Careers Related Learning (CRL) is the term used to encompass early childhood activities in primary schools designed to give children a wide range of experiences of and exposure to education, transitions and the world of work. CRL could include activities that:


Develop pupils’ knowledge about work

Develop pupils’ skills for work life

Challenge stereotypes formed about careers and the world of work

Enable pupils to make the link between what they are learning and the world of work

“Career-related learning is not about asking eight-year olds what they want to do in the future - children must be allowed their childhood… It is work that builds on children’s growing awareness of themselves and the world of work, and weaves what they know into useful learning for now and later” -Watts (2002)


The principles proven to work

In 2018, we published a report identifying six key lessons of practice for career-related learning at primary level.

  1. Involve employers and parents
  2. Start early
  3. Ensure activities are personalised and relevant to the age group
  4. Embed into the curriculum 
  5. Embed in a whole school approach and driven by senior leaders
  6. Open to all

You should consider these six lessons pf practice when planning your CRL strategy.

The Skills Builder Partnership also offer six key principles through which your career-related learning strategy can be developed:

  1. Keep it simple: A consistent approach and common language helps ensure everyone’s shared understanding and makes building skills as tangible as possible.
  2. Start young, keep going: Starting as young as possible allows more time for mastery.
  3. Measure it: Reflect, observe and assess to give students a balanced understanding of strengths, weaknesses, progress and next steps.
  4. Focus tightly: Time should be dedicated to explicitly building skills and intervention should build upon previous learning and attainment. 
  5. Keep practising: To accelerate progress, learning should be used and reinforced as often as possible.
  6. Bring it to life: Ensure students see the relevance by linking to the world outside the classroom, by bringing in external problems and challenges. 


How is my school currently performing?

To help you to decide what direction to take your school’s career-related learning strategy in, try answering the questions below.

Principle 1: Keep it simple
1.    Does everyone in your school know what career related learning activities take place each academic year?
2.    Does everyone in your school know what career related learning activities take place each academic year?
3.    Do all staff and children use consistent language when referring to careers and employability skills?
4.    Do all staff receive training and support on teaching career-related learning?

Principle 2: Start young, keep going
5.    Do you think about career-related learning for all children in your school?
6.    Could you introduce career-related learning earlier on?
7.    Are their opportunities for children to build their understanding of the world of work as they grow?

Principle 3: Measure it
8.    Are you using a consistent framework for your career-related learning activities?
9.    Does your framework reflect quantifiable progress over time?
10.  Do you use assessments at the beginning and end of a year for career-related learning?

Principle 4: Focus tightly
11.    Do you have different goals for what different children should be aiming to do when learning about the world of work, skills and careers?
12.    Do you make time just to focus on explicitly teaching about the world of work, skills and careers?

Principle 5: Keep practicing
13.    Are there regular opportunities for students to use what they have learnt about world of work, skills and careers?
14.    When they do, are these opportunities highlighted clearly to them?
15.    Is there regular opportunity to actively reflect on their knowledge of career-related learning and how this has been developed?

Principle 6: Bring it to life
16.    Is career-related learning framed in terms of usefulness for education, employment or entrepreneurship?
17.    Are there opportunities for children to use what they have learnt about world of work, skills and careers in different settings?
18.    Do you use links to employers to support your career-related learning activities and strategy?
19.    Do you focus on any other child focussed initiatives (such as Youth Social Action or Character Building) that could also be identified as career-related learning?


What's next?

These questions are designed to get you thinking about the careers-related learning processes already in place in your institution. Learn how to implenent CRL in your curriculum. To address any weaknesses, take a look at some primary activity providers and get inspired.

Do you have questions or suggestions for our Primary school toolkit? Get in touch!