Commenting on the review of careers education and guidance in Northern Ireland, David Fry, CBI Senior Policy Advisor said: “Delivering a world-class careers education, information, advice and guidance service is vital to motivating our young people and raising standards, contributing both to their own career aspirations and broader social development, as well as contributing productively to the economy and society in general.
“We therefore strongly welcome the statement today from Ministers Farry and O’Dowd in relation to the Terms of Reference for their joint review.
“To equip young people with the knowledge they need, as we strongly identified in our recent “Evaluation of Education and Employer partnerships in Northern Ireland”, report there must be a sea-change in the quality of careers advice and understanding in schools, so they are more aware of the opportunities and rewards of working in key sectors which face skills shortages such as the IT and Engineering sector in Northern Ireland.
“That report made a number of key recommendations (see Editor’s note below) and we will be endeavouring to these see acted upon within this review.
“It is particularly welcome that, in the in the Terms of Reference outlined today, there will be an examination of the ‘need for a statutory mechanism to ensure consistency of approach and high standards of careers services across schools, colleges and universities’.
“In our view, such a statutory mechanism would embody the seriousness that the matter of careers advice and guidance should be given within our schools, colleges and universities – and this is something we have been strongly calling for some time.
“We very much look forward to engaging pro-actively with the Employment and Learning and Education Ministers on this review through the independent expert panel that they have set up – and the subsequent public consultation that will begin in the autumn.
“The business voice, as is recognised in the Terms of Reference, must be better heard in the careers advice and guidance debate as that engagement, through aspects like up to date labour market information, is fundamental to our economic success.
“This review, along with related policy changes in apprenticeships and youth training, will be key to giving our young people, and therefore the local economy, the best chance to succeed in the globally competitive environment that confronts us”