Butler challenges ministers

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Lisburn Councillor Robbie Butler has challenged the ministers for education, and employment and learning to invest in more careers guidance in schools.

“I call on the Minister for Employment and Learning and the Minister of Education to address this serious issue and implement an action plan to develop careers guidance in schools and colleges,” said Mr Butler.

“At Stormont, the DEL Committee has concerns about the place of careers provision in the wider economic development of Northern Ireland and questioned how it can be that, simultaneously, there can be a large number of young people leaving education with little prospect of employment, alongside claims from industry that Northern Ireland is facing a skills shortage that is jeopardising future economic growth.

“I must emphasise that there is much to praise about careers education, information, advice and guidance in Northern Ireland. But this foundation needs to be built upon as young people in our schools and colleges form the bedrock of our future economic growth.

“Individual teachers and advisers work tirelessly to advance the horizons, aspirations and prospects of those looking for productive and enriching lives, and schools, colleges and universities have widened out the options and visions for those who come through their doors beyond passing the next exam to moulding individuals who are work-ready.

“They also have a focus and confidence for where they see themselves in five and 10 years’ time. But we need to ensure those students are fully advised about the range of options available to them.

“I am concerned there could be a lack of joined-up thinking across the education and employment sectors to have a workforce that is ready for the economy of tomorrow. That is why I have issued this challenge to both Executive ministers.”