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New Directions

Just the other day I blogged about young men and their lack of a sense of passage to adulthood.

These quotes from Andrew Adonis’ review of the economy seem appropriate.

“As well as too few apprenticeships on offer to young people in the sectors of the economy which are growing, quality is a major issue. A survey by the government found that fewer than half of apprentices said they received any off-the job training and only 70 per cent received training on- the-job.

Remarkably, almost one in five apprentices said they received no training whatsoever during their apprenticeship. This is despite the fact that the minimum standards for publicly funded apprenticeships – as set out in the specification for Apprenticeship Standards in England – require employers to provide training both on- and off-the-job.
This lack of training is a particular issue in the apprenticeship frameworks which have seen significant increases in take-up in the past few years. Around a third of apprentices on Customer Service frameworks, and a quarter of those doing Business Administration, received neither on- or off-the-job training.”

Young people receive precious little guidance worthy of the name.

The provision of careers information and guidance for young people has been substandard for generations. Recent changes have made this worse by shifting the responsibility entirely on schools without ensuring they have the resources and leadership in place to make this work.
Since September 2012, secondary schools have been responsible for “securing access to impartial and independent careers guidance” for pupils aged 13-16. This duty was extended to include pupils aged 12 and 16-17 from 2013.
Since the recent changes, the quality and level of careers guidance has fallen dramatically:
• The Education Select Committee’s 2013 report stated: “We have concerns about the consistency, quality, independence and impartiality of careers guidance now being offered to young people… Urgent steps need to be taken by the government to ensure that young people’s needs are met.”
• Ofsted’s 2013 review found that: “Only about one in six of the schools visited offered individual career guidance interviews by a qualified external adviser to all their students in Years 9, 10 and 11. A quarter of the schools did not use qualified external advisers at all.”
• Only around 1 per cent of teenagers have used the new National Careers Service (NCS) phone line or website.
• A survey by Careers England of their members showed that only one in six schools had the same level of investment in careers activities as they did a year before and not a single school had increased investment.
Many schools lack the capacity to organise the broad range of careers activities which young people need.

Jon Cruddas began a recent speech as follows;

Now, I’ll begin with a story
One that dominates the philosopher Jonathan Lear’s brilliant book ‘Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation’.
It is about the Crow Indians.
A story about what happens when the economy of a society is destroyed and a people’s way of life comes to an end.
It was told by their great chief Plenty Coups , shortly before he died
He said, ‘When the buffalo went away the hearts of my people fell
to the ground, and they could not be lifted up again. After this nothing happened
What did he mean?
That the culture that gave their life meaning and purpose died.
The whole fabric of their beliefs and standards was destroyed and this
loss was irreparable.
What would come next?

I couldn’t have put it better myself. Cruddas may not have all the answers, and Adonis certainly hasn’t but Cruddas at least has the diagnosis right. And if you think it’s just a problem for policy wonks, read this superb article by Owen Jones. There is a golden thread that runs through all these articles, that for too many of our young people that golden thread that was meant to guide them through the maze to adulthood has been unravelled, leaving them lost, frightened, angry and despairing.



3 comments on “New Directions

  1. jemima2013
    July 2, 2014

    I read Cruddas’ speech after you recommended it, but nothing sums up the dilemma we face as a society as well as that last paragraph


  2. Sula
    July 2, 2014

    The best thing that can happen for the ruling elite is that their control of the media ensures that young disaffected men are demonised and stereotyped as ‘innately’ violent, lawless and lazy. Oh look, its already happening and they’ve got the liberal intelligentsia and what passes for ‘feminism’ backing up their message. God help them when the lawless young get organised and politicised.


  3. Zarathustra
    July 3, 2014

    I’m quite shocked to hear that one in five “apprenticeships” don’t involve any actual training. Doesn’t that basically make it a McJob in all but name?


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This entry was posted on July 2, 2014 by in Uncategorized.

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