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What do I need to know about the Careers Leader Training?

New research by The Careers & Enterprise Company shows the impact of the Careers Leader training programme on knowledge, practice and how careers programmes are built. Isobel Finlay, Evaluations Officer at The Careers & Enterprise Company, shares what we’ve learnt and explains why Careers Leaders should sign up to the training.

In 2017 the government Careers Strategy stated that by September 2018 schools and colleges need a Careers Leader who has the ‘skills and commitment, and backing from their senior leadership team, to deliver the careers programme across all eight Gatsby Benchmarks’.1 To support the implementation of the role within schools and colleges The Careers & Enterprise Company, in collaboration with The Gatsby Foundation, published specifications of the Careers Leader role in schools and colleges. 23

This guidance summarises the responsibilities of a Careers Leader under four main headings:

  • Leadership - take responsibility for developing, running and reporting on the school’s careers programme.
  • Management - operational responsibility to plan careers activities, manage the careers budget and, in some cases, manage other staff involved in the delivery of career guidance.
  • Coordination - coordinate staff from across the school and from outside.
  • Networking - establish and develop links with employers, education and training providers and careers organisations.

Our training courses help Careers Leaders to understand their role and to develop the skills required to help strategically and successfully embed a careers programme in their school or college.

In 2018 an external evaluation of the training found that the Careers Leader training had a positive impact on Careers Leaders and their schools and colleges, and that Careers Leaders gained confidence and increased their knowledge of careers and the Careers Leader role. Following on from this report we were interested in understanding the longer-term impact of the training, drawing on quantitative evidence about knowledge and attitudes, changes in practice and improvements in Gatsby Benchmark provision.

So, what did we find out and what should schools and colleges know?

1. The training improves Careers Leaders knowledge of the role: Careers Leaders completing the training saw improvements in knowledge across the four key responsibility areas of their role: leadership, management, coordination, and networking.

1. Department for Education. (2018). Careers guidance and access for education and training providers.

2. The Careers & Enterprise Company & Gatsby Charitable Foundation (2018). Understanding the role of the Careers Leader: A guide for secondary schools. London: The Careers & Enterprise Company

3. The Careers & Enterprise Company & Gatsby Charitable Foundation (2018). Understanding the role of the Careers Leader: A guide for colleges. London: The Careers & Enterprise Company

2. The training drives real impact for Careers Leaders working in a range of settings: Careers Leaders working in special schools, alternative provision, further education colleges, sixth form colleges and mainstream secondary schools, improved their knowledge scores across each of the responsibility areas: leadership, management, coordination and networking.

3. Whatever stage of their career a Careers Leader is at, impact is still felt: the largest improvement in average knowledge score was seen in Careers Leaders who were newer to the role. Overall, when all Careers Leaders were asked to self-reflect if the training had increased their knowledge of Career Leadership the overwhelming majority (97%) agreed, regardless of how long they had been in the role, which suggests that the training has value for Careers Leaders with varied experience in the role. 

4. The training helped Careers Leader to identify actions to improve their practice: the overwhelming majority of Careers Leaders (97%) agreed that the training had helped them to identify actions to improve their practice. In a follow up survey 6-24 months after finishing training Careers Leaders reported that the training had supported them to update their strategic careers programme (80%), evaluated their careers programme (76%), link careers to the curriculum (66%) and raise the profile of careers within their school/ college (65%).

5. Emerging evidence suggests that the training supports Gatsby Benchmark achievement: establishments with Careers Leaders who had received training saw a larger improvement in the number of Gatsby Benchmarks achieved, pre- and post-training. Establishments with Careers Leaders who had completed the training improved by, on average, half a benchmark more than those who had not completed the training.

This research evidence suggests that the time investment of Careers Leaders attending the training is warranted, resulting in improved knowledge and practice in their role, and that this in turn leads to improvement in Gatsby Benchmark provision within their school or college. Careers Leaders can sign up to our next round of Careers Leader training here, and schools and colleges can claim a £1,000 bursary for taking part.