Career guidance in schools is not fit for purpose – Ibec

System failing to meet the needs of people faced with changing world of work

A new model of career guidance is required which embraces lifelong learning and changing career paths throughout individuals’ lives, Ibec asserts. File photograph: Getty Images

A new model of career guidance is required which embraces lifelong learning and changing career paths throughout individuals’ lives, Ibec asserts. File photograph: Getty Images

 

Ireland’s secondary schools lack the resources to deliver proper career guidance to students, according to employers’ group Ibec.

Its review of the sector finds career guidance services overall are failing to meet the needs of people faced with a changing world of work.

A new model guidance is required which embraces lifelong learning and changing career paths throughout individuals’ lives, the group asserts.

The report says a specialist careers advisory service is required to supplement current school guidance provision.

‘Fragmented and inconsistent’

Ibec’s senior executive for labour market and skills policy, Kara McGann, said current career guidance provision was fragmented and inconsistent.

We have seen the departure of the job for life, the emergence of roles that never existed before

“It is not meeting the needs of people faced with a changing world of work, despite the commitment of careers guidance professionals,” she said.

“The world has changed fundamentally over the last two decades. We have seen the departure of the job for life, the emergence of roles that never existed before, and the loss of many unskilled and semi-skilled jobs to globalisation, digitalisation and technological changes.

“We need a new world-class model of career guidance which embraces lifelong learning and changing career paths throughout individuals’ lives.”

The report says a specialist careers advisory service is required to supplement current school guidance provision.
The report says a specialist careers advisory service is required to supplement current school guidance provision.

The report comes at a time when the Department of Education is carrying out a wider review of career guidance, due to be completed later this year.

Ibec’s report, Informed choices: Career Guidance in an Uncertain World, recommends:

A national strategy for lifelong career guidance to provide support for individuals throughout their entire lives;

More engagement by business with the careers services in schools and colleges;

A single national web portal for career guidance;

Labour market intelligence to be better tailored for use by career guidance professionals.

Ms McGann said better supports for secondary schools career guidance was particularly urgent.

The competition encourages third- and fourth-class pupils and their teachers to explore the world of engineering

“We need to supplement current provision with a specialist careers advisory service that works with school’s guidance counsellors,” she said.

“This would enable students to identify their interests, skills and competences, manage transitions and make the appropriate decisions to meet their needs time and again.”

Societal barriers

A separate report by Engineers Ireland finds most of its members feel career guidance counsellors, along with parents and teachers, can do more to break down the societal barriers to girls studying engineering-related subjects.

It has launched a young engineers award to help find the country’s most talented future engineers.

The competition encourages third- and fourth-class pupils and their teachers to explore the world of engineering by developing an engineering project that would help to improve their local community.

Schools are encouraged to invite local engineers, or sign up for a volunteer engineer to visit their classrooms to gain an understanding of the role of engineers in their communities and get feedback on their projects.