Digest 6

Digest of recent communications and publication received by NAEGA

Through membership of sister organisations and materials sent to us by members, NAEGA receives regular information from far and wide. This Digest is an attempt to make some of this information more widely available for members.

1. An Occupation in Harmony: The Roles of Markets and Governments in Career Information and Career Guidance (Sept 2002)

In a paper commissioned jointly by the EC and OECD, and prepared for the OECD review of policies for information, guidance and counselling services, W Norton Grubb concludes that the information society and learning age provide countries with opportunities to reconstruct both their education and training systems, and also their mechanisms of providing career information and guidance.

He argues that, in the past, careers information (CI) and career guidance (CG) have largely been an afterthought appended to vocational education and training (VET) programmes as it became clear that students needed both information, some forms of guidance - and sometimes more complex activities - to make educational and vocational choices wisely. "As a result such services have often been peripheral, subject to the whims of public financing, the first to be cut in recessions; they have only rarely been integrated into the mainstream of instructional practices." He goes on to say that increasing amounts of job changing, the demands of lifelong learning and (in the European context) the additional challenges of moving amongst countries, mean that peripheral treatment of CI and CG is inadvisable.

A copy of the OECD report can be found at www.oecd.org.pdf/M00034000/M00034003.pdf

2. Career Management Paradigm Shift - Prosperity for Citizens, Windfall for Governments

Canada is on the verge of a workforce crisis and in response a new career management paradigm is proposed, in a draft paper written by Phillip Jarvis Vice-President, Partnership Development, National Life/Work Centre, Ottawa. Canada's knowledge-based economy requires more highly skilled workers at a time when the workforce is shrinking and many people are under-utilised. The government is therefore spearheading a national campaign to:

  • Attract more youth and people from disadvantaged backgrounds to the workforce and give them the education and training they require
  • Retrain more adult workers
  • Attract more immigrants and help them integrate into the Canadian economy

Phil Jarvis concludes, "school-to-work transition and workforce development initiatives fail too many Canadians because career management skills do not receive the curricular focus that technical and academic skills receive. Career theorists provide clear and unequivocal evidence to demonstrate the need to imbed career management skills in all education and training programmes and services designed to help Canadians succeed in the employment market of the future".

'The Guidance Council believes that there are some very useful messages in this paper that are likely to be capable of direct translation to UK contexts' (Guidance Council Bulletin, Feb 2003)

A full copy of Phil Jarvis's paper can be obtained, on request, by contacting

3. 14-19 Green Paper - The Government's Response to consultation

The Government has published its response to the consultation on the 14-19 Green Paper. The response, entitled '14-19 Opportunity and Excellence' contains some interesting proposals for the development of CEG and the delivery of career guidance, but the approach appears cautious and may therefore fail to capitalise on the opportunity to substantially embed high quality provision in all schools.

Full details of the Government's response to the 14-19 Green Paper can be found at http://www.dfes.gov.uk/14-19/main.shtml

4. Future of Higher Education White Paper

The White Paper sets out the challenges facing the sector, including:

  • The need to expand to meet rising skills needs
  • The social class gap among those entering University remains too wide
  • Many of our economic competitors are investing more in HE
  • Universities are struggling to employ the best academics
  • Funding per student fell by 36% between 1989 and 1997
  • An investment backlog in teaching and research facilities estimated at £8bn
  • The need for stronger links with business and economy

Mr Charles Clarke, Secretary of State at DfES made it clear that widening access was a central part of the White Paper, and he re-confirmed the Government's commitment to its 50% target. It is anticipated that the bulk of the increase in degree student numbers will come from two year work-focused foundation degree courses. Further Education colleges, currently providing 11% of higher education, will have a major contribution to make. Raising participation and standards in the reforms of secondary and further education will be vital in improving access to HE.

The Government regards the new student finance package, alongside the transformation of university access and admissions criteria, as key components in its bid to widen and increase participation in HE. New financial arrangements will be introduced in two stages. Phase one includes:

  • A new grant of up to £1,000 from 2004 for students from households with incomes of £10k or less, with some grant assistance to those whose families earn up to £20k pa
  • The Government will continue to meet the full £1,100 cost of tuition fees for students with family incomes of up to £20k, with part payment for those whose family income is between £20-30k
  • The earning threshold at which students start to pay back loans will be raised from £10k to £15k from 2005. This will apply to all new students from this date and all past students who took out loans from 1998

In 2006 the Government will introduce a new Graduate Contribution Scheme that will allow Universities to set their own fees for individual courses. Top up fees can be set at anywhere between £0 and £3,000 per year and rise in line with inflation. However, they will be capped for the whole of the next Parliament and any rise above the current level of £1,100 will be subject to an 'Access Agreement'. No fees will be paid by students or families either before or during the period of study, with only an inflation linked rise on the deferred loan. In the long term, the Government sees promoting endowments as the right strategy but recognises that it will take many years for universities to build up substantial funds. In the meantime, it plans to help universities to build up endowment funds by promoting individual and corporate giving and creating a fund to give universities the incentive to raise their own endowment finance.

Full details of the White Paper can be found at http://www.dfes.gov.uk/highereducation/hestrategy

5. The matrix quality standard for information advice and guidance services

The Guidance Council has decided not to seek the guardianship of the matrix standard In it place the Employment National Training Organisation (EmpNTO) will be taking forward the guardianship of the matrix Standard for three years from April 2003.

NAEGA President Judy Alloway discusses these changes in the Spring issue of News and Views.

6. National Research Forum for Guidance

The Department for Education and Skills is supporting the Guidance Council in partnership with the National Institute for Careers Education and Counselling (NICEC) to consult the IAG sector on the design of a new national Research Forum for Guidance. The purpose of the Forum will be to:

  • Provide a strategically coordinated approach to IAG research
  • Develop a coherent research programme relevant to policy and practice
  • Act as a catalyst for the generation of research activity within an accepted framework of propositions
  • Engage a wide range of potential stakeholders in contributing to the development, design and implementation of research activity and to use research findings to inform policy and practice and to stimulate debate and thinking on key issues for IAG

All key stakeholders will be encouraged to participate in the consultation process due to start shortly. Consultation will take place via a questionnaire and during two events planned for early April. It will seek feedback on the vision and scope of the Forum; its objectives; structure; guiding principles; method of operation and all other important issues.

For further information on the Research Forum and consultation process, please contact Kate Hignett at the Guidance Council Tel: 07790 003305 or email

7. Death of Newscheck

Connexions National unit has decided to merge Newscheck into its making connexions newsletter. Newscheck over several years has carried 2-3 page papers and news items on guidance developments and careers education. making connexions features much shorter news items in a more staccato and colourful manner. It will be interesting to see how the newly merged newsletter will fare. The final issue of Newscheck will be published in March 2003.

8. hihhiho.com website updated

(See News and Views Spring 2003)

Bill Law has e-mailed to say that his website was updated on 20 February 2003. The changes include:

the magazine - The ŒMaking it Work section is building a collection of practical material on using narrative in careers work and citizenship;

  • the underpinning - now has more details of projects on locally managing networking careers work (like Connexions);
  • the memory - now includes a download-ready pdf on ŒNew Thinking for Connexions and Citizenship;
  • moving on - includes information about more forthcoming material on using narrative;
  • in general - internal links, browser-layouts and e-mail addresses work better now;
  • the home page - now offers a site map and other new ways of finding the material you want.

In addition the website includes More on theory, including an updated paper on DOTS.

9. New Project from Skill - challenges disability stereotypes

Skill: National Bureau for Students with Disabilities is launching a new two year project to research and promote access for disabled people to volunteering opportunities. Common media images show disabled people passively receiving help from volunteers. This project will turn these images on their head by focusing on disabled people who are keen to make a contribution themselves by volunteering.

The aims of the new Skill project, funded by the City Parochial Foundation, will be:

to identify and research good practice in involving disabled volunteers;

to develop a 'How to..' book of resources for involving disabled volunteers;

to develop a clear message to policy makers on effective ways to remove barriers to volunteering for disabled people.

Skill would be really interested to hear from any organisations who are currently involving disabled volunteers. Contact Alison Briggs, Volunteer Policy Officer at Skill, Tel: 0207 450 0646, Email:

Digest 6 prepared by Jonathan Brown.
March 2003