Connexions facing overhaul

by Joy Ogden

The Connexions service is expected to be would up in its current
form under proposals to be published in the forthcoming Youth Green
Paper expected at the end of February.
The £450 million a year advocacy, guidance and careers service
for young people is likely to be fundamentally overhauled , with
Connexions’ funding transferred to schools and colleges and
Children’s Trusts, it is suggested by sources close to

The service was launched in 2001, as a one-stop-shop for
teenagers, offering advice on education and careers, also personal
issues such as health, relationships and housing, in a bid to cut
the numbers of disaffected youths.

Connexions announced recently that it had exceeded its target on
reducing the number of young people not in education, employment or
training (NEET) by 10 per cent, having achieved a 14 per cent cut

But some critics say it has concentrated too heavily on
targeting support for socially excluded young people, at the
expense of its remit to offer careers guidance for all

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads
Association, said that Connexions was ‘doing a good
job’ with disaffected young people, and he would like to see
that part of its work – using the same people – transferred
to Children’s Trusts under the management of local
authorities. The funding for careers advice should go to schools
and colleges so they could buy independent careers guidance from
outside and provide careers education in schools, he says.

He adds: “We don’t need Connexions as a separate

Carolyn Caldwell, executive director of the National Association
of Connexions Partnerships, says she was shocked by reports in the
press and has found it difficult to get any official view on what
will be in the Green Paper.

She said: “If they are seriously thinking of dismantling
Connexions and running careers advice and guidance, we don’t
know any organisations that think it is a good idea. Young people
want an impartial service that is holistic and not stigmatising.
That is the whole point about Connexions – that is what it
was set up to do.”

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