fears in Wales and the broader UK Guidance Community, that the contracting Careers Advice Guidance and Counselling Sector, could suffer further, as links with European Partners are cut.

A glance at last year’s study visit to the UK, hosted by Aspire International, shows you that already, the website for information on the host organisation, has been crossed out, somewhat symbolically, one might think.

The visits scheduled for 2017 shows that there were a decreasing number over the last few years, and that the focus of this year’s UK visit is very tightly focused. Any broader and the major problems now inherent in the English and Welsh Careers advice and Guidance systems would be clear for all to see.

Careers England and Careers Wales have nice websites, but who doesn’t these days. The Government’s National Careers Service website is nice too. Nice.

What they don’t have is specialist, professionally trained Careers Advisers. Wales has about forty. For the whole country. That works out at 1 careers adviser for every 75,000 people. My Maths wasn’t good at school, but that sounds like a lot of people, and not many careers advisers.

When I started work at Derby Careers Office in 1985, Derbyshire were Working Towards Nuclear Free Zones. Mr Corbyn would have liked it there. It was nearly 1983.

I recall my early weeks quite clearly. My Probationary Year was supervised by the fearsomely efficient Jean Pardoe, who went on to manage in Nottingham, a la Brian Clough, and I am fairly sure my caseload wasn’t 75,000. Not even when I finished my Probationary Year.

Mr Clough’s Nottingham Forest side might have pulled in 75,000 when they brought the European Cup back to the Market Square, but then they were the greatest football team in England at that time. Sorry Liverpool. And London. How many European Cups has London won? I may have some bias in the matter of football.

This is not intended as  criticism of the Welsh Government, but of policy makers over three decades, the Tory and Lib-Dem governments, and a simple lack of courage, vision or intelligence.

Most of the actual careers advisers have been dumped, as years of budget cuts have kicked a man/woman when down, and a trickling/watering down over twenty five years of an LEA Careers Service, which was once the envy of the world. Some moved into Higher Education work, and some set up as consultants. Most were lost to the profession. Some where just lost.

Connexions? What’s that? Note the X. A teenager’s game? An Ap?

Some individual schools, in parts of London, such as Camden and certain other areas of the South East, such as charities like CXK, do good work; I know some of the people who work in them. They trained as Careers Officers. Their European funding had already been cut by the Tory Government, even before Brexit, and given to private companies, or Consultants. Ah yes there are plenty of those.Some with me, back in 1984.

We must give all our people the skills and resilience to control their own careers, and lives. We need to learn how to make our own weather, and make sunny things happen. Europe is not coming back.The monster is coming over the hill, a rough beast, its hour come round at last. Yeats spoke of anarchy, when he wrote those words. Europe is shaping up to be a mess, thanks to the Brexit vote, and sadly ignorant xenophobia. We must survive what comes next. For our children. We the people.

A New York interviewer once asked the great Mick Jones of The Clash, what they were so angry about.

“Fucking everything!” spat Jones eloquently.

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