All this week (7th – 12th March) is National Careers Week, raising awareness of the information and the opportunities that are available to support every individual on their career journeys.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused so much disruption in all our lives. As well as the devastating health impact, the economic fallout has been felt too, with significant numbers of people finding themselves out of work, on reduced hours or trapped in poorly paid and unrewarding jobs.
Often, and understandably, careers services are targeted at our teenagers at secondary school, whilst they are making choices about where to begin their career journey. Unfortunately, this often means that once they reach adulthood the need for career guidance and support can become overlooked.
As someone who didn’t go to university until I was in my mid-twenties (with not much formal education behind me prior to this), having access to good quality careers advice is something I feel people of all ages should have access to throughout their lives, whatever their age.
In contrast to the Tories, the labour movement is about fairness and equality of opportunity for all together with far greater equality of outcome. This requires help to change career, as well as starting out in employment, and continuing access to education and training.
This is why I am so proud of the particular work that our Welsh Labour government is doing with its careers advice services, available to those over 18, through Careers Wales and its Working Wales service.
It is so important that workers and learners are supported throughout their careers when they need it most. I believe that our services, in partnership with local authorities, education providers, trade unions and others, go far beyond what is available elsewhere across the United Kingdom.
This service provides an entry point to employability support, giving access to trained careers advisers. The service is extremely accessible to all, with a range of support available from writing CVs and covering letters, to practicing interview techniques and developing new skills, to providing specialist support for those in ill health or living with a disability.
The value in the service has really been shown over the last two years, with Career Wales supporting nearly 21,000 adults aged 18 and older through Working Wales. Beyond this, in the same time period, there have been a further 5,555 unique learners in adult learning. It is also fantastic to see that there has been an increase in the proportion of learning delivered through the medium of Welsh.
Further to this, the recent announcement of the expansion Welsh Labour government’s childcare offer will mean that not only will eligible working parents be entitled to 30 hours of childcare but now so will parents who are in education and training.
This expansion on the already generous offer, together with the above related policies, shows Welsh Labour’s real commitment to supporting career progression for everyone – something that is critical to ensuring we deliver a more aspirational and fairer Wales as we emerge from the pandemic.