Every school and college needs strong careers leadership if they are to design and manage an effective careers programme. We saw in the North East pilot that a high-calibre Careers Leader is the cornerstone of change. This is not necessarily the same person as the careers adviser delivering personal guidance interviews (who may be employed by an external agency), but a core member of the school or college middle leadership team. Their job is complex and requires the authority to coordinate the breadth of career guidance activity being delivered across the institution. Careers Leaders need to understand the Gatsby Benchmarks, develop a strategy alongside school leadership, and act as a contact point for the many external organisations that offer support.
The Government’s statutory guidance now requires all schools and colleges to appoint a named Careers Leader. Along with key organisations such as The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC), the Career Development Institute (CDI) and Teach First, we are working to understand how the Careers Leader role is being embedded and supported in schools and colleges. Our research from 2019 in secondary schools further underlined the importance of Careers Leaders having buy-in from, and regular access to, the school leadership team. Through working with partners, we aim to ensure that all school and college leaders recognise the vital role of careers and empower their Careers Leader to deliver an effective programme.