The responsibilities of the Welsh Ministers, local authorities and governing bodies of educational institutions in Wales extend beyond providing education to children and young people. They must also ensure that children and young people are able to make informed decisions about careers they can follow once they leave education and assist them to obtain appropriate employment.
The Welsh Ministers have duties under the Employment and Training Act 1973 to secure the provision of careers education in relation to Wales. This careers education must be designed to assist people in secondary and further education to consider the types of employment that might be suitable for them, to identify any training or education they might require to be suited to that employment, and finally to obtain that employment. To fulfil this duty the Welsh Ministers have entered into arrangements with Careers Wales/Gyrfa Cymru to provide these services to pupils and students in Wales.
The Welsh Ministers also have powers under the Employment and Training Act 1973 to make appropriate arrangements for the purpose of assisting persons to select, train for, obtain and retain employment suitable for their age and capacity or for the purpose of assisting persons to obtain suitable employees.
Schools and further education institutions in Wales are required to ensure that their pupils and students have access to guidance and reference materials on careers education and must work with any body appointed by the Welsh Ministers (currently Careers Wales/Gyrfa Cymru) to provide this service. In addition, for pupils aged between 14 and 19, schools must provide a programme of careers education designed to prepare them for taking decisions about their careers and to help them implement such decisions. Part VII of the Education Act 1997 makes provision for this.
Apprenticeships are a further method by which people can be trained and prepared for a particular type of employment. Apprenticeships are a regulated method by which people may gain experience and knowledge of a skill, trade or occupation through a combination of work and education. To ensure that people completing apprenticeships are given a sufficient amount of training and meet appropriate standards, recognised apprenticeships in Wales are tied to a framework that sets out the requirements of an apprenticeship. This framework must be approved by the Welsh Ministers or a body designated by the Welsh Ministers to give such approval. The Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 and subordinate legislation made under that Act make provision for the structure and oversight of apprenticeships.
While children and young people should be prepared for employment, there are also strict rules in place governing how and when children can be employed. Part II of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (as amended) makes particular provision restricting the employment of children. It is generally prohibited to employ children under the age of 13, although there are some exemptions for children employed under a local authority licence in relation to performance. For those aged under 16, the hours they may work are restricted and certain kinds of dangerous work are prohibited. Precedence is given to education over employment and local authorities have powers under section 559 of the Education Act 1996 to intervene in a child’s employment if they feel it is detrimental to their education.
The principal statutes that contain provisions applicable to careers advice, training and employment in Wales are listed under 'key legislation'.