Chief Executive, Policy Connect
Professor Siobhan Neary
Professor of Career Development Practice, Head of the International Centre for Guidance Studies at University of Derby, and Fellow of the Career Development Institute
The Covid-19 pandemic brought into sudden and sharp focus the impact that a world in constant change will continue to have on the way we live and work.
Current challenges for England’s workforce and career trajectories include the reduction in the EU migrant workforce as a result of Brexit. Young people and adults in the UK need to move into jobs in sectors which used to be supported by a strong cohort of migrant workers, such as agriculture and health and social care.
Expanding skills to address challenges
Sectors such as construction and engineering have persistent, long-term skills and workforce gaps; and automation is set to impact the global economy in ways that will affect millions of people, possibly causing them to need to change jobs or gain new skills.
Additionally, the climate crisis presents the greatest challenge, including our ideas about how society, the economy and the labour market should work. An adequate global response will require billions in funding and significant changes to how we reconceptualise our careers to effectively navigate learning and skills which will help us thrive within an evolving world of work.
Guidance helps people manage their life, learning and work and can unleash people’s potential — bringing enormous benefits to the economy by addressing our current skills shortage.
Providing access to career guidance
In 2021, Policy Connect undertook and published research on England’s careers information, advice and guidance system. It found that, to meet the challenges arising from this continuous change, the system needs to become a truly all-age national service, where all the constituent parts work together coherently without gaps or unhelpful overlap.
This means professionally delivered career information with advice and guidance which is well-informed by the local labour market, well-advertised and easy-to-access and suits people with a range of needs and preferences.
To support this, the Career Development Policy Group (CDPG) argues that everyone in England should have access to lifelong career guidance. Guidance helps people manage their life, learning and work and can unleash people’s potential — bringing enormous benefits to the economy by addressing our current skills shortage.
Flexibility in the labour market
Once individuals leave education, they often do not know where or how to access career support. However people need guidance on career development and support for career change throughout their working life if we are to realise a truly dynamic labour market and enable people to re-skill as new areas of the economy emerge and different skills are required.
Where career guidance operates well, it supports the effective functioning of labour markets and skills alignment, bringing economic and social benefits. Policy Connect and CDPG are working together to help create a vision for how to develop a skills system fit for 2030, underpinned by career guidance.
Policy Connect and CDPG are working together to help create a vision for how to develop a skills system fit for 2030, underpinned by career guidance.