ERSA welcomes the government’s announcement today of its long-awaited careers strategy. This is an essential plank in any attempt to stimulate social mobility in the UK. However, the details in today’s strategy are hardly radical, far reaching, or well resourced, with just three pages dedicated to the critical issue of supporting adults to progress in their careers. Given the UK’s low productivity and number of low level jobs, this seems a major oversight. Instead, it appears the government is wedded to its current strategy of Jobcentre Plus delivering careers advice to not only those out of work, but also school children and those looking to progress whilst in work. This is clearly careers advice on the cheap and not going to deliver the high skilled workforce the UK desperately needs.
We are also dismayed not to see mention in today’s publication of the Chancellor’s welcome announcement in the Budget of £8 million for ‘in work progression trials’, which must investigate the best ways people on low pay can be supported and not just be limited to the Jobcentre Plus regime. This omission brings into doubt whether we really have a cross-government strategy at all. Instead, ERSA calls on government to develop an independent, well-resourced in-work progression service which has links through to the sectors and leaders who can shape a modern, exciting service with which people and businesses actually want to engage.