The ACEG Framework for Careers and Work-Related Education
In this article, Sue Barr, Immediate Past President of ACEG and a Director at Education for Employability, explains the rationale behind ACEG’s new framework for careers and work-related education. Sue explains how the framework was produced and how it can help fill the gap created by the removal of statutory duties to provide careers education for 11-16 year olds and work-related learning at key stage 4. Sue Barr has been an independent consultant for over 14 years, specialising in careers education and guidance, work-related learning and enterprise.
The Association for Careers Education and Guidance (ACEG) is the subject and professional association for careers professionals working in schools and colleges who manage and deliver careers education. Earlier this year, ACEG published on their website a new framework for careers and work-related education. ‘Not another framework!’ I hear you cry. Well yes, we felt that there was an urgent need for something to help careers professionals to develop their careers programme to meet the needs of their students in the current context. With record levels of youth unemployment young people have never before had a greater need to be fully equipped with the knowledge and skills to plan their future learning and to be able to gain and maintain employment. A good programme of careers and work-related education, along with impartial careers guidance will ensure that they will be able to gain and develop these knowledge and skills.
However, at the very time young people need it most, the Government has seen fit to remove the statutory duty for schools to provide careers education for 11-16 year olds and work-related learning for those in key stage 4. They have taken away from local authorities the responsibility for providing careers guidance, giving schools a new duty to secure this for year 9 to 11 students but without allocating additional funding to enable them to cover this. The Statutory Guidance and Practical Guide for schools which support this new duty point out the importance of a planned programme of ‘career activities’ in helping young people to use effectively the careers guidance that the school secures for them. There is, however, no guidance from government on what should be included or how the programme should be planned. However, the Practical Guide does refer to the ACEG framework as something which will help schools to review and plan their careers programme.
We know that careers professionals are incredibly busy with the day-to-day pressures of working with students and do not have a great deal of time to dedicate to developing a new programme from scratch. Most are using documentation which has been around for a while and may not fully meet their needs, or those of their students. The most recent guidance, produced in 2010 by the previous government was criticised as being too complex and unwieldy, so the new ACEG Framework is intended to be much simpler.
The most important principles in designing the framework have been to:
- make it easier for schools to design an integrated and coherent programme of career and work-related education and embed it into their curriculum;
- incorporate the familiar, tried and tested elements of careers learning (self-development, career exploration and career management) and the three dimensions of work-related learning (about, for and through work);
- highlight and address current priorities of raising aspirations, improving progression, challenging stereotypes and strengthening employability;
- reflect the latest thinking about how career and work-related learning can be effective by emphasising the need to promote young people’s self-efficacy and self-determination;
- take account of, and work well alongside other frameworks, in particular, the Blueprint for England which covers individual career development competencies.
Structure of the framework
The framework has 17 learning outcome statements grouped under three headings at each of four key stages (key stages 2, 3, 4 and post 16). The three headings are:
- self-development through careers and work-related education
- finding out about careers and the world of work
- developing skills for career wellbeing and employability.
It was written by a group of volunteers who came together to agree the main issues and overall structure of the framework. Smaller sub-groups then wrote the framework and some supporting guidance before it was put out to a number of groups for consultation.
By the end of this year, guidance and resources to support implementation will be available on the ACEG website.
The framework is available to anyone, not just ACEG members. I would be particularly interested in finding out what people think about the framework and how they are using it. Please get in touch by emailing me on firstname.lastname@example.org