Futures Advice, Skills and Employment – the organisation responsible for the National Careers Service across the East Midlands – has been rated Outstanding by Ofsted.

The Nottingham-based careers guidance experts are the first ever National Careers Service prime contractor to have achieved this rating.

As part of its assessment, Ofsted looked at the:

  • effectiveness of leadership and management
  • quality of information, advice and guidance
  • personal development, behaviour and welfare
  • outcomes for customers

Ofsted rated each of these ‘Outstanding’.

In its findings, Ofsted was particularly complementary about Futures’ attention to quality. It concluded that the organisation had an “unrelenting focus on providing an outstanding quality of information, advice and guidance for all customers…… who make excellent progress towards successfully achieving their career aspirations as advisers are highly adept at removing barriers to achievement.”

Based in Nottingham, Futures Advice, Skills and Employment – which is jointly owned by Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County councils – is a social enterprise that provides a range of jobs and skills advice, training and apprenticeships to support young people and adults into work or training. As well as managing the National Careers Service in the East Midlands, it is also the prime contractor for the service across Central Eastern England, for which it was rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted in the first inspection of this contract last month.

John Yarham, Chief Executive of Futures Advice, said: “We are an organisation that is driven by a desire to achieve the best possible outcomes for customers. In 2015 we set ourselves a lofty ambition of becoming the first ever Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ rated National Careers Service prime contractor. Thanks to the sheer grit, determination and professionalism of our staff, we have achieved this. We won’t rest on our laurels and will remain absolutely focussed on transforming people’s lives by offering quality services.”

Sue Husband, Executive Director of the Skills Funding Agency, which manages the National Careers Service said: “This extremely positive judgement from Ofsted is testament to the hard work and dedication of a range of people delivering the National Careers Service in the East Midlands. It offers tailored and impartial careers guidance to individuals, helping them to find jobs, develop their careers and fulfil their ambitions. Across England, National Careers Service advisers are making a difference to people’s lives on a daily basis.”

Councillor Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Education, Employment and Skills, Nottingham City Council said; “Its good news for Nottingham that Futures has been recognised by Ofsted as the first “Outstanding” provider of the National Careers Service.

“We are particularly pleased that Ofsted recognised the positive role Nottingham City Council has played on the board to provide ‘highly effective challenge’ to the Futures managers and how this has resulted in Nottingham people receiving the ‘best possible’ experience. This result demonstrates that publicly owned, not-for-profit organisations often deliver at the highest possible standard by putting people before profit.

“Ofsted particularly praised the excellent partnership working in Nottingham such as how Nottinghamjobs.com, Job Centre Plus and Futures work together to ensure that the support citizens receive is seamless and helps them achieve the learning or employment outcome they want.

“We will continue to work in partnership with Futures and local employers to achieve our ambition to give Nottingham residents the support they need to fulfil their employment and skills potential.”

The National Careers Service is a publicly-funded careers service in England for adults aged 19 plus and 18-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) and/or registered with Jobcentre Plus. The support customers receive varies depending on their need includes:

  • job hunting and understanding the local job market
  • interview tips
  • writing application forms
  • CV preparation
  • courses and training opportunities
  • coping with redundancy
  • career change
  • planning and decision making.

The responsibility for the delivery of the service sits with seven organisations (prime contractors) all of which cover different regions of the country. In October 2014 Futures Advice won a three-year contract to deliver the service across the entire East Midlands. Over 40,000 customers benefit from the service each year and receive advice and support at one of 74 sites including Jobcentre Plus, library and community venues across the region and at Futures’ own drop-in careers centres in Leicester, Mansfield and Nottingham.

David Smith (48) from Nottingham had been in a job all his working life but, at the end of 2016, suddenly faced redundancy. He had never created a CV but needed one urgently to help with his job applications. He said: “My adviser helped me create a CV as I didn’t know how to go about it and what was expected. I had to meet a tight deadline. Thanks to the support I got, I was able to submit my CV and this eventually led to me being offered a new job in sales. I now know what to do in the future if I’m ever looking for work again. I am a family man, so getting a new job quickly was important so that I could provide for my family. I would advise anyone to use the service. They made me feel very at ease.”

Anyone in need of careers advice because they’re out of work, want to return to work, face redundancy or wish to change careers, should call the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900 to speak to an adviser (8am to 10pm, 7 days a week).