New Gatsby-funded research has revealed the experiences and preferences of young people, their parents and careers professionals around labour market information (LMI) in career guidance, to inform practice around Gatsby Benchmark 2: learning from career and labour market information.
On behalf of Gatsby, York Consulting LLP worked with 22 schools and colleges across England, using interviews, surveys and focus groups with young people, parents, Careers Leaders and careers advisers – exploring use of both national-level and local-level LMI. One of the key trends was that fewer than half of the schools and colleges reported receiving local LMI resources (in the form of a newsletter or dedicated website) from their Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) or local/combined authority. These were much appreciated where they were received, and overall there was a strong desire for greater availability of LMI relating to the local town or city, or county from schools/colleges in rural areas.
The research also covered sources of national LMI that were popular with practitioners (the government’s National Careers Service, along with a mixture of third-party platforms) and the types of LMI used within them – most commonly job profiles, with a summary of information about what a job entails, but also sector employment figures and growth/decline trends, and average salaries and qualification routes related to specific roles. Staff reported using LMI largely through PSHE sessions, tutor periods, or in personal guidance interviews with a careers adviser, with limited use of LMI within the subject-based curriculum.
Staff reported that young people require guidance and support with accessing LMI – and their guidance and recommendations matter: of the 60% of Key Stage 5 students who reported accessing online sources of LMI, most said they had done so independently, but typically using the websites signposted by their school or college. Young people seemed most interested in hearing narrative information, often from a ‘real person’ in video form, about what a job involves, and using hard data as further information on a job or career path they are already interested in; rather than using statistics such as sector employment trends or salary information to inform what their interests should be.
From parents’ perspective, most felt confident providing advice, but less than half (44%) felt they had enough information to support their child with decisions, and only around half reported knowing where to seek information on different employment sectors, or the skill and qualification requirements for different jobs. These parents suggested that schools and colleges could play a role in recommending trusted LMI sources for them to access. Without this, they struggle to identify which sources to trust, although they tended to view Government or university websites as most trustworthy.
The full research findings can be read here. The report also contains case studies of four of the schools and colleges involved in the research, including details of:
- The different free and paid-for LMI platforms schools and colleges use with students;
- How a large urban school in the West Midlands tailors the LMI shared with parents;
- How a coastal school uses LMI in subject lessons as part of National Careers Week;
- How LMI can be incorporated across school and college life – from wall displays to tutor time.
Gatsby hopes these case studies, and the wider research, will be useful as schools/colleges look to examine and develop their own use of LMI in line with Gatsby Benchmark 2 – Learning from career and labour market information.
We are interested in hearing from others about their ideas for improving the LMI system to support good career guidance. If you would like to get in touch, please contact Rob Cremona at firstname.lastname@example.org.