By Daniel Hunter

Careers advice needs an urgent overhaul to address the mismatch between high unemployment and skills shortages, according to the first report from the National Careers Council (NCC).

The Council, supported by the CBI, calls on the National Careers Service to better target schools, young people and parents. It found very low numbers of 13- to 18-year-olds were using its telephone, online and text services — and argues that more pupils need face-to-face support to prepare them for work.

It said it was vital to close the gap between high numbers of young people not in education, employment or training; and firms concerns that many school and college-leavers are ill-equipped for work.

The report will be launched today (Wednesday) by CBI President Sir Roger Carr at the Deloitte Academy.

The NCC recommendations include:

• Face-to-face careers guidance should be available to all pupils aged 12 and over;

• The government’s new traineeship programme and the 16-19 study programmes should include impartial careers guidance;

• The National Careers Service should proactively target young people with its online, telephone and face-to-face careers provision; and

• Firms should volunteer employees to mentor pupils and offer careers support, work experience and placements.

The NCC was set up in May 2012 to advise the Government on careers provision for young people and adults in England.

“Today's job market is more complex than ever before and it’s more difficult for young people to take their first steps to building a career," Sir Roger said.

“People who have strong networks of families and friends to help guide them often do well - but in general we are not yet delivering the relevant, accessible advice people need. It’s clear that business, the education system and government must raise their game.

“Young people need the skills that employers demand — we cannot afford to waste talent when the long-term economic outlook is so challenging. And integrating the new National Careers Service into schools and colleges will make sure that students can make a much smoother transition from education to work.”

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