1.       To review progress since the enterprise committee report 2012  :There are two set of data that inform a view of progress

Careers Wales Annual Destinations Survey – Providing a snapshot of the pupil destinations

·         The percentage of leavers entering Work-based Training (Employed status) has fallen for Year 11 since 2012, from 1.6% of the cohort to 1.3%. The percentage of Year 12 leavers entering this destination has also fallen, from 0.8% to 0.7%. However the percentage of Year 13 leavers has increased from 1.3% to 1.6%

Careers Wales Career Check Year 10 survey – 2016:- a survey providing a snapshot of pupil vocational aspirations at Key Stage 4

·         7% of the cohort indicated an interest in Apprenticeships as their first choice next step after year 11, compared to 43% school and 34% college

·         The most popular first choice occupational area of interest for those choosing  Apprencticeship as their first choice next step is “Engineering”. The next two top choices are “Building and Construction” and “Leisure Sports and Tourism”

·         74% of those interested in apprenticeships as their first choice were male

·         Respondents were more likely to be interested in an apprenticeship if they weren’t expecting 5+GCSEs at grade  C

2.       To scrutinise the accessibility of independent careers advice on apprenticeships and other vocational options. Particularly for young people in schools, on line or from another source


The accessibility of impartial Careers Information Advice and Guidance ( CIAG ) has been impacted by reductions in the  Careers Wales budget since funding support adviser time. In recent years there has been a reduction in service provision to pupils in schools at transition points. In an independent survey of recipients of services there is an overwhelmingly positive response to the Careers Wales offer. ( Beaufort Research )


·           In 2011, Careers Wales undertook an impact study with 3000 young people who had taken part in a Careers-related activity during Years 10 and 11. Of those who subsequently moved into apprenticeships, 95% felt they had made the right choice for them. Of those in an apprenticeship, 97% felt that their talk with a Careers Adviser helped (with 45% stating it helped a great deal)

·           In 2016/17 we supported 24,191 learners in KS4 (Year 10 and 11) through individual interviews. Careers Guidance ensures that the learner is aware of all options available to them – meaning that apprenticeships would be discussed.  We also delivered 2,027 group session in KS 4 – the majority of these would have focused on Post 16 options

·           Careers Wales’ strategic vision “Changing Lives”, proposes a strong digital presence that includes Skype and Telephone support, webinars, social networking and digital tools with a redesigned website central to this offer. The digital presence will be blended with traditional face-to-face support. Career Check  a diagnostic assessment, enables Careers Advisers to identify those who have expressed an interest in Apprenticeships, and to offer support. Opportunity Awareness Project - 2016-7 Careers Wales received additional funding for one year from Welsh Government to provide an additional focus on apprenticeships and work based learning as equal alternatives to academic study


·         Careers Wales delivered Opportunity Awareness group sessions in 235 schools ( including Special Schools and Units )  across Wales.  37,103 learners attended these sessions

·         Careers Advisers attended a total of 549 parent events this year. We recorded a total of 9,682 interactions with parents of pupils from year 11, sixth form or students in full time further education. In addition, we delivered 8 Parent Workshops across Wales

·         We organised 20 pop-up events, which were attended by 1,240 participants. organised outside normal office hours, these allow pupils to access information and advice about apprenticeships outside of the school environment

·         We organised  24 High Impact events with 11,826 participants. These events bring numerous schools and/or employers or others in one place at the same time

·         Additionally we organised a further 119 events with 11,022 participants. These included:

o   Webinars in collaboration with Airbus, Horizon Nuclear Power, and the NHS

o   An Apprenticeship Roadshow which visited 11 schools in In Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr order to raise awareness of Apprenticeships and other vocational routes

o   A Careers Festival focusing on apprenticeships at the Cardiff City Football stadium, attended by over 1,200 pupils from 29 schools across the region

o   Engineering Days in Powys, led by Apprentices from employers in the Manufacturing, Construction and Engineering industries who worked with pupils to raise awareness of apprenticeship opportunities

·         Careers Wales staff developed a number of resources for in schools. These included:

o   Development of Apprenticeship group resources to target young people in KS 5 who were not planning to pursue higher education as their next step.

o   Bespoke Opportunity Awareness workshops for young people navigating their options at 16

o   ‘Parent Power’ presentations and information packs, developed to raise parents’ awareness of all routes available to young people

o   Development of ‘Influencing the Influencers’ workshops for teachers and lecturers, aimed at building their capacity to raise awareness of a broader range of vocational routes


The Opportunity Awraeness Project proved to be extremely effectice and achieved alln of its planned outcomes


3.       Is the Careers Wales AMS fit for purpose?


·         Firstly, we would like to clarify that AMS is a WG product that is hosted by Careers Wales on our website

·         As anticipated, this year (2016-17 business year) has seen an increase in usage of the AMS site both for the number of users and the number of session as a result of marketing and activities delivered via the Opportunity Awareness Project:

Apr 16 – Mar 17 (15/16) Users:         347,576 (280,948); Sessions: 732,521 (657,826)

·         In response to requests from work based learning providers, the WG AMS team commissioned Careers Wales to develop a self-service option on the AMS site.  This allowed providers and employers to place opportunities, manage their vacancies, contact applicants and withdraw opportunities once filled

·         During the last financial year, in line with feedback from users of the service, WG commissioned Careers Wales to develop the AMS section of the website along with the application process, to ensure it was accessible for mobile users. This has now been achieved

·         There are benefits to having an online application process however the system needs to be simplified,

4.       How can parity of esteem between vocational and academic routes be achieved

·         Careers Wales conducted various surveys in 2014-15 to find out what influenced clients’ next steps after leaving education, particularly in relation to work-based learning (WBL) options. The surveys found the following:

o   Half of those who chose WBL did so because they did not want to stay in school or college, but for many of these this was for positive reasons, such as wanting to earn money whilst learning or because WBL suited their learning style

o   A number of clients perceive that staying in Full Time education is a “better” option and that this is a better route to Higher Education

o   Of those surveyed, more were likely to associate university rather than apprenticeships with providing good long term earning potential and job prospects.

o   Whilst the majority of clients had heard of WBL/apprenticeships, a significant number of respondents had not considered them an option on leaving education e.g. 43% of callers to CWC had not thought of doing a vocational route on finishing Yr11

o   There seemed to be a clear correlation between clients having sufficient information about WBL and whether or not they consider it as an option. 35.5% of callers to our centres and 45% of callers to Careers Wales Connect, stated that more information would have helped them consider vocational pathways, in particular apprenticeships and WBL, as a realistic and favourable option

o   Nobody indicated that WBL is a “negative” option i.e. for those who don’t do well in school

·         Vocational pathways are still struggling to acquire social status with “key influencers” on young people’s choice such as parents and teachers. The lack of awareness and understanding amongst parents of vocational pathways is concerning. A  recent report in The Guardian  “Why don’t Parents get Apprenticeships?” quoted a survey undertaken by the Association of Accounting Technicians, where 63% of parents surveyed didn’t understand apprenticeships and 81% didn’t realise that higher apprenticeships are on par with foundation degrees and in some cases even bachelor’s degrees.  A Netmum’s survey in 2014 reported that 48% thought Apprenticeships were for boys, 32% said they were for the less able and only 36% realised there are Apprenticeships in the less traditional industries e.g. law

·         In considering the results of our review and the work done as part of the Opportunity Awareness project, above, the following suggestions are proposed:

o  Explore the potential of setting up a multi-agency steering group, including SSCs, NTFW, CW & WG to inform and influence government policy and provide Careers Advisers with timely and accurate information on sector opportunities, career routes and WBL opportunities

o  Develop further group work and other resources for use with clients in schools, colleges and those in the labour market, with parents and with teachers/lecturers that explain and promote vocational pathways including WBL and Apprenticeships

o  Continue to develop the understanding of WBL and Apprenticeships with teachers and FE lecturers and raise their awareness of the labour market and recruitment patterns  

o  Continue coordinating careers events that include WBL provision, input from employers and include parents in their audience


5.       Main barriers to taking up an apprenticeship  -There is evidence that stereotyping has an impact in this context. Careers Wales Career Check Survey   provides  information relating to  Occupational areas of interest and gender

·         Apprenticeships are more appealing to males. Overall 74% of those interested in apprenticeships as their first choice were male. This is due largely to many of the occupations most commonly accessed via WBL having a traditionally perceived male bias which is reflected in young peoples’ careers interests e.g.

o   Motor Vehicle Trades (98.2% of those interested were male)

o   Engineering (94.6% of those interested were male)

o   Building & Construction (94.6% of those interested were male)

·         The same situation applies to occupations with a traditional female bias, but there are less of these occupations than those with a perceived male bias e.g.

o   Childcare (100% of those interested were female)

o   Hair & Beauty (94.9% of those interested were female)


·         Availability of apprenticeships is a barrier. On May 5th 2017, a prime time for labour market entrants from year 11-13 to apply for apprenticeships, there were 225 apprenticeships advertised on AMS.  That’s enough for 1 pupil per school in Wales.

·         Many of the large high profile companies offer Apprenticeships e.g. Airbus but the availability of apprenticeships with SMEs is limited.

·         A need to raise  awareness of apprenticeships and progression routes by parents, employers and learners.

·    Improved co-ordination between schools, employers, WBL providers and local community organisations to promote apprenticeships.

·     A lack of opportunity for many young people to take up work placements which provide a ‘taster’ of the world of work could be a barrier preventing them considering WBL as an option.


6.       How accessible are apprenticeships to people of all ages and disabilities

·         Careers Wales has limited data on accessibility. We actively promote equality of opportunity and have held Opportunity Awareness events in special schools as well as mainstream ones at present many apprenticeships are conversions of existing employees which limits the number of apprenticeships available.

7.       How can people from lower income families be supported to take up apprenticeships


·         If Child Benefit eligibility could be changed to include apprenticeships this may encourage their take up Apprenticeships are classified as employment rather than learning or training. As a result if a young person leaves education at 16 to undertake an apprenticeship the family are ineligible for extended child benefit (CB). 

·          Means tested travel bursaries could help. If a young person is earning £95 a  week they may have to spend £30 a week on travel without parental support. Staying in school, studying at a college that is closer, attending a traineeship where they have travel support or becoming unemployed could be more desirable for some young people in low income families

8.       What good practice exists and what more can be done to tackle gender  stereotyping  

There have been many projects and initiatives in the past that are well documented. A more proactive approach to this issue across all influencers is needed

9.       How can employer engagement with apprenticeships be improved


·         Our strategic vision, “Changing Lives is putting more emphasis on helping to engage businesses to support schools and young people to have better awareness of the changing labour market and opportunities that are available. The introduction of the  Education Business Exchange facility ( Employer Engagement Database)  on CareersWales.com populated with employers who are willing to provide young learners with different experiences of the world of work will support this.

·         Continue facilitating a greater involvement of employers in the provision of information about WBL to young people and parents e.g  Opportunity Awareness

·         We will continue to provide Career Check data for use on a strategic level by Regional Learning Partnerships (RLPs) to look at young people’s aspirations and how this correlates with the growth sectors and demands within a region.