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BIS and DfE Sub-Committee Inquiry into Careers Advice, Information and Guidance


LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 01: The Houses of Parliament glow in the early morning sun on February 1, 2010 in London, England. Londoners woke up to a beautiful clear morning despite temperatures falling dramatically over the weekend. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)Yesterday (9/2/16), I gave oral evidence to this formal Inquiry. The Committee focused in particular on developments since the publication of the Education Committee report Careers guidance for young people: The impact of the new duty on schools, in 2013.

Written submissions were invited in advance (120 submissions received) addressing the following points:


  • The quality and impartiality of current provision
  • How careers advice in schools and colleges can help to match skills with labour market needs
  • The role of the new Careers and Enterprise Company and its relationship with other bodies such as the National Careers Service
  • The balance between national and local approaches to careers advice
  • Careers advice and apprenticeships
  • The potential for employers to play a greater role in careers advice

To view the evidence session: 

Witnesses Session 1 : Professor Louise Archer, Director of ASPIRES 2 Project, King’s College London, Professor Sir John Holman, Senior Adviser in Education, Gatsby Foundation, Professor Ann Hodgson, Co-Director of Centre for Post-14 Education and Work, University College London, and Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE, Principal Research Fellow, University of Warwick


Prof. Louise Archer and her research team at King’s College London have produced a new analyses from the ASPIRES 2 project’s national survey of 13,421 Year 11 students (age 15/16 years old). It details students’ reporting of their experiences of, and satisfaction with, careers education and work experience. See:

Prof. Anne Hodgson has worked in educational research and published extensively in the areas of education policy, 14-19 education and training, lifelong learning, further education, curriculum and qualifications reform, institutional organisation and governance. She was extremely well placed today to remind the Committee members not to forget FE in this Inquiry.

Sir John Holman stimulated a conversation in April 2014 on ‘what good career guidance looks like‘ Today, he stated “this is the gold standard which explains why some schools are not yet ready to achieve this.” Careers development professionals (myself included) fully agree with these 8 key themes.  These are well recognised by employers, educationalists and  trained and qualified career development professionals working in public, private and third sector organisations. Nearly two years on, local enterprise partnerships, local authorities and careers providers have now embraced these and are moving beyond the 8 key themes. This has to be good news – a ‘one size all’ model is unlikely to work everywhere and the ‘devil is in the detail’ when it comes to local delivery. Many local areas are already shaping and designing a vision and plan to create their own careers offer for young people e.g. Bradford, Hull, Yorkshire and Humberside, Cornwall, London, Oxfordshire and more – whilst central government decides where it can best intervene in a congested and confusing landscape, most people are getting on with trying to improve CEIAG locally for young people, parents/carers and teachers.

I thought it might be useful to highlight below the similarities and differences in the Gatsby themes and London Enterprise Panel, Greater London Authority and Local Councils approach

Gatsby Benchmarks

  1. A stable programme
  2. Learning from Careers
    and LMI
  3. Addressing the needs of
    each pupil
  4. Linking curriculum learning
    to careers
  5. Encounters with
    employers & employees
  6. Experiences of workplaces
  7. Encounters with
    FE and HE
  8. Personal Guidance

London Ambitions: Shaping a Careers Offer for Every Young Londoner

  1. Access to impartial, independent & personalised CEIAG &
    face-to-face guidance
  2. At least 100 hours experience of work by age 16…captured in
    digital portfolio
  3. Explicit publicised careers policy & careers curriculum
    (learning outcomes)
  4. Governor with insight to ensure organisation supports
    all students
  5. Up-to-date user-friendly LMI readily accessible
  6. Careers Clusters ‘careers clusters’ to share resources / whole
    school approach
  7. London Ambitions Portal to enable more schools & colleges to easily find high quality careers provision

Quality standards – committed school leaders will want to and/or already being working towards a recognised kitemark or standard. Should this be forced upon schools? Colleges and/or universities already make their own leadership decisions in this regard e.g. ISO9001; matrix, Investors in People, Investors in Careers, CareerMark, QiCS etc… The Government-owned matrix quality standard sets out key principles for high quality information, advice and guidance. This co-exists alongside many other privately-owned kitemarks and standards used by schools, colleges, universities and other local community organisations. Leaders should be able to choose………

Key Stage 2 onwards – a culture change is needed and there’s already some evidence of primary schools forging ahead with innovative practice. Teachers can benefit from having increased awareness of Careers Curriculum learning outcomes and resources to assist them.

Policy infrastructure fragmented and confusing – DBIS, DfE, DWP and the Cabinet Office all spinning out new initiatives and the costs and added-value associated with this require close scrutiny. The National Careers Service now working separately but in parallel to the Careers and Enterprise Company. Another switch proposed to the NCS’s work – new priority group 19-23 year olds not in touch with schools/colleges, low skilled adults 24/25 with learning difficulties or disabilities.

Transparency and accountability – CEC is a new company set up by government with 20m investment fund. Further funds to follow as confirmed by Sam Gyimah on 21st January 2016. Is it a charity? Company Ltd? Independent of Government or a new Quango? Some evidence of CEC competing with well-established charities – what is the long-term goal? where do career development professionals feature in policy formation within CEC?

International Country Reports available – International Symposium held in DeMoines (July 2015) Visit:

Finally, I am currently building up a picture of local careers offers to young people across England. Send me your own examples and I’ll promote these on my website as part of a community of practice learning from each other. Many thanks!

Evaluation, Research & Development

DMH & Associates Ltd offers high quality services drawing on the international, national and local evidence base for careers work. We work in partnership with a wide range of organisations to find innovative and practical ways of developing effective careers policies, research and practice.
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