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A call to provide equal access to quality careers guidance

5 March, 2019

It’s National Careers Week: a nationwide campaign that promotes good careers guidance in schools, colleges and universities, ensuring that all students in the UK are informed and empowered to make key career decisions.

Yet today if we look at the landscape, students are being let down all over the country. Schools and businesses alike across the UK are failing to provide equal access to quality career guidance. There are great disparities between different groups of students in the career support they receive, with those from the most privileged backgrounds that are able to afford career resources and industry contacts that are frankly out of sight and reach for those that are less advantaged.

All young people, no matter background, race or gender, should have access to the information they need on what opportunities are available and what tools they need in order to achieve their career ambitions. This should not be dictated by postcode, social background or what school an individual goes to or any factors other than a student’s ability, incentive and motivation to succeed.

In last year’s Bright Network survey of 3,000+ students, 40% of state-educated respondents felt their background could hinder them in getting a graduate role. Amongst BAME students, this number rose to 47% – which is simply unacceptable. We’ll be publishing our 2019 research this coming April.

A national strategy on career guidance must be put in place to iron out these inequalities of opportunity. Not just educators but businesses can play a crucial part too by putting diversity and inclusion at the forefront of their agenda, recruiting from a wider pool of talent at all levels to ensure the best talent breaks through.