Career education under microscope as part of £1m evidence drive

Traditional careers programmes such as work experience and CV clinics will be trialled under a new £1 million pot to establish the most effective ways to deliver careers education.

The fund is aimed at boosting future job prospects for disadvantaged pupils, and will be run under a partnership between the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), the Careers & Enterprise Company, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The cash injection comes less than a week after Ofsted said it would judge schools more heavily on how they prepare pupils for the world of work.

The inspectorate had warned schools were putting the “nation’s future economic prosperity” at risk because of a failure to sufficiently prioritise enterprise education.

Inspectors found that just 10 per cent of schools were getting enterprise education right, and warned that poor coordination between schools and businesses, plus the absence of an ‘overarching government strategy’, were leaving young people unprepared for work.

The EEF said many approaches to careers education, such as work experience or job shadowing, have not been studied through research, despite them being common practice in schools.

A spokesperson said the new partnership, announced today, aims to “address these gaps in the evidence base” and to provide schools and colleges with a better idea of ‘what works’ in careers education.

Sir Kevan Collins, chief executive of the EEF, said: “Schools and colleges are under more and more pressure to provide their pupils with a strong careers offering. But there is little evidence available on how to do this well.

“Teachers deserve a much clearer picture of what good careers education looks like. Investing in rigorous and independent evaluations of different approaches is the most effective way to do this.”

The cash comes from a £5 million Careers & Enterprise Company investment to boost social mobility and help young people “in greatest need of support”.

Claudia Harris, chief executive of the Careers & Enterprise Company, added: “This research will help us understand which type of encounters and support, in particular, have the greatest impact. Based on that insight we can use our investment fund to rapidly scale what works across England.”


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  1. This makes me angry. Thirty years ago the Technical and Vocational Educational Initiative did much to raise the effectiveness of work-related education including Careers Education and Guidance (CEG). It began to die when funding ceased and was given a death blow by Michael Gove.
    The Education Act 2011 said Key Stage 4 pupils in LA maintained schools had to have access to independent and impartial careers guidance. Some academies have this requirement in their funding agreements but not all.
    By the time the 2011 came into force, the Coalition said schools didn’t have to provide CEG or work-related education.
    Gove gave evidence to the Education Select Committee’s inquiry into careers education. He told them professional careers officers were ‘self-interested’ parties talking ‘garbage’. David Laws, in his book ‘Coalition’, said Gove loathed careers officers (along with local authorities and sex educators among others).
    Lack of funding and Michael Gove bear responsibility for the dire state of work-related education and CEG.
    The Education Select Committee’s report is here:

  2. Pete Crockett

    Gove in his haste to get rid of Connexions left a void in careers guidance and support, He abolished Connexions with no other thought or idea on how to shape careers education other than to exhort already hard working teachers to take on more for less. The most vulnerable and disadvantaged pupils were the ones most damaged by his ideological zeal. Few would claim Connexions to be perfect but the service was less imperfect than the mess Gove left. This type of research should have been undertaken before Connexions was abolished not some four to five years after. I have a list of things I personally disliked about Gove”s tenure as Secretary of State for Education – this is probably the one that angers me most.

  3. The National Careers Council (2012-2014) reported directly to Government and the Second Report recommended “The Government should provide schools and colleges with free and/or subsidised access to independent and impartial career development professionals’ expertise. This would help in the transition phase to support schools and colleges to meet their new statutory duties. Such support would achieve immediate improvements in careers education and guidance, particularly for young people. It would help
    schools and colleges make better use of labour market intelligence/information (LMI), teacher support, improved education and employer links and work with parents/carers. It would also help them to put in
    place an effective careers strategy and implementation plan and provide better coherence across local areas.”(p.5)
    The evidence-base is clear and there is no shortage of robust findings.