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‘Postcode lottery’ in careers advice revealed

Access to careers guidance for young people 'is shrinking'
Careers guidance in schools - one-to-one advice

Young people’s access to careers advice is shrinking at a time when they need it most, a group of MPs are warning.

In a report released today, the Education Select Committee have condemned the government’s decision to hand responsibility for careers guidance over to schools as ‘regrettable’.

The committee said it had concerns about the ‘consistency, quality, independence and impartiality’ of the advice now offered to young people.

We’ve launched Which? University so that students considering higher education have free access to impartial information and can easily choose the right course and university for them.

Inconsistency between schools

Following the closure of most local Connexions careers services, schools and colleges are now tasked in providing all pupils aged between 13 and 16 with impartial careers guidance – a duty to be extended to cover those aged up to 18. But the quality of that careers guidance not only varies between local authorities but also between schools, the report found.

Which? agrees with the recommendations that schools should have to set out how they will deliver careers advice and for extra support to be provided by the National Careers Service, which at present only provides face-to-face advice for people aged 19 or over.

One-to-one careers advice

Higher university tuition fees, rising student debts and high youth unemployment mean the choices young people make when leaving school can have huge implications for their futures and finances.

Yet worryingly we found that over a third of young people didn’t access any one-to-one advice from a teacher or careers adviser when choosing which university to go to. Schools must ensure young people are getting the advice they need and the government must now act quickly to ensure that this year’s school leavers and university applicants do not miss out on getting the advice they may be in need of.

Which? research found that over a third of young people didn’t access any one-to-one advice from a teacher or careers adviser when choosing which university to go to. This could mean that up to 150,000 prospective students each year are making one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives without important information.

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