Evaluation of the Careers Leader Training

Williams J, Akehurst G, Alexander K, Pollard E, Williams C, Hooley T |   | Institute for Employment Studies | May 2020

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With funding from government, The Careers & Enterprise Company led the development of a training specification for Careers Leaders and established a fund to enable a wide range of providers to offer Careers Leader training. The Careers Leader funding covered the cost of the training which was offered to Careers Leaders for free and a £1,000 bursary which the Careers Leaders school or college could claim upon successful completion of the training.

In contracting the provision, The Careers & Enterprise Company aimed to provide access to both local and national provision for Careers Leaders across the country and to allow Careers Leaders to choose between among a range of different delivery options. The funding was also designed to give Careers Leaders the choice between non-accredited and accredited training with accreditation offered at both Level 6 and Level 7.

The Careers & Enterprise Company commissioned this qualitative evaluation of the Careers Leader training in August 2019. The aim of the research was to explore how well the Careers Leader model was working in schools and colleges and how far the training supports new and existing Careers Leaders to establish themselves in a leadership position within their school or college and successfully implement a Gatsby-inspired careers programme. The key objectives were:

■       Assess the implementation of the training;

■       Understand participants’ reasons for taking part;

■       Examine schools’ and colleges; experiences of the training programmes, and;

■       Identify perceived impacts.

After a short period of desk research to understand the different Careers Leader training offers from the 14 providers, the research team conducted telephone interviews with three types of stakeholders – training providers, Careers Leaders, and Senior Leadership Team (SLT) colleagues of Careers Leaders.

Across the Careers Leader interviews, there was a wide variety in the extent of their careers experience with some having only one or two years’ experience formally working in careers, while some of the most experienced had been working in the field for 35 years. The Careers Leaders who took part in the research, also reported considerable diversity in their position in the school and thus the positioning of careers in the institution and of their Careers Leader role (i.e. whether operational, strategic or both). Many Careers Leaders reported that they had limited amounts of time to devote to Careers Leadership in their school or college; and reported that the role was important and demanding, and included a wide variety of jobs.