Are Traditional Careers Advisors Extinct? Youth Voice

Careers advisors

Okay, maybe a clickbait title to get your attention, but the varying opinions on the future of Careers Advisors means something isn’t right.

That’s why at the latest Skills Show at the Birmingham NEC, I went along to the Youth Summit with Youth Employment UK to discuss just that.

Debate Mate, a fantastic organisation that facilitates the development of young people through debating across the UK, led a debate on the motion:

This house believes that traditional careers advice is no longer relevant to young people and the future of work

I had the pleasure of sitting on the Proposition team, which initially had 95% of the audience in favour. However, things took a turn, and after the debate, it ended up being the opposition who won, with just over half the vote.

Traditional Careers Advice Can’t Keep Up With The Fluid, Modern Labour Market VS Traditional Careers Advisers Have Experience and Can Compute Information Better

The argument for is that the jobs young people can do and will do in the future are rapidly changing, so much so, that it’s becoming difficult to predict which jobs will be available making it difficult for traditional careers advisors support young people. A recent Opinium survey says that ‘Half of young adults find the amount of information about jobs overwhelming’, so young people should be allowed to find their niche using more modern careers advice on digital platforms.

The opposing team argued that traditional careers advisers have experience in guiding young people in their quest to the world of work. The same survey also highlighted that ‘Four in five feel supported to make decisions for the future that will lead to an interesting career’. Therefore, careers advisers should begin to share insight into the place of work,  not just the industry or type of work.

Traditional Careers Advisers Aren’t As Good at Accessing the Young VS Traditional Careers Advice is More Accessible for Everyone

My team made the argument that it’s 2017,  we’re in digital age, and it’s vital that all forms of education and training for young people embrace the new. Although, we still identified a need for more person to person interaction, but argued that it’s hard to find your careers advisor in many schools, and when you do, it’s often 30 minutes when best for them. You may not even be ready to talk to an advisor just yet, or you may want regular visits!

The opposing team’s argument were for those who do not have internet access, and that we should ensure young people are not left behind in the digital age. Also careers advisors could help young people make sense of and verify the many sources and ‘facts’ about careers.

Traditional Careers Advice can Reinforce Stereotypes VS Traditional Careers Advisors are Verified Trusted Sources

On the last argument, we believed that traditional careers advice can play into stereotypes. Males are more likely to be pushed to STEM-related careers, and females are more likely to consider jobs involving caring for others, for example. There is also the bias of University, and the inability for many careers advisors to consider Apprenticeships as a route for young people.

The opposition said that careers advisors are verified and trusted sources, who care about your prospects. When careers advisors get the time and support to work with young people individually they can help them make decisions.

The Skills Show Youth Smitt showed the power of debate, and I, and by the looks of things, many others too, learnt a great deal!


One of the big outcomes of the day was the recognition that careers advisors aren’t the problem but the time resources and ‘traditional’ nature of having 10 – 30 minutes once in your school life was not going to be sufficient for a changing world and workforce. It was recognised that with so much information available guidance and support was needed from careers advisors, parents, teachers and employers too.

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