Impartial career guidance and the development of career management skills have a significant contribution to play in, not only helping to deliver inclusive economic growth, but also in equipping individuals of all ages with the skills to plan and manage their career decisions; now and in the future. The type of society we will be in the future is reliant on the choices that people make about their future.
How we and our partners support individuals to make choices, and to access the career information, advice and guidance that will lead them towards the next step in their career journey, is crucial. I firmly believe that the key to achieving this is having high quality career information, advice and guidance support available to people when they need it, regardless of age, circumstance or background and which is accessible to all. It should also be delivered in a manner that treats people with dignity and respect and helps them take advantage of the existing and emerging opportunities in the economy.
We start from a place where we have a career support system in Scotland which is regarded internationally as one of the best in the world, but we should continue to strive to further enhance what we do and how we do it. Career services in Scotland are delivered by a multitude of different individuals and organisations. It is a strength of the system that different forms of guidance respond to the different needs of users, whatever their age, in or out of work. However there is a risk of inconsistency of support and of people missing out on the help they need.
This strategy therefore sets out our vision for a world-class, professionally-led, aligned and flexible system of career information, advice and guidance services which delivers for every citizen, regardless of where they live in Scotland, their age or circumstance. A system through which citizens can expect a high standard of support that meets their needs and when they need it most, a system that is fully interconnected to ensure citizens access the right people and services which includes employability and skills support.
My ambition is for an approach to career support, employability and skills development that focuses on the needs of the individual first and foremost. A system that builds on an individual’s strengths and capabilities, is more joined-up and enables everyone to fulfil their potential. That is why we have also published Scotland’s Future Skills Action Plan to set out how we intend to meet our future skills challenge and why we are ensuring an employability system is put in place that is person centred and firmly focused on the individual’s journey into work. We are working hard to tackle child poverty by focusing resources on maximising family incomes, boosting life chances and helping build sustainable communities. At the heart of this wider reform is our acknowledgment that our approach will require more effective integration and alignment of all our career, employability and skills support and services. We must have the systems and approaches in place to recognise and address the wide range of decisions, and in some instances barriers, some people can face choosing their education or training options; when seeking to enter into employment; or progressing through their career or learning journey.
When developing our systems and approaches, we must genuinely collaborate to ensure we fully utilise the resources we have and target them in a way that will provide the greatest benefits to people who need them most. It is only through co-operation and collaborative partnership between organisations to align and target support that we will be able to help all our people fulfil their potential in a way which makes the best possible use of the public investment in this area.
We have developed this strategy collaboratively alongside a dedicated working group, and I am grateful to all those involved for their time, commitment, expertise and passion they have shown. In addition, I thank Dr Deirdre Hughes for her expert advice and positive challenge through the development of the strategy. I look forward to working in partnership with the career information, advice and guidance sector to determine the actions we will take collectively to deliver on the ambitions of this strategy.
Jamie Hepburn MSP
Minister for Business, Skills and Fair Work