The Gatsby Benchmarks and the Careers Strategy

The Government is under increasing pressure to publish its long awaited  careers strategy. It has promised to release the  strategy ’ this autumn’. The ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’  is upon us.The clock ticking.  Pressure is also mounting for it to have a more inclusive approach to the so-called Gatsby benchmarks ,produced by Sir John Holman which define the key concurrent  activities required to deliver high quality Careers Guidance. Ministers and the Careers and Enterprise Company consistently champion just two of the eight benchmarks, covering work experience and engagement with employers,   largely to the exclusion of the other six . It is widely accepted that the benchmarks are interdependent and mutually supportive, so that if just some activities take place, then the impact on outcomes will be diminished. The current narrative around careers guidance, particularly articulated   by Ministers, focuses almost entirely on the activities of the Careers and Enterprise company, and largely ignores what is happening through the National Careers Service and through other professional careers guidance  providers,  partnerships and hubs where there are many examples of outstanding practice often  confirmed  by Ofsted inspections. We should be acknowledging and   building on this best practice

Recently, the Minister Robert Goodwill in response to a PQ from Gordon Marsden, Labours Skills and HE spokesman said’  ‘The careers strategy will include proposals to improve the quality and coverage of careers advice in schools. These proposals will be informed by evidence regarding what works. The Gatsby benchmarks are based on the best national and international research and define excellence in careers provision. A two year pilot of the Gatsby benchmarks in the North East has demonstrated that significant improvements can be made.’ These improvements relied on an inclusive approach to the Benchmarks.

As the Minister stated Schools and colleges within the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) were selected in 2015 to pilot a new national careers guidance framework. This was  designed to encourage the next generation of young people to make fully informed decisions and to begin to equip them with the skills employers need. The pilot involved two years of intensive careers activity with schools, colleges and local businesses and is  including   four years of data collection, gathered and analysed by an independent evaluator, who will report on the impact of the national pilot in terms of student outcomes and progression into higher education, apprenticeships or employment. Ryan Gibson, National Facilitator for the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks Pilot at the NE LEP, said in June this year :

“The programme has been transformational in terms of improving students’ access to careers education and helping them develop the skills employers need. The initiatives the North East LEP has developed as part of the Career Guidance Benchmarks pilot have improved collaboration between the business community and the education sector, as well as provide teaching staff with workplace training and personal development opportunities to better equip them with the knowledge and skills to provide effective careers advice to students.”

Its pretty obvious that the government needs to focus on what works on the ground, learn from it , build on it and that the  resources that are available  should be directed to this end. At the moment this just isnt happening, to the frustration  of professional  guidance practitioners and to the cost of  people, including  many of our youngest and  most disadvantaged students  , seeking to make informed  career choices.Hopefully,  the Ministers reply , referencing the benchmarks  and evidence of what works represents  a nuanced  shift in policy. But dont hold your breath!

Eight Gatsby Benchmarks

A stable careers programme

Learning from career and labour market information

Addressing the needs of each pupil

Linking curriculum learning to careers

Encounters with employers and employees

Experiences of workplaces

Encounters with further and higher education

Personal guidance

Benchmarks

 

See also  John Yarhams article in FE News October 2017

FE News

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NEW CAREER MANAGEMENT QUALITY ALLIANCE ESTABLISHED-TO PUSH FOR INCLUSIVE CAREERS STRATEGY

Careers Guidance-A New Alliance to work with the Government  

A new careers strategy was first proposed by the Government back in December 2015, in response to the universal view from education and business that, in many areas, access to careers advice for young people was patchy and inadequate and ‘was on life support’ (CBI 2013)

Four major organisations in the career development space have now  come together to create a new alliance: The Career Management Quality Alliance (CMQA) which is  keen to help expedite this  new,  long delayed Careers Strategy.

Chair of the Alliance and President of the Career Development Institute, Virginia Isaac, said “We want to be helpful to Government. To move things along, we have gathered the views of key education and careers bodies in the country and produced a position statement ‘A Careers Strategy that Works for Everyone’. If this thinking can be incorporated into government policy there will be a good chance of breaking through the current log-jam and making good some of the acute erosion of career guidance in recent times”.

The Career Management Quality Alliance comprises:

The Career Development Institute (CDI): the UK-wide professional body for everyone working in career education, career information, advice and guidance and career coaching.

www.thecdi.net

Careers England: the trade association for employer organisations and traders involved in the

provision of products and services promoting career education and guidance in England.

www.careersengland.org.uk

Assessment Services Ltd: the assessment body for the matrix standard, the Government owned quality standard for organisations providing information, advice and guidance

services. www.assessmentservices.com

The Quality in Careers Consortium: which oversees the Quality in Careers Standard, the national quality award for careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) in schools, colleges and work-based learning. www.qualityincareers.org.uk

The  Career Management Quality Alliance wants the governments long awaited Careers Strategy   to be published  soon after Parliaments return from  its Summer Recess, “ to prevent further erosion of services and to enable us to work together to build a system that enables every citizen to contribute effectively to the economy and to have a successful and fulfilling career”

A statement from the Alliance, issued on 2 August,  sets out the key elements,   in the form of twelve points, that it proposes should be included in a  Careers strategy . The Alliance says it is ready to work with the Government to agree the final strategy and to support its effective implementation.

  1. The strategy must set out a vision that support for career management should be available to everyone throughout life, and it should pay equal attention to services for young people and for adults.
  2. The focus should be on both enabling individuals to develop the skills and qualities needed to plan and manage their own careers (commonly referred to as ‘career management and employability skills’) and providing access to personal career guidance at times when it is needed.
  3. Schools and colleges should be encouraged to adopt the eight Gatsby benchmarks of good careers practice and to appoint a careers leader with responsibility for the provision of careers support.
  4. The statutory duty to provide careers education in the curriculum should be reinstated and raised to age 18. It should be supported by a recommended national framework of career management and employability skills.
  5. All schools and colleges should be strongly recommended to achieve the Quality in Careers Standard and incentivised to do so through development funding linked to a commitment to achieving the Standard.
  6. To meet the statutory duty to secure access to impartial careers guidance, schools and colleges should be required to use the services only of careers advisers with a professional qualification in career guidance and, where they commission services from an external organisation, they should ensure that the organisation is accredited to the matrix Standard.
  7. A network of Career Development Co-ordinators should be established across the country, to work with the Enterprise Co-ordinators in the LEPs (whose work focuses on the twoGatsby benchmarks that relate to engaging with employers), to support schools and college with their careers programmes.
  1. The specification for the National Careers Service should be revised to ensure that its services reach all adults and that it provides support for developing career management and employability skills as well as information, advice and guidance. Its services should also be extended to young people who are NEET, home educated or not in school or college for any other reason.
  2. All careers advisers working in the National Careers Service must hold, or be working towards, an appropriate professional qualification.
  3. All organisations providing career management and employability services, through theNational Careers Service and other publicly funded support, must be accredited to the matrix Standard.
  1. Private sector organisations and traders providing career management services that are not publicly-funded, should be encouraged to use professionally qualified staff and to work towards the matrix Standard.
  2. The Government should investigate how changes to the tax system and development loans could encourage both individuals and employers to invest in career management support