Focus Areas

Good Career Guidance

In 2013 we commissioned Sir John Holman to research what pragmatic actions could improve career guidance in England. The Good Career Guidance Benchmarks which emerged from the report have now been adopted as part of the Government's careers strategy for schools and colleges.

Every young person needs high-quality career guidance to make informed decisions about their future. Good career guidance is a necessity for delivering technical education reforms and is a vehicle for social justice: those young people without social capital or home support suffer most from poor career guidance. Yet, despite its importance, career guidance in English schools has often been criticised for being inadequate and patchy.

Against this background, Gatsby commissioned Sir John Holman - Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at the University of York, senior education adviser and former headteacher - to set out what career guidance in England would be like were it good by international standards.

After six international visits, analysis of good practice in English schools and a comprehensive review of existing literature, John wrote the The Good Career Guidance Report which identifies a set of eight benchmarks that schools can use as a framework for improving their careers provision. 

The eight Gatsby benchmarks of Good Career Guidance

1. A stable careers programme
2. Learning from career and labour market information
3. Addressing the needs of each pupil
4. Linking curriculum learning to careers
5. Encounters with employers and employees
6. Experiences of workplaces
7. Encounters with further and higher education
8. Personal guidance

Many organisations have embedded the benchmarks into their work including; the Careers and Enterprise Company, Teach First and the Sutton Trust

Following consultation with colleges across England, we have also created Good Career Guidance: Benchmarks for colleges. This document presents an updated version of the eight career benchmarks and aligns with the needs of young people in colleges. 

With the roll-out of a new national Skills Plan which will transform technical education, and an Industrial Strategy that puts technicians at the heart of the country's economic success; there has never been a better time to pursue a technical career. However, too many young people are not given the opportunity to find out if technical education would be right for them. Through embedding the eight benchmarks across education we believe young people will be more equipped to take advantage of these new technical routes and make informed decisions about their future.