Careers information failing young people with vision impairment

Careers advice for young people with vision impairment (VI) is a postcode lottery, research from Thomas Pocklington Trust and Vision Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research has revealed.

The research looked at young people’s experiences of Careers Education Information, Advice & Guidance (CEIAG) support in mainstream education in England since the national Connexions Service ended and the duty to provide careers education passed from Local Authorities to individual schools and FE colleges.

The inconsistent offer of CEIAG across mainstream school settings in England is leaving some young people in a vulnerable position without the necessary information, guidance and experiences to make informed decisions for their future. The research found careers support for VI children and young people provided in mainstream schools is insufficiently tailored to the individual, when compared to support delivered in specialist schools.

The disparity in specialist support is determined by school/college settings, in which local authority they are situated and whether they have an Education Health and Care Plan or not.

The research results combined an online survey of young people aged 13-25 who are currently receiving or have received CEIAG in the last eight years and a series of focus groups with Qualified Teachers of Children and Young People with Vision Impairment (QTVIs). The overall consensus from QTVIs was that the current CEIAG offer does not meet the very specific needs of students with VI and leaves them in a vulnerable position as they transition into adulthood.

Emma Cruickshank, Head of the Children Young People and Families team at Thomas Pocklington Trust, said: “This research is worrying. As well as the disparities across the country, the research shows how important it is to have tailored CEIAG support for these young people, which addresses their VI in a positive and aspirational manner.

“They need support to make realistic decisions for the future and are made aware of the different types of support available to help them on their chosen pathways.

“We will be looking to work with professional bodies and forums around this issue and challenging policy makers on the disparities of support across the country. We had some reports of positive experiences in careers support so there are examples of good practice to build upon.

“We will also create careers resources for both professionals and for children and young people and their families. And we will establish a calendar of careers events for children and young people with VI”.

The survey received responses from every government region in England and every year group from year 7-13 as well as those in HE or recently graduated.

Read the full reports: www.pocklington-trust.org.uk/ceiag

ENDS

For further information or images please contact:

Penny Wilkinson, Thomas Pocklington Trust, penny.wilkinson@pocklington-trust.org.uk 07974 578 637.

Editors’ Notes

About Thomas Pocklington Trust

Thomas Pocklington Trust is a national charity dedicated to enabling and empowering blind and partially sighted people of all ages to live the life they want to lead. We are committed to increasing awareness and understanding of their needs and aspirations, to working with partners and to developing and implementing services which meet these needs to increase independence and improve lives. These include:

  • Acting as an advocate and positive change agent for blind and partially sighted people.
  • Creating opportunities for blind and partially sighted people seeking employment.
  • Enabling opportunities and supporting blind and partially sighted people whilst in and entering education.
  • Facilitating the voice and encouraging self-determination of blind and partially sighted people.
  • Being an effective partner and grant funder based on our knowledge of the sector.

www.pocklington-trust.org.uk

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