Careers service faces axe

A CAREERS and support service for young people and adults across the county will be closed at the end of March because of budget cuts.

Connexions, which has an Ilkeston office on Bath Street, is owned and funded by Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council and offers careers information, advice and related support to young people and adults across Derbyshire.

The service will close its doors for good next month after becoming the latest service to fall victim to funding cuts.

But Derbyshire County Council has moved to calm fears over the future of a careers service in the county and revealed it would be taking over the running of the work currently done by Connexions in-house.

A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: “We are facing testing financial times and have reviewed the way all county council services are provided.

“Work currently done by Connexions will be carried out directly by the county council from April.

“Services will be delivered direct to schools and colleges including targeted support for vulnerable young people and careers guidance services for those considering future learning and careers options.

“We are working hard to ensure a smooth transition so that people continue to experience an efficient and effective service.”

Connexions blamed the closure on ‘a substantial reduction’ in the grants it receives from Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council.

The company is in talks with Unison about the position of the 337 staff employed by the company across the county.

Decisions on whether personnel can be transferred to county council and city council run programmes is one of the options being discussed as well as redundancy.

The future of the Bath Street office is still not known.

Hugh Hastie, chief executive of Connexions Derbyshire Limited, said: “The decision to close the company is of course a huge disappointment to staff, but we are proud of all our achievements over the past nine years, helping schools and colleges to improve their careers education programmes, helping to achieve significant reductions in the number of young people not in education, employment or training and helping unemployed adults get back into work.

“I know that colleagues in the local authorities will be seeking to ensure that high quality careers advice and support to find work continues to be available, which builds on all the expertise and good practice we have established.”

Services provided by Connexions will continue to be delivered as normal until March 31.