| Views |

A truly national effort

Our mission is to prepare and inspire young people for the fast-changing world of work. We do this by linking schools and colleges to employers and helping them deliver world class careers support for all young people.

As the Skills Minister Anne Milton MP says in the foreward to the strategy: “raising the quality of careers provision requires a truly national effort… [we] need to work with careers organisations, careers professionals, schools, colleges, universities, employers and others.”

So in this blog we’ve set out some of the key achievements over the last year that have been made possible through the hard work of many partners.

1. Backing the Gatsby Benchmarks

The Gatsby Benchmarks of good careers guidance have become collectively recognised as a hallmark of excellence. This week their author, Sir John Holman used a column in TES to set out how far school and colleges have gone in embedding the Gatsby Benchmarks.

Schools and colleges are actively engaging with this agenda by assessing themselves against the Gatsby Benchmarks using our online Compass tool.

More than 3,000 schools and colleges have assessed themselves against the Benchmarks. 1,000 schools and colleges have now completed Compass more than once, allowing us for the first time to see progress over time. On average they have shown improvement across every single dimensions of careers support.

This evidence supports recent commentary from Ofsted, that the “the current picture is much more encouraging than has been the case in the past … careers guidance within schools is improving”.

2. Careers Leaders in every school

The next element of the Careers Strategy is about who carries out the work of orchestrating the careers programme in schools and colleges across the country. The Careers Strategy set out a goal of a senior Careers Leader in every single school and college to help implement the benchmarks.

We’ve now been able to provide bursaries to train more than 1,300 Careers Leaders across the country, delivered by fourteen leading training organisations. And we have now launched free, comprehensive online training for all careers leaders, developed in collaboration with Teach First.

3. Building networks

Crucial to making all this work are the external influences young people need to bring the world of work to life. For the last three years, we have brought these influences to schools and colleges through our Enterprise Adviser Network, developed in partnership with Local Enterprise Partnerships.

This has grown to include 2000 schools and colleges, each assigned a dedicated senior volunteer from the world of business to help them develop their careers strategy.

This year we went a step further. Building on the highly-successful North East Careers Hub pilot, we have now been able to establish 20 Careers Hubs across the country. The Hubs build on the Enterprise Adviser Network to bring together groups of 20-40 schools to work collaboratively towards the Benchmarks.


Already, around one in five schools and colleges in the country is part of a Careers Hub. And the Department for Education have now confirmed funding for another 20 Hubs next year.

Impact on young people

We’re starting to see the impact upon young people. Since our establishment three years ago, more than half a million young people have been supported through our investment funds.

Through our ‘FutureSkills’ pilot survey of young people who have benefited from these interventions, we now know that personal effectiveness, career readiness and employability skills of young people are all improving. We found that:

  • 80% young people reported an increased awareness of different careers
  • 75% have a greater understanding of what they need to do to achieve their ambitions
  • 70% of young people felt more motivated to work hard at school or colleges

These real-world impacts on young people are what it is all about for us. A wonderful example of how good careers education can be life changing for young people can be found in Cath Murray’s feature on the amazing work of Churchill Community College.

A long way to go

We still have a long way to go before realising the Strategy’s vision of world class careers education for every single young person. But with the hard work of all those involved, we’re confident the next year will see us continue the steady progress we’ve already seen.

As the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds MP said yesterday in a speech:

“We need to make sure that all young people get the advice and guidance they need to make choices about their future. Just over a year ago we published our careers strategy, setting out our plans to build a world class careers system.”

“Thanks to the hard work of our partners like The Careers & Enterprise Company, we are now seeing real changes in schools and colleges, with over 2000 business volunteers helping to connect young people with employers and I commend them for what they do.”