'I don't know where to find the careers adviser ... he has disappeared': the impact of changes to careers advice on 14-16 year olds in University Technical Colleges and schools

Recent policies in England have enacted significant changes to careers information advice and guidance (CIAG) and work-related learning (WRL). This paper offers insight into these changes from the perspective of young people studying engineering at University Technical Colleges (UTCs) as well as ‘comprehensive’ schools. Face-to-face CIAG was conspicuously absent from the young people’s decision to pursue engineering. Whilst they were studying engineering, the young people at the comprehensive schools had quite variable experiences of receiving CIAG and WRL. Although there were instances of young people receiving careers advice from teachers, careers advisors or employers, many young people had not received this input. As well as accessing advice from a careers teacher or advisor more frequently, the UTC students were also much more inclined to be explicitly positive about this advice. Many young people had positive work experience placements. They felt that the experience had given them a greater understanding of ‘what it’s like to be in a workplace’. However, not all students had such positive experiences. They told us that it could be ‘extremely hard’ to find a place, especially one related to the course of study. We relate the findings to the current policy context and implications for the UTC model.

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