College principal welcomes drive to improve careers advice


Principal Judith Doyle has welcomed a campaign urging the Government to extend access to careers advice to all young people.

She said it was vital to have good quality, impartial advice available that raises the aspirations of all young people and ensures they are able to make important and informed career choices as soon as possible.

“It’s our most important responsibility to ensure our learners can successfully go on to secure work in a career that’s right for them, that matches their skills and fulfils their aspirations. 

“That’s why everyone must have the right to be able to find out about all the options open to them from an early age, to give them a head start on the road to career success.

“In order for this to happen, schools, colleges and employers must work together to provide the most objective advice, personalised to each young person.

“At Gateshead College, we pride ourselves on ensuring our advice is impartial; it’s not about making sure students come to our college but that they are well informed and can make a decision about what is the best option for them.

“That’s why it is crucial careers advice is made available to all; to ensure people get on the courses that match their skills and aspirations – and that’s why this initiative has to be welcomed.”

She also added that it’s crucially important to have employers involved in the process. “We’re actively working in partnership with many regional businesses to support the young people they employ with advice and measurable vocational training that meets workforce needs.”

Judith was commenting ahead of a follow-up inquiry into careers guidance by the House of Commons Education Select Committee. The dissatisfaction with the current level of careers advice has been expressed by a number of organisations and the Committee’s inquiry takes place 18 months after its initial investigation.

The move by the Select Committee comes in response to the Government’s position of diverting responsibility for careers advice to schools but not providing them with extra budget to carry out this task.

Gateshead MP Ian Mearns, who is a member of the Select Committee, visited the college to talk to students about their own experience of careers advice and knowledge of the options available to them when they finish their course.

His visit was organised to coincide with the deadline for written evidence for this inquiry and to promote the Association of Colleges (AoC) Careers Guidance: Guaranteed campaign. 

The campaign calls on the Government to ensure all young people have access to careers advice on post-14 education, training and employment options.

The AoC is asking for this to be achieved by schools, colleges, universities, Jobcentre Plus and local authorities coming together to form a careers hub in each locality to provide a one stop shop for advice about careers and training options.

Alongside this, careers education needs to be introduced and embedded into the curriculum to give children and young people the right grounding to make informed decisions and the right choice for them.

Helen Harnan, 21, from Ryton, is studying for a Level 3 Diploma in Business at Gateshead College. She said: “At school I didn’t get a lot of careers advice at all. I left with no idea of what I wanted to do and ended up on the Jobseeker’s Allowance for nearly two years.

“A friend recommended I come to Gateshead College. I attended an open event, spoke to a fantastic careers advisor and I’m now on the right track to a career working in events management.

“I’ve been given all of the information I need now on how to get to where I want to be, so I understand what I am doing and how I am going to get there.”

Ian Mearns said: “It’s been fantastic to come and speak to the students about their experiences of careers advice and guidance at school.

“What I’ve taken away from our discussion is the importance of independent advice and guidance for young people, so that they can make the right career choices and not the choices based on what their institution wants.

“Here at Gateshead College, the careers guidance team could not have higher praise from students.”