COVID 19 ‘accelerated existing trends in remote work, e-commerce and automation with up to 25% more workers than previously estimated needing to shift occupations’1.
79% of teachers said their pupils are less ready for the world of work when compared to previous years2 and over half of businesses are concerned that ‘lost learning’ from the pandemic will exacerbate the skills shortage in students. This highlights the need for even greater emphasis on careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) through taught, personal development and enrichment programmes, to improve life outcomes. After all, our careers are not just about getting work, they ‘describe our journey through life, learning and work’3.
Having several decades’ experience of developing best practice by applying careers quality standards, and of providing guidance for individuals, I see the outcomes of excellent CEIAG: learners can reflect on and develop their experiences in education, training and work, and feel good about themselves; they know their options and can weigh them up; they can make plans and strong applications; they deal with set-backs and expect to manage change and work-life balance to ensure good mental health. Excellent programmes include varied activities involving many stakeholders. Impartiality is overt. Such outcomes address CEIAG inspection requirements across all Home Nations – building skills and happier people.
Each Home Nation offers a range of support for learning organisations to develop CEIAG which you might already be using, and while there are challenges to delivering best practice (see the Sutton Trust report, Paving the Way), by incorporating small changes you can improve provision – and learners’ career management skills. The following list is based on my experience of what works:
1. Ensure that your organisation meets statutory guidance, inspection frameworks and provides impartial information on all options.
2. Use research on what works in CEIAG to ‘make a case’ – for example, The Sutton Trust found a positive correlation between quality careers programmes and grades4.
3. Get training - find out what’s available in your Home Nation and check out the CDI Academy.
4. Implement best practice guidance from the CDI’s website, for example on CEIAG policies.
5. Engage leaders and governors: show them how CEIAG supports the organisation’s ethos, aims and plans.
6. Involve staff and students to plan, promote and review the programme.
7. Use careers frameworks such as the CDI’s career development framework to audit career learning and entitlement for all ages. Remedy gaps. Promote within subjects, personal development and enrichment.
8. Employ Level 6/7 qualified careers advisers. They are trained to help learners make well-informed transitions and plans, and build their confidence and aspirations. Guidance has an impact on students’ personal effectiveness, career readiness and educational outcomes5. You can recruit via the dedicated career development jobs board and find qualified careers professionals on the Professional Register.
9. Partner with employers, universities, apprenticeship providers and alumni to deliver learning outcomes: they’ll add value and raise aspirations.
10. Engage with parents/carers: they need to understand their child’s options. Parental influence is key.
11. Enable learners to reflect on experiences, for example with work-related activities
12. Connect learners to career development beyond their next step: encourage lifelong learning and enrichment to enhance employability and skills.
High quality CEIAG provision is part of holistic education and life preparation. It leads to happier, more motivated, confident and skilled learners in a world of change.
Liz Reece is a CDI Associate, freelance Registered Career Development Practitioner, trainer, writer, and Quality in Careers Standard assessor.