Saving the crop – why England needs National Careers Week

Guest blogger Janet Colledge explains the need for cross pollination:

For those of us in the sphere of careers education and advice, it’s been a very rough ride into the 21st century.

In the past 16 years, we’ve moved from local authorities having careers service departments via Connexions to the school-driven ‘patchy service’ that the media is so fond of telling us we have today.

Whilst some careers professionals dream of the return to the days of secure employment in careers service departments, we must accept the bitter truth of the probable future. The Government are extremely unlikely to put its hand into its pocket and give councils the money to reinstate the careers service. This has left many of us concerned for the young people that our schools are educating now and wondering what we can do to support them.

Our ‘crop’ of young people ready to enter the workplace was never more in danger of failing.

Schools were suddenly responsible for CEIAG from 2012 but the support they were getting from Connexions was either available, but no longer free to the school, or was just no longer available as the Connexions service had been closed. Demand for support for schools was soaring in the face of a two-pronged dilemma:

1 – The Government had given the responsibility to schools to deliver CEIAG but no money to pay for it.

2 – Most schools had nobody on staff that had expertise in the CEIAG arena or knowledge of how to commission support from private contractors. This led to many schools making poor choices in support services.

The Caterpillar

National Careers Week (NCW) had been started in response to the 2012 action of putting schools in charge of CEIAG, but had struggled to fulfil the need that was apparent.

Over 1600 schools and 90 Universities had taken part by putting on activities during NCW2016, however the infrastructure wasn’t there to run NCW as a profit-making company and last spring, the company that had run NCW went into liquidation.

The Chrysalis

NCW had a strong group of supporters who believed in it, but who could see that the impact of NCW was hampered by lack of funds and support.

Realising that the liquidation could mean the end of NCW, a group of individuals came together with one aim: to take over the running of NCW and make it bigger and better.

They felt that they could move forward to support schools in their legal obligation to provide pupils with careers information, advice and guidance in a more structured and professional manner. So, they set up a company to buy the rights to NCW with their own money and have worked tirelessly over the past 9 months to make NCW bigger, more effective and most importantly free to use for schools.

Their strong ethical bond ensures that they choose their sponsorship partners carefully to ensure the quality of their services. Their objective is to convert to a community interest company and reinvest any profit they make into new resources and services.

The Butterfly

The new National Careers Week website now offers many new resources for schools, including a booklet designed to impart must-know information for all kinds of school staff, with sections for the SLT, Subject Leaders, Teachers and Teaching Assistants as well as leaders of careers departments.

In addition, it includes lesson ideas, PowerPoints for assemblies, posters, graphics and resources.

What’s more, there are plans for more resources, activities and services to come over the coming months.  They want to, as their websites says, ‘Make every week careers week’.

The Incubator

The team behind NCW are all professionals in their areas and committed to one thing, young people getting the support they need to make the transition from school to the workplace.

They are now joined by a team of volunteer ambassadors who offer their time and expertise to support schools, colleges and universities in their local area to celebrate NCW and more importantly, provide quality CEIAG for all.

Find out more about
National Careers Week,
and how your school can take part,



Written by Janet Colledge, Careers Education Consultant

Follow Janet on Twitter @CareersDefender


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