Minutes Of Meeting 18th November 2015

18th November

4th Youth Employment APPG Session




Chloe Smith (MP and APPG Chair)

Michael Tomlinson (MP)

Chris Green (MP)

Stephen Twigg (MP)

Ruth Cadbury (MP)

Laura-Jane Rawlings (Youth Employment UK)

Kenechi Eziefula (Youth Employment UK)

Yolande Burgess (London Councils)

Lin Proctor (Future Acadmies)

Alxander Lee (National Union of Students)

Caroline Williams (Norfolk Chamber of Commerce)

Bridget Gardiner (The Brokerage)

Lauren Mistry (Plotr)

Lilly Clifford (Plotr)

Tessy Ojo (The Diana Award)

Fahan Ibrahim-Hashi (The Diana Award/Student)

Paul Welch (Prospects)

Ruth O’Sullivan (Centrepoint)

Gina Bradbury (UCAS)

Harvey Morton

Ruth Carter (OCR)

Sarah Chander (UKCES)

Consolata Ndungu (UKCES)

Stephanie Sowesby (Task Squad/vInspired)

Rikki Garcia (vInspired)

Marcus Jamison-Pond (Walpole Media Group)

Rosanna Singler (Leonard Cheshire Disability)

Ornella Nsio (London Youth)

Francis Augusto (London Youth)

Gemma Hopkins (ERSA)

Peace Omorogbe (City Year)

Leo Watson (City Year)

Sarah Buckley (MIlkround)

Huwaina Amir (Milkround)

Helen Suffolk (Acorn Training)

Meg Pilgrim (Acorn Training)

Lloyd Ross (YEUK)

Chloe Smith MP

Minutes of last meeting – call to notify any updates

Asking Members to bring a young person or business colleague to attend future meetings, keen to ensure both young people and people from business are heard at the meetings.

Ask to write to MP and invite them to get MPs to join the group

Next meeting is on the 16th of November

Parliamentary News

BIS are leading an inquiry into the routes available to young people

Education and BIS Select Committees working more closely together


Skills Show 17th – 19th November in Birmingham

Inclusion Conference 24th November

Youth Employment UK Conference on the 1st December

ONS Figures

ONS and Claimant Count

ONS 14.2% down

Claimant 3.0% down


Laura-Jane Rawlings, Chief Executive Officer from Youth Employment UK

Landscape of careers education in England. See attached PowerPoint

The landscape of careers education has really changed over the last 5 or 6 years. In 2011 the education act came in, which reformed the way careers education was previously managed by schools. At that point we had a nationwide Connexions or Careers Service available for all schools to access, and they were duty bound to provide work experience and guidance through those service that were available to them.

In 2011 that duty changed, and funding was removed from the Connexions service, with schools given the duty to deliver their own careers education services, the idea that they knew their students better and could provide local information based on the needs of their individual students.

The duty upon schools is to provide impartial careers education for students in Year 8 all the way through to Year 11 pupils. Following the changes OFSTED did a thematic review of careers education in 2013, they found that out of 60 schools only 12 of the schools they assessed provided careers education at the level that was needed for students.

Youth Employment UK produced a report in 2015 following research with its young members and found similar. Even given the focus that came out of OFSTED and the DfE after that review, careers education has not seen the dramatic improvement that is needed to significantly help young people to make a successful transition.

During that time there has been an increase in long term youth unemployment, although we are seeing short term youth unemployment going down, those young people who are furthest away from the labour market are really struggling now to be able to progress.

There is a really open careers market, which is one of the concerns we have.  By removing the funding for Connexions lots of private providers were created. This created a logistical problem for schools to navigate – who is available and what services are available to them?

A select committee report last year found that careers education is really failing young people.

This year we have had investment of the DfE and The Careers & Enterprise Company who have been tasked with £20 million budget to produce a careers education service and infrastructure to help schools. Unfortunately, they can’t be here today, their priority is to create within the LEP (Local Enterprise Areas), a hub of careers and enterprise providers which will have 1 or 2 full time staff to help coordinate careers services with schools, with an emphasis on local employers offering volunteers, to help schools access local employers and activities for students.

Going back to my open market point, if you google careers education there are 125 million resources. When you are a 16-24-year-old who is desperately looking for employment and doesn’t have the support around them to help them, 125 million resources is just too much.

As an example, I spoke to one of our young members on Friday last week who has been looking for work in Manchester for 3 years. She is struggling every day, it is hard for her to find good information that is impartial and real, and she is not coping well. With so much information it is hard for her to identify who can help, where that help is, and what is impartial and real quality. To really illustrate the point [refer to slideshow] this shows some of the organisations that are around in the careers education space. On top of that, we have so many local societies, organisations, employers and schools creating their own careers information that even at a local level there is too much data for young people to navigate.

Our research (available on the APPG website) shows that 58% of the young people that responded to our survey had had a careers adviser at school or college. However, only 1% received advice on all their options. We found that some school careers advisers only gave advice on the pathway from sixth form to university. There are lots of different routes out there for young people, and there is a huge deficit of plurality of options given to the young people.

None of the young people who took part in the survey had been advised about traineeships.

All of the young people that took part thought that the education system needs to do much more.

The recommendations from young people in our survey are;

  • Careers education needed to be compulsory. They felt this was really important, particularly work experience, which many feel has been a problem.
  • Ensuring that all pathways are covered, including apprenticeships and vocational learning.
  • Inclusion of entrepreneurial skills in education
  • Providing opportunity to meet employers in a school setting
  • Young people certainly feel they need a greater understanding of the world of work and what to expect. One of the big missing things is making career hunting skills available and understandable.

Lin Proctor, Careers Lead at Future Academies

I am based in London, and am part of an Academy that has 1 secondary school, Pimlico Academy, and then 3 primary schools. We are in the middle of London with about ¾ of our pupils on free school meals.

Schools currently face so many challenges, and with the sharp focus on exam results, and implementing a vast array of curriculum changes, the non-essential element of careers advice is what often gets ignored. What can be measured is what gets done. This is completely true for careers advice and guidance, and it is interesting what young people have said there as well. So if it does work well in schools I think it is generally because of enlightened Heads and Governors.

Another issue for schools is a lack of clarity about what good looks like and a lack of vision about how to achieve that. Research tells us we must provide this careers advice to our young people.

I think this is where London Ambitions, which Yolande has championed, can make a difference, and this amazing piece of work here is designed to provide schools with a made to measure manual on how to make it happen.

How can we make it happen?:

  1. I believe this absolutely, you have to have the senior leadership team in school on board. And certainly a governor will help to shine the light.

2 You can start early. London Ambitions looks at KS2 kids getting involved. And that is something that we at our Academy certainly could do. A gentle slope of activity from primary school that gets steeper as our kids progress through secondary school.

  1. A key dictate in the London Ambitions report is the 100 hours of experience in the world of work. We the panel considered this closely and think at with all the options this should be easily achievable and I think that work experience can be great, but there are many other things that can give good experience.
  2. I have found that we are most successful when engaging with parents, this is the best way forward and is surprisingly not done enough.

A few examples, 1 from Year 8 and one from Year 12: Two weeks ago we went to the science museum courtesy of Shell, and they were launching an eco-fireworks campaign and invited our school to come. We did three difference workshops, fireworks, coding and making cars.

It was a fabulous day, the students were very engaged, it was an introduction to difference careers. Unsurprisingly what excited them the most was setting up fireworks, so lots of them my end up firework designers!

For Year 12 we were working with a team that really wanted to give back and help them understand financial matters. We had a small panel of students to help frame the workshops, to make sure it was relevant, who may have been interested in financial details. It did what it said on tin, and made them more financially aware.

The team that delivered the workshop first described their own education and career journeys. We were already told their professional routes, but the stories underlined it. It shows the myriad of careers options and job opportunities and pathways to large companies. That alone was eye opening for them.

What if we don’t do this? Successful careers advice can really make up for a lack of social capital and make a huge difference in assisting social mobility. Many young people in a school like mine simply do not have the social capital that they might have in other schools to do these things themselves, and if we don’t help them, they aren’t going to get help from home, as their parents do not know how, even if they want to help, nor do they have the large network to look to through their families.

My top tips are to develop proper plan, [recap of the numbered section previous].

We must collaborate with a wealth of organisations keen to work with schools, like London Ambitions.

I think that what schools don’t do well is that when you have a good relationship with a client, you have to work very hard with organisations and keep them as a client.

We have also looked at badging, so that young people know what they’ve done and the skills they’ve learnt, and also looking at an online portfolio so they can keep track of those skills.

It is not enough just to know what pathways they have but also to show them how to navigate them. At Pimlico we have a saying qualifications are essential but not enough.

What success looks like to me in this amazing city is that every child feels excitement, not dread, thinking about their future beyond school, that they are prepared and are engaged and excited to become part of the workforce.

So what can you do? Maintain a keen eye on this crucial and understated area. Should it be an OFSTED accountability measure? Yes if there is no CEIAG element then an outstanding OFSTED judgement should not be available.

Finally, we need to make sure that qualifications are not all that young people leave school with.

Chloe Smith: Thank you. Both of those presentation have given us more than enough facts to work on. I’d like to invite points from the audience.

Caroline Williams:  A question for Laura-Jane, about your research. One of the things we try and do is everything you’ve said, but it is very hard.

We try to get to know the actual heads of the schools, and all of them are very keen. What we find quite challenging is that when you talk to young people they talk about subjects and hobbies they like, schools talk about subjects, but businesses talk about careers and sectors and this is not the same language. How much do young people know what to use maths for?

LJ: Language barriers are a problem. Our research and others have recognised this. Some young people do go into an interview and find they simply cannot turn what they’ve learnt in school to terms the employer will understand.

Paul Welch: Yes language is problem, and there is a challenge for the teaching profession to look at their subjects and see how they can lead to wold of work. Initial teacher training does not cover this either.

LJ: There are many calls for teachers to have CPD. Many teachers now finish education then are bang back into classroom as teacher. There are some efforts to get teachers to get more training.

Many young people still do not have functional skills, even with passing C grades in Maths and English, according to a training provider that I have been having conversations with. Many come to them without those functional skills. These need to be focused on in school as they are much more relevant in world of work. There is a disconnect here.


Bridget Gardiner: I can second that. We work with a lot of corporates, in professional and financial services. We hear a lot that many of the young people have great CV’s but are not capable with functional English and Maths skills.

Steven Twigg MP: Even when they have the A-C in English and Maths? Extraordinary!

Acorn Training: We are just preparing students to have examinations in schools, not teaching them how to apply them, or the concepts which may be analytical, to the world of business. We are desperately lacking.

I rejoice when I hear about the opportunities from Lin. We have travelled from Derbyshire, constantly listed in the top 10 most deprived areas. It is hard to hear them labelled like this, and then the only opportunities for them are to travel out. Travelling out of their confines is very difficult for them.

We have engaged with nearly 1000 NEET pupils in a project with European Social Funding, and we have been very successful.

Problems are that many schools do not want us to come in as they are trying to get English and Maths lessons all done. There is such a high level of unemployment that nobody is raising the aspirations of the students. We try to get to talk to them about other opportunities available, but we can’t always give them the time for informed decision making that they all need, as much is done by teachers without a careers advisory background. I can see this from both sides. From the teaching profession and careers advice, that the education system failing on this. We are, Acorn Training, we deliver training from Level 1.

Chloe Smith MP: Can we get some young person input, from Youth Employment UK Ambassadors or others? Lloyd, can you give us some input on this, and some of the work you’ve been doing with Youth Employment UK?

Lloyd: I was lucky enough to get internship over summer with a company that works with Youth Employment UK, and am out of university.

I am doing report with Youth Employment UK on living wage report.

I would make a point that, in my experience, my careers education was totally surrounding tests. If it wasn’t on the curriculum, then it wasn’t going to be covered. If it was something like train time tables, this can be applied to real world, but it is just not. Everything is about tests and there is no real world accountability. I did want to go to university, but there were no other options available to me. I do think there are fundamental failings. I know I can’t speak for every young adult but we need to speak to young people as young adults, not patronise them.

Dianna Award YP: I have been volunteering with them since school. It is a youth focused organisation, so as I grew up I realised I was best placed to advise those young people coming up behind me.

I agree that we should bring in those who are working, so that successful graduates don’t disappear into the companies.

The Diana award does a lot of youth mentorship to raise aspirations, and a lot in the Lambeth area. Organisations themselves should encourage young people to become mentors. They are the ones who can advise young person to take the right careers paths, encouraging them that getting their A or B in Maths and English can lead to meaningful jobs, and getting them to help in their community. This is how I got to do more and this would be great.

UKCES: As a young Londoner, I was not able to get careers advice at school. Looking at Derbyshire, if we just focus everything on London, what happens to the rest of the UK? This is a risk. We have just learnt yesterday that there will be large administrations in the north, in Liverpool, agreements devolving skills to that level.

The key is engaging at the local level, and the national level, but focus on the local level with action on the ground. Knowing that all these services need to be delivered at the local level or else nothing will be changed.

Chloe Smith MP: And you think careers education should be something that should be focused on locally?

UKCES: Yes. We can’t just focus on London and have everywhere else be ignored. National is great, but there are local strategic challenges. London is very different to Manchester. London growing and changing cannot lead to everywhere being ignored.

Steven Twigg MP: I Second that totally, as I used to be London MP, and am now a Liverpool MP. Devolution deal point is important, as shaping the skills but also vocational education for the city region will be very important when it goes ahead.

Cities in general are motoring ahead, in the rest of UK there are challenges such as coastal and former industrial areas that are having the most problems at the moment. So we should focus on local areas, not just city regions. Many of the companies that London and Liverpool schools can get access to are more problematic for those from other regions to gain access to.

Paul Welch: It is good to focus on local area, but would be good if young people were entitled to access basic good quality professional careers adviser and guidance.

You need to be a bit lucky as it is a lottery where you go to school, but you should feel entitled to get this stuff. It’s not something that would be a good thing to have, but should be an entitlement to have.

Leo Watson: We recruit 18-25s to volunteer in schools to, get real experience of real world.

Find people that leave university and feel lost come to City Year and then see what it’s like to work in real world. On Fridays we give them training and mentoring from big companies, careers fairs and other such. Peace can talk more about it.

Peace Omorogbe: Volunteering for City Year gave me lots of experience, you get to do a lot with a number of different employers. I like that this is an opportunity young person can go to and gives time and support to build themselves.

Yolande Burgess: This may sound extraordinary from me [London Ambitions], but we need to understand that careers are global. We need people to understand there are lots of jobs out there that aren’t confined to the city.

We need to have national services, it shouldn’t be about where you live or go to school, and we, need to tell people about global opportunities.

It would not stem from a particular city or part of country. It should be essential component of what that national entitlement should be.

Chloe Smith MP: Need to talk about entitlement point. We know it is an entitlement, but it is about how you deliver it.

We need to focus on how to ensure every child has this entitlement to years of careers education between 5 and 18 that is successfully delivered by schools.

Ruth Cadbury MP: I’m a new Labour MP from Brentford, and was leading on women and low pay debate before I arrived.

I would like to speak from my own experience. For 25 years I was a councillor for Hounslow. From 2010 2013 I had a role for economic development and so on. I have a lot of experience, especially from the 80s when I was first a councillor, and find that this debate has not moved on at all!

The challenge of getting young people and employers to meet and match their expectations is hard, West London is no different.

We here in London, and West London in particular have unique challenge in that that many who work in West London borough do not live there, and vice versa. We need to get the young people onto the same page with employers, teachers and careers advisors on economic business partnership.

As a parent, in my experience, my sons did not see a careers advisers. So their aspirations matched my husband’s experience. My kids did A ‘Levels then went to university not because they really believed in that pathway, but because everyone, school and parents all told them to go to university.

The language and image that people receive is dominated by people who have had one university path background. It is not just parents, but teachers are mostly humanities graduates, as with broadsheet writers all write from their experience. So it is going to be very difficult to get message over to young people to show them that there are other alternate pathways.

Employers really want to join in and help employ young people, but do not know how to get in touch with schools. Employers, where do they come in, what level, find time where? When schools are little more than exam factories, well-meaning and committed head teachers want to help, but find no time and no space due to exam agenda.

As a result employers have to look very far and very wide. We have employers looking at skills gaps, and we have an aging workforce. In West London, there are many young people unemployed or on low-wage contracts. We struggle to find young people to get in and progress forwards.

All of these initiates mentioned can be great, but they are individual success stories. There is not yet a national strategy on this, which is where I believe we should work on.

Alexander Lee: On the point of helping young people on the language, to more broadly helping the understand the breadth of options.  I think that all the things we have been talking about shows the importance of keeping careers advice and education face to face, as this helps them have the opportunity to be talked through anything they don’t understand.

What we do see is that quite a lot are moving to online information, and this proliferation can lead to information overload. For young people who don’t understand these things it’s not helpful.

So if we do really want to help people understand what skills they have and fit into the language that will lead to getting employed, I think this type of careers advice should be looked at.

Laura-Jane Rawlings: Agree with sentiment, but when we had careers adviser face to face it wasn’t very good. We had high levels of unemployment with that type of careers guidance.

So stepping back is not always the answer. We need something new, like a careers entitlement for all young people, that brings in face to face for the students that really need it, but uses a mix of quality provision for all students so no one is left out.

It is about understanding the individual needs of our young people, to make sure the person providing it is quality and have the tools to deliver it, and deliver it better.

Stephanie Sowersby: I work for Tasksquad, a youth recruitment agency in London which has been around for a year. I meet 18-25 year olds every day to assess them for our recruitment agency, and put them into paid work, especially using the skills they’ve gained from their volunteering, and other employment history, to really highlight the skills they gained.

One of the struggles that we find young people have is that they know that experience they want, but struggle with job hunting skills, struggle to pick up the phone and talk to me as a professional, not being late to appointments as such.

CV builder is what we have developed, just to make what we do possible, because we could not send half the CVs we were getting. Even the people from the top Universities were handing were leaving university with appalling CV skills.

This needs to be tackled before leaving education, it needs to be tackled at school. There needs to be a look at the curriculum and emphasise email communication, instead of letter writing, as part of school curriculum, as we do not send letters any more.

Many young people do not understand the tone and how to sound professional via email. This type of job hunting skill needs to be looked at.

Peace Omorogbe: Just to add as a young person doing volunteering work, careers advisers only empathise on university and not voluntary work. Volunteering is not given the same level of credibility as an internship.

Paul Welch: Careers advice needs to be high quality, up to date with the market, developing their knowledge of the changing world of work, and capable. Face to face is not all bad, it still needs to exist.

Looking in the past, we have seen some is good, some is bad, but you can’t take face-to-face guidance away, as this would mean young people would not have opportunity to sit, reflect and talk to somebody who can help steer them through the myriad of options before them.

Helen Suffolk: However, we move forward, let’s have synergy between what the government initiatives are, the Wolf Report is fantastic at embodying real life business experience at everything we do.

We need to get all involved, right at the top, the LEAs, synergy right across should be the message going forward.

Prince’s Trust: On how are schools validated in ways of young people.

This means only university is prioritised. Anything other than university, apprenticeships, volunteering is seen as bad. For pupil that go onto university, schools see this as looking better.

What about incentive to get schools to give proper advice and open up pathways into sustainable work.

An issue is that, essentially, people do go from benefit office to work, then go back to benefit office. We need a long term solution. It is a frustrating thing to be in benefit office, to be unemployed.

Can we now try and give the young unemployed confidence and availability to seek out their options, otherwise there will just be a cycle?

When I left Princes Trust, I left went straight into an internship. Although I had done many previously, this one worked, as I had confidence from Princes Trust, as well as just knowing I could actually do it. After a month and a bit, I got a manager job, so I now run an office based in East London that supports 40 businesses. So, these real tangible things can be done, we just need to get schools involved to have the incentive to do that.

Chloe Smith: Thank you so much, that is a incredibly helpful point to end on. It puts me on mind of a report from YMCA was given in parliament the other day, about the way the work that the job centre does could be better tailored to what people say they want from their careers.

Today was a good conversation. It was very deep and wide ranging. Thank you to everyone who contributed and our speakers.

We will be sending notes and minutes to relevant MPs, reviewing how our first 3 meetings have went, and then will send out details for the New Year. Thanks for coming.

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