Eastwood to bring forward Bill to improve schools' careers advice when Assembly returns

Alliance MLA Sorcha Eastwood has said she will bring forward a Private Member’s Bill to reform and improve schools’ careers advice when the Assembly returns, with the aim of providing specialised advice for all.

Education Sorcha Eastwood

As students receive A-Level results tomorrow (Thursday) and GCSE results next week, Lagan Valley MLA Ms Eastwood said the quality of careers advice primary and secondary students receive can be a lottery, with too much expected of teachers.

“Again and again I am hearing from students and teachers careers advice in Northern Ireland is not fulfilling its purpose and students are left without a clear awareness of what is available to them,” she said.

“Organisations in all sectors have also been telling me they believe many students do not emerge from school or further and higher education with basic career readiness skills.

“That’s why when the Assembly returns I will bring forward a Private Member’s Bill to ensure  consistent, independent and specialised advice is available to all primary and secondary students in Northern Ireland.

“I appreciate the Department for Economy commissioned a review of careers support for young people and adults last year and they are progressing with things such as an online careers hub and making more training available to teachers. However, a more fundamental overhaul is required.

“While many schools and teachers do a brilliant job in ensuring students have a wide range of experiences and understand the many career pathways that exist, it should not be left just to them, especially given the ever-changing world of work. While expansive and engaging online resources are crucial, it is only one element of a fit for purpose careers education. Experiential learning has to become more regular throughout education.

“I will continue my engagement with students, schools and organisations to understand what an effective and universal careers education system would look like. We owe it to our young people to make sure they are given all the information they need to make as informed a choice as possible about their futures. I want young people to be empowered to make the best decisions for themselves with all information possible as they start off on their journey of life and work."