Nic Dakin MP

Standing up for Scunthorpe County Constituency

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Too often, many young people leave school unaware of all the choices there are when selecting the right route for their chosen career.  Apprenticeships, technical education and training, A Levels, university…the options available can be confusing and daunting for a 16-year-old ready to take the next steps towards their future job.

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The underlying problem is that there is inadequate careers advice and guidance available. Previous research from the Association of Colleges has shown that young people primarily get their careers advice from their parents and teachers who, with the greatest respect, often do not know about the full range of opportunities available to young people today. 

Last year, there was some movement from the previous Government on this issue, with the announcement of new legislation to ensure that schools would allow other providers of education and training to talk to their pupils about the range of opportunities open to them.  Since then, however, the plans seem to have been shelved.

Today I will be announcing a Ten Minute Rule Bill in Parliament called the Careers Advice (Access to Schools) Bill which seeks to ensure students at school are provided with high quality, impartial careers advice on all post-16 options available to them. It will require schools in England to provide access to their premises and pupils to representatives from post-16 education establishments and others providing guidance on careers, training and courses.

Careers advice is an ongoing problem that has been identified by a range of organisations over the years as an issue that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.  Last year, for example, the Commons Sub-Committee on Education, Skills and the Economy published its report Careers education, information, advice and guidance.  The report recommended that Government policy should incentivise schools to bring their careers provision up to a high standard and to hold them to account when they fail to do so, with a schools Ofsted rating downgraded if careers provision is not effective. Without incentives such as legislation or the threat of an Ofsted grade reduction, schools, particularly those with sixth forms, will continue to not provide the impartial and informed guidance needed for young people. Employment bodies such as the CBI stated in their 2015 Education and Skills survey that ‘careers guidance in schools is not good enough’, with more than three-quarters (77%) of businesses in the UK  saying that careers advice was not good enough to ensure young people made their most informed decisions about their future career options.

The  recent Industrial Strategy Green Paper identifies some of the challenges around careers advice.  If the Government wish to see the aims of their Industrial Strategy fulfilled, it is essential that careers guidance is at the centre of their approach.

The importance of reforming the current offer of careers advice is absolutely critical. For the Government to realise its ambition on apprenticeships and technical education, young people need to be made aware of all their options (whether academic, vocational or technical) post-16. To do otherwise, we are risking our next generation of workers.

Careers Advice (Access to Schools) Bill

Too often, many young people leave school unaware of all the choices there are when selecting the right route for their chosen career.  Apprenticeships, technical education and training, A Levels,...

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An MP has many different ways to raise issues and campaign for things to change.  And there are no shortage of people encouraging us to do this or that.  Constituents, local businesses and other organisations head a list that includes professional lobbyists as well as amateur enthusiasts.  One mechanism is the ten minute rule bill – a slot of prime time in the House of Commons on Tuesdays and Wednesdays where an individual MP can speak for 10 minutes on a particular issue without interruption. Theoretically a colleague can speak against, though this rarely happens.

Occasionally there is a vote.  When there is a speech against and/or a vote it’s really a bit of theatre to draw more attention to the issue as both Government and Opposition front benches usually stay out of the vote which the Government has no obligation to take any notice of!  Theoretically the ‘Bill’ will then be listed for further consideration on a sitting Friday though everyone knows it will never be debated again before finally falling off the future agenda as this session of Parliament concludes and a new Queen’s Speech sets out the Government of the Day’s next chapter of legislation.  So why does any MP bother with a ten minute rule bill at all?  More particularly why have I claimed the slot on 28th February to go through the rigmarole of preparing a draft bill and accompanying speech? 

I have presented two previous ten minute rule bills.  In both cases I worked with outside bodies so that my bill was part of a wider campaign.  I worked with the charity Sue Ryder on the first bill which sought to exempt hospices from certain VAT costs.  This was accompanied by various other pressures on Government including parliamentary questions and meetings with ministers.  Although the bill went nowhere a measure was incorporated soon after in to a Government Bill to make the very changes in the law that my bill was looking for. 

Likewise with my bill to give 16-18 year olds who attend colleges the same right to free school meals as those that attend schools sixth forms.  After working with the Association of Colleges, using my bill as part of a strong cross-party campaign the Government changed the rules so that students attending colleges like John Leggott and North Lindsey in my constituency are no longer discriminated against in their entitlement to free school meals. 

My bill next week will argue that colleges should have access to school students in their schools to talk to them about the options available.  For the last 6 years we have been going backwards in the quality of careers information, advice and guidance available to our young people.  Sadly some schools put barriers in the way of their students learning about options other than their sixth form.  This is not in the students’ interest and it is not in the country’s interest.  Hopefully the Government will be listening again and will before very long adopt my latest ten minute rule bill into law.  And by doing so they will be benefiting young people across our great country!

My article for the Lincolnshire Reporter February 2017

An MP has many different ways to raise issues and campaign for things to change.  And there are no shortage of people encouraging us to do this or that.  Constituents,...

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I am encouraging local schools to compete in the UK’s largest youth model rocket competition – The UK Rocketry Challenge.  Schools can register now for the chance to win an all-expenses-paid-trip to the Paris Airshow.

This week in Parliament I joined the winning UK secondary schools from 2015 and 2016, to find out how schools in Scunthorpe can become this year’s champions and perhaps even the next generation of rocket scientists. 

The UK Rocketry Challenge involves the design, build and launch of a model rocket with the aim of ensuring the passenger - one raw egg - remains intact throughout the launch and landing. The rocket must reach 775 feet with specific target flight duration of 41-43 seconds. Rules governing the competition are altered every year to ensure designs can’t be repeated.

The national final champions win an all-expenses paid trip to Paris, to represent the UK in a fly off against teams from the USA, Japan and France at the Paris International Airshow in June 2017.

The UK Rocketry Challenge provides students a unique opportunity to apply what they have learnt in science, technology, engineering and maths and gain highly valued skills. The competition is a great chance for students to apply their skills creatively whilst also having a lot of fun.

GO SKY HIGH WITH NATIONAL ROCKETRY COMPETITION

I am encouraging local schools to compete in the UK’s largest youth model rocket competition – The UK Rocketry Challenge.  Schools can register now for the chance to win an...


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