We undertook international visits, reviewed best practice in the UK and studied available literature to formulate our eight benchmarks of good career guidance.
Good career guidance is critical if young people are to raise their aspirations and capitalise on the opportunities available to them. We commissioned Sir John Holman to research what pragmatic actions could improve career guidance in secondary schools and we are piloting the recommendations with schools.
Good career guidance has never been more important. Changes in technology and in the labour market mean that increasing numbers of jobs require specific education and training. This has produced new vocational options which, at present, are not well understood by many young people or their teachers. Furthermore, the decision to go to university now means a major financial commitment, rather than being a safe default choice. Yet, despite its importance, career guidance in English schools has often been criticised for being inadequate and patchy.
Against this background, in 2013 Gatsby commissioned Sir John Holman - Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at the University of York, senior education adviser and former headteacher - with setting out what career guidance in England would be like were it good by international standards.
- Department for Education statutory guidance for governing bodies, school leaders and school staff on providing careers guidance and inspiration.
- The Careers and Enterprise Company works with schools, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and businesses to support the careers of young people.
- The National Careers Service provides career advice for 13 -19 year olds via phone and web.
- Apprenticeships are a route valued by government and employers, combining study with practical experience in the workplace. Search GOV.UK for the latest information and updates on apprenticeships.
- The UCAS website provides a range of career related resources for students.
- The National Governors Association, NGA, has guidance for school governors.
- Careers England provide a Quality in Careers Standard. careersengland.co.uk
- Careers engagement: a good practice brief for leaders of schools and colleges, from ASCL, NFER, ATL and 157 Group.
- A register of career guidance professionals is managed by the Career Development Institute (CDI)
- There are numerous commerical providers of services to schools. Many will have the Matrix quality standard for information, advice and guidance services.
- STEM Ambassadors and STEMNET broker partnerships between schools and science based employers.
Through six international visits, analysis of good practice in English schools and a comprehensive review of current literature, a set of eight benchmarks covering different dimensions of good career guidance was identified. After surveying a sample of English schools and commissioning PwC to identify the costs of implementation, Sir John made ten recommendations on how to improve the career guidance system.
- A stable careers programme
- Learning from career and labour market information
- Addressing the needs of each pupil
- Linking curriculum learning to careers
- Encounters with employers and employees
- Experiences of workplaces
- Encounters with further and higher education
- Personal guidance
Many organisations have embedded the benchmarks into their work including; the Careers and Enterprise Company, Teach First and the Sutton Trust. We continue to support the improvement of career guidance in schools and we are piloting approaches to reaching the benchmarks in schools and colleges in the North East of England.
To test the eight benchmarks identified in the Good Career Guidance report and collect evidence on the impact of structuring career information, advice and education guidance (CIAEG) in this way, Gatsby has funded the North East Local Enterprise Partnership to run a pilot of this approach across a minimum of 13 state-funded secondary schools and 3 colleges in the UK. The intensive pilot will be taking place in schools over two academic years, starting in September 2015 and ending in July 2017, with two additional years of school data collection until July 2019 to capture the impact of the pilot.
In this pilot we are particularly interested in exploring approaches to using Labour Market Information (LMI) and capturing the destinations of schools leavers.
Interactive map of schools involved