Effective careers guidance in colleges: new IES research identifies best practice

IES News

12 Nov 2018

Colleges in England are reacting to new guidance from government on careers provision, including the target of meeting the Gatsby Benchmarks, which outline effective careers guidance, by 2020. New IES research, on behalf of the Careers & Enterprise Company, considers the impact of careers guidance, with examples of best practice which colleges can integrate into their current activities.

High-quality careers provision is found to result in improvements in both academic achievements and employment outcomes. Previous research suggests that young adults that have received careers talks with employers between the ages of 16-19 (college age) can be up to 78 per cent less likely to be not in education, employment and training (NEET) than peers who do not do the activity.

Through in-depth case-study research with colleges, the research identified key lessons for practice in this area. These include the need for visible careers teams and shared ownership of careers activities across the college, involving pastoral, curriculum, marketing and careers teams.

Offering tailored provision is also found to be important, and the report highlights the example of Gateshead College’s careers week, where the careers team liaises with staff at each of the college’s campuses, to offer tailored programmes relating to particular subject areas, responding to student feedback.

Measuring the impact of college provision is also of importance, in order that provision can develop and evolve in response to student needs. Through the collection and analysis of data, several of the case-study colleges were measuring the impact of provision and feeding this in to thorough annual self-assessments.

The report highlights how, at Chichester College Group, a monitoring system has been developed to track student support activities, including enrichment. The system allows careers staff to interrogate the data on participation and student feedback, at course and departmental level, in their ongoing evaluation of careers provision.

Careers provision in colleges: What works?

Read the full report