Learners take control

Posted on 4 Oct 2010 by The Manufacturer

A new careers service, Next Step, will support lifelong learning and put individuals in control of their professional development

On Friday October 1 the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) launched a new web service designed to support Government skills strategy for learner empowerment. The new adult careers service, dubbed Next Step, is now up and running allowing adults to make informed choices about which skills and courses are best suited to their abilities and their ambitions. The Next Step website is part of comprehensive support programme, which also includes face to face and telephone services, offering advice to people looking to improve their careers and employment prospects.

Skills Minister John Hayes, who is a vocal advocate of lifelong learning and a proponent for greater responsibility being taken by individuals in their long term professional development said: “Making the right decisions about our skills and careers isn’t always easy. Empowering learners means informing them, but even making the decision to seek out information and advice is a hurdle that some find difficult to surmount.

“I believe that everyone should be able to access information and advice about careers. Next Step is the right service to be helping people achieve their goals and improve their work prospects in these difficult times.

“I am looking at options for bringing together guidance resources for young people and adults, in an all-age careers service, and we will act as soon as resources allow. Next Step is an important achievement on the road towards that destination.”

Next Step offers independent and impartial help and advice about careers, skills and the labour market. It provides information about courses and financial support, data on labour market trends, and detailed information about occupations. The service is a core part of the Government’s strategy to put learners at the heart of a flexible and responsive skills system.

The website will include a section called ‘My Next Step’ where people can access a personal record of the qualifications they have achieved, their CV and organise their plans for learning and career development.

The website will also include a skills assessment tool to help people identify their strengths and skills gaps, and decide what kind of skills or courses they need to gain to achieve their career goals. It is hoped that the tool will allow individual to match their skills to gaps and opportunities in the job market thereby strengthening economic growth as well as improving upwards mobility and quality of life for individuals.