Cuts may lead to the axing of careers service

SCHOOL leavers struggling to find work could find it even harder as a service designed to give them careers advice is having its funding cut.

Connexions, which has an office in Queensbury House, Havelock Road, faces an uncertain future and there are fears it could close.

East Sussex County Council runs Connexions via a contractor and said money from the Government was being significantly cut.

Steve Burns, from the East Sussex branch of Unison, condemned the cuts, branding them an “act of gross vandalism”.

He said: “These specifically target those young people most in need of public service support. Recent significant cuts to the Area Based Grant to local authorities, which fund Connexions and careers services, will inevitably lead to worse services, centre closures and fewer staff.

“The county council has cancelled the contract to provide careers guidance in the county’s schools and put around 50 Connexions employees jobs at risk.”

Hastings MP Amber Rudd said: “I hope that what we lose on one side there will be support in another avenue because the Government has pledged to put a careers adviser in every secondary school in the country.”

A county council spokesman said the authority was still in “ongoing discussions” with its contractors from Babcock Enterprise, which provides information advice and guidance services in East Sussex.

He said: “In the meantime we are continuing to provide such services for young people.

“However, because of significant reductions in Government grant, in the future we will only have the funding to support young people with learning difficulties and to provide one-to-one personal adviser support for the most vulnerable.

“We will not be able to fund universal advice and guidance to young people, and in fact, it will no longer be our responsibility to do so.

“We would hope schools will continue to provide young people with this kind of support. We know, however, that the Government has plans to introduce a national careers service which will include support for young people.”