Vital for teens to get top career advice

AMBITIOUS new targets that 97per cent of 16-year-olds should be getting some element of education make it vital they receive the best careers advice.

SUFFOLK: Ambitious new targets that 97per cent of 16-year-olds should be getting some element of education make it vital they receive the best careers advice.

That is the verdict today from Suffolk New College deputy principal Marilyn Walsham as youngsters approaching GCSEs decide where to go next after June's exams.

With the new Suffolk One sixth form centre opening on the edge of Ipswich, there has been some concern that students will be encouraged to go there when other courses may be better for them.

But Mrs Walsham said independent advice targeted at individual students was vital before any final decisions are taken.

And she did not think that students were being put under undue pressure to go to one centre rather than another.

She said: “The government has set a target of getting 97 per cent of 16-year-olds into some kind of education - whether it is apprenticeships, vocational courses such as those we offer or academic courses, A levels.”

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Suffolk One will offer both a wide variety of A levels and vocational courses but Mrs Walsham did not think this would hit Suffolk New College.

She said: “We have about 2,800 people doing a variety of courses from 16-plus and another 550 people doing 19-plus courses.

“The challenge for everyone offering 16-plus courses is to work hard to meet the government target.”

Jackie Phipps, from Suffolk Connexions which runs the county's careers service, said it was important that advice to students was independent and tailored to their needs.

She said: “We would never say to a student: 'You should do this or that' but we do want to give them all the options that are available to allow them to make the best possible choice.”