Every young person needs high-quality career guidance to make informed decisions about their future. Good career guidance is a necessity for social mobility: those young people without significant social capital or home support to draw upon have the most to gain from high-quality career guidance.
Yet, despite its importance, career guidance in this country has previously been criticised for being inconsistent and patchy. With the current transformation of technical education in England ensuring that high quality technical pathways into rewarding careers have never been a more attractive option, it is vital that good career guidance is embedded throughout education, so that young people will be better equipped to make informed choices about their next steps.
In 2013, Gatsby commissioned Sir John Holman to set out what career guidance in England would be like if it were good by international standards, resulting in the Good Career Guidance report. The eight benchmarks set out in the report serve as a framework for improvement in careers provision and have been adopted as part of the Government's Careers Strategy and statutory guidance for schools and colleges. In addition, The Careers & Enterprise Company now supports the implementation of the benchmarks in schools and colleges with a national network of support, resources and targeted funding.
Since the initial pilot of the Gatsby benchmarks in the North East of England, we have sought to gather evidence of the effectiveness of the Benchmarks, including a four-year evaluation by the University of Derby published in 2021 which found the benchmarks had a positive impact on students' career readiness and GCSE attainment.
The eight Gatsby benchmarks of Good Career Guidance are:
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
Following consultation with colleges across England, we also created a modified version of the benchmarks specifically aligned with the needs of young people in colleges.