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Institution of Mechanical Engineers responds to calls for UK Government to improve careers provision

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Peter Finegold, Head of Education and Skills at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said in response to calls for Government to do more on careers advice:

“Careers education should be seen as a pillar of the industrial strategy, with schools and colleges nurtured as part of the core infrastructure. The UK has managed to function with a ‘poor relation’ careers provision in our schools, because any effects have been masked by the importation of people with manual skills and through the nation’s reputation for engineering as well as academic and research excellence. Following the referendum to leave the EU, we fear the weak careers advice will expose this gap that is add odds with our aspiration for upward social mobility.

“We support the Sub-Committee’s view that Ofsted introduce a specific judgement on careers provision, and reject Government’s position that this can be subsumed under other inspection standards. Until a school can hypothetically fail its inspection because it does not adequately provide good careers advice, school senior leaders will continue to meet a minimum standard. Equally, to lift the status of school careers in the eyes of teachers, pupils and parents, careers professionals working alongside teachers must have a relevant recognised qualification.

“Industry can offer real insight into the authentic experience of work and careers, but a balanced, personalised and impartial approach means we cannot simply rely on companies to be solely responsible for communicating important messages. And we cannot rely largely on the goodwill of companies and volunteers to guide the next generation of valued workers.

“Teachers play a major role in influencing young people’s study and training decision making, but traditionally were seen as somehow separate and aloof from the practical realities of what comes next. That is why the Institution of Mechanical Engineers created and developed the STEM Insights programme, in which teachers spend either five or ten days in industry, understanding how the business works and the breadth of routes into the modern world of work.”

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