Career Development Policy Group

An emergency career development plan to maintain employment, productivity and progression post-Covid-19

Career Development Policy Group Logo

What is this policy group?

The Career Development Policy Group brings together a range of organisations who believe that it is essential that citizens have an opportunity to access support in their careers. The group works with the Government and other stakeholders to develop policies and initiatives that support career development.

Investing in careers: What is career guidance worth? 18th July 2023

On Tuesday 18th July, Professor Tristram Hooley, Professor Siobhan Neary and Dr Chris Percy presented the new iCeGS paper in parliament with the aim of engaging policymakers in thinking about, and ultimately funding and improving the career guidance system.

The new paper is available to download to read in full. Investing in Careers – What is Career Guidance  Worth?

About the paper

In the paper we explore how career guidance can support individuals and groups to discover more about work, leisure and learning and to consider their place in the world and plan for their futures. We note that effective career guidance is associated with a range of economic and social benefits and argue that ultimately higher employment, better skills alignment, increased productivity and improved employee engagement pay off at the national level for government, in terms of a well-functioning economy and improved tax returns.

Career guidance can be aimed at young people and others in education, those in work, those out of work, including people who are economically inactive, and older workers considering when to retire. It aims to offer people new opportunities and inspiration, to help them to realise their potential and make choices that will help them build happy and successful lives and contribute to their community.

We discuss the strengths of the current career guidance system in England and argue that it has several strengths as it builds on a long tradition of provision, is publicly funded, supported by a skilled profession and a growing evidence base. However, it is also short of funding, lacks coherence and consistency, offers limited and patchy access and has to deal with low public awareness of career guidance. It is also increasingly facing recruitment and retention issues within the workforce.

To address these shortcoming we argue that the Career Development Policy Group‘s proposal for a Career Guidance Guarantee is what is needed. We then go on to cost the Guarantee and compart it to existing funding.


We have done extensive costing work to estimate how much the government is currently spending on career guidance and to compare that to the level of spend in 2009. We estimate the figures as follows.

  • We currently spend £68 per person, per year on the delivery of career guidance to young people. The equivalent figure in 2009 (adjusted for inflation) was £159.
  • We currently spend £26 per person, per year on the delivery of career guidance to adults. The equivalent figure in 2009 (adjusted for inflation) was £35.

The level of investment is one of the major issues that career guidance in England faces. However, it is not the only one. Funding is currently highly fragmented and dependent on a series of local decisions in schools, colleges, universities and local authorities. There is a desperate need to manage funding more strategically to ensure greater consistency.

The career guidance workforce has also been depleted and the system has been de-professionalised. There is a need to take actions to improve quality and strengthen the professionalism of the system.

The Career Guidance Guarantee represents is a thought through and costed plan to achieve the improvements that are needed. To implement it in full we would need to spend an additional £315m on youth careers services and an additional £235m on adult careers services. This equates to an average additional spend of £47 per person on career guidance for young people and an additional £6 per head on working age adults. This represents a very modest new investment, which when combined with the other reforms in the Career Guidance Guarantee would lead to a much more effective system.

There is a strong and growing evidence base on career guidance. Robust studies have found impacts on attitudes and behaviours, NEET levels, increased likelihood of disadvantaged young people enrolling in higher education, improved employment levels and higher income.

If, as the evidence suggests, the Career Guidance Guarantee led to an uplift of around 5% in salary for at least 1% of the population, it would pay for itself in terms of the increased tax revenue being paid to the Exchequer. Given this, it is important that spending on career guidance is viewed as an investment in the human capital of the country.

More emergent evidence on the return on investment of career guidance suggests that for every pound spent on youth guidance the country can expect to receive £2.50. While for every pound spent on guidance with unemployed adults the figure is £3.20.

I hope that you enjoy this paper and find it useful in any conversations that you have with funders, policymakers and other decision makers.

Career Guidance Guarantee launch – 20th October 2021

The CDPG believes that England should further develop its career guidance system with everyone able to benefit from a government-backed Career Guidance Guarantee.

The CDPG launched the Career Guidance Guarantee on Wednesday 20th October from 2pm-3:30pm. The event was open to everyone working in the career development sector and was a chance to learn all about the Career Guidance Guarantee from key organisations that make up the CDPG and hear how you can show your support.

This virtual event was free to attend and the beginning of the CDPG’s activities to champion the Career Guidance Guarantee and fully embed career guidance in England’s education and employment systems. 

Career Guidance Guarantee



Tuesday 2 March at 12.30 - 2.00pm


The government’s new white paper makes some welcome proposals to improve careers provision, but it lacks ambition largely ignores the current crisis, and does not address the need for career support for people outside of compulsory education. Given the current crisis, there is a need to move forward quickly with the white paper’s proposals and build on them with an emergency plan to invest in career guidance.

The Career Development Policy Group - The CDI, Careers England, CRAC, iCeGS and AGCAS - are working together on behalf of the career development sector to raise awareness of the importance of careers guidance at this challenging time. 

Join us by attending this first, free, public meeting to launch the debate. We have invited MPs and Lords to discuss how best to take these issues forward with government and other key stakeholders. This Briefing Note highlights the issues this plan should address.


Confirmed panel:

  • Toby Perkins, Labour MP for Chesterfield and Shadow Minister (Education)
  • Lord Shipley, OBE, Liberal Democrat, Chair of the Youth Unemployment Select Committee
  • Lord Lucas, Conservative Excepted Hereditary peer 

Chaired by Professor Tristram Hooley, introduced by Jan Ellis, CDI Chief Executive

Booking information

Book your place here.

Briefing Paper 

The Skills for Jobs White Paper Implications for career development (Jan 2021) 


The Department for Education published Skills for jobs: Lifelong learning for opportunity and growth on Thursday 21st January 2021. The white paper is wide-ranging and includes a discussion of compulsory and post-compulsory education and lifelong learning. There are also several specific proposals that relate to the organisation of England’s careers education and guidance system.

Key proposals:

The white paper aims to (1) increase the availability of skills to the economy and the alignment of education with the needs of business; (2) provide a mechanism for ‘levelling up’ and increasing opportunity for all citizens by improving access to learning; and (3) rebalance the education system away from universities and towards vocational and technical education. It seeks to achieve this through a range of measures including by:

Issues raised by the white paper

Full Briefing Paper

An emergency career development plan to maintain employment, productivity and progression post-Covid-19 (June 2020) 

In this paper, we argue that the Government needed to respond to the Covid-19 crisis by taking the following actions.

• In the short-term. A £26 million fund should be created to ensure that allow education leavers, unemployed workers and those being made redundant following furloughing can access high-quality career guidance between now and the end of 2020. This money could be channelled through existing agencies and used to take on additional careers professionals to deliver support where necessary. If 1 in 89 people who received a careers interview were able to find and keep a job that they otherwise would not have found, this service would pay for itself.

• In the medium-term the infrastructure for career guidance needs to be enhanced so that career guidance can be more consistently embedded across the life course. A new careers strategy should be published in January 2021 to replace the current strategy, which ends in 2020.

• In long-term England needs a review of the current, fragmented career guidance system and the creation of a more robust lifelong guidance system.  

Access the full paper 

An emergency career development plan

What did the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announce in the Summer Economic Update in Parliament in July 2020?

'Supporting jobs'

As part of the plan to support jobs, a Job Retention Bonus will be introduced to help firms keep furloughed workers. UK Employers will receive a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.

A new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme will also be launched to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across the country. Those aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment, will be eligible. Funding available for each six-month job placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week – and employers will be able to top this wage up.

A total of £1.6 billion will be invested in scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships to help people looking for a job. Young people, who are amongst the worst hit by the crisis, will benefit from this. This includes:

 Source: Chancellor's Plan for Jobs to help the UK's recovery

Career guidance and the Plan for Jobs: Ensuring impact (July 2020) 

This document was produced by the Career Development Policy Group, outlining why the Government urgently needs to review the National Careers Service funding arrangements for the £32 million to have the maximum impact. 

Why is career guidance important? Career guidance describes a series of interventions designed to help individuals to make decisions, manage their careers and successfully manage transitions. Evidence shows that is can support governments to achieve their economic, educational and social policy goals. Over the next few months, over 800,000 young people will be entering the labour market while a substantial proportion of the nine million furloughed workers are facing redundancy. The Bank of England anticipates that unemployment will double and exceed two million people by the end of the year. During this labour market crisis, career guidance is more important than ever. Career guidance can integrate young people into the world of work and help vulnerable workers and unemployed people to find work, further training or undertake the work-related activities that will maintain their contact with the labour market. 

Access the full paper 

Career guidance and the Plan for Jobs: Ensuring impact

Open Letter to Gillian Keegan - Minister for Apprenticeship & Skills (Oct 2020)

Open Letter to Gillian Keegan (Minister for Apprenticeship and Skills within the Department for Education) so that all adults can get access to the National Careers Service, a Career Guidance Guarantee.

There is confusion within the sector about why the government have added new funding into the National Careers Service budget but refused to open up the groups that the Service can work with, resulting in the National Careers Service being told that workers who have been made redundant or unemployed are not a priority for it to see.

Along with hundreds of other people, the group set this out in an open letter to Gillian Keegan that we sent on Thursday 28th October. In it, we argue that the government needs to review the way in which the National Careers Service is funded and make the following changes.

We urge everyone to follow up this letter with their own communications to the Minister (either on Twitter or by email).

It is hoped that she will quickly respond to the open letter and ensure that the money that was identified in the Plan for Jobs is actually able to do the work that is needed. 

Open Letter to Gillian Keegan

Letter reply from Gillian Keegan 

This document is useful as it sets out what the government’s policy is on the area. However, it misses a lot of the problems that I have been trying to highlight along with colleagues in the Career Development Policy Group and the wider careers and education sectors.

Letter from Gillian Keegan on career guidance


Open Letter to Gavin Williamson calling for a Career Guidance Guarantee (June 2020)

The Career Development Policy Group and the Fair Education Alliance have written an open letter to the Secretary of State calling for the Department for Education to introduce a Career Guidance Guarantee for young people and unemployed adults. 

This letter calls for every young person and unemployed adult to have access to career guidance to support them to make informed decisions. It is essential that individuals can find the destinations that are right for them so that they can make the most of the available opportunities post Covid-19. 

We had over 800 signature to this letter. 

Open letter to Gavin Williamson

3 people talking

Policy Group Partners and further information.

AGCAS is the [UK and Ireland] expert membership organisation for higher education student career development and graduate employment professionals. Through our members, we support the best possible career outcomes from higher education for individuals, institutions, society and the economy.

To find out more: About the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (

Careers England Ltd is the sole trade association for organisations involved in the provision of Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) products and services in England for people of all ages. Our members provide aspects of some, or all, of the four components of CEIAG:

  • Careers Education (Career Learning)
  • Careers Information
  • Careers Advice
  • Careers Guidance

In a typical academic year, our members provide face to face careers support to just under three-quarters of a million individuals in England. This includes working in over 1100 schools to provide CEIAG to over 130,000 young people. In addition, we deliver careers help to 167,000 16 to 20-year-olds, 80,000 20 to 24-year-olds and around 350,000 adults aged at least 24 years.

The members of Careers England Ltd comprise the majority of prime and sub-contracted deliverers of the National Careers Service. They also deliver careers guidance services for local authorities, schools and colleges across England. Most of our members are charities and social enterprises. We also have a number of sole traders and other organisations who, although not delivery services, are engaged with the careers sector.

To find out more:

Careers Research and Advisory Centre

CRAC provides research, intelligence and innovation services for all those who support the career development of people of all ages and in all sectors.

We work in partnership with government agencies, education organisations and providers and employers and professional bodies.



The CDI is the single UK-wide professional body for everyone working in the fields of career education; career information, advice and guidance; career coaching, career consultancy and career management. We opened our doors on 2 April 2013.

 It had been the goal for many years of the founding bodies - ACEG; ACPi-UK; ICG and NAEGA - to join together and create a single voice for the Career Development sector. 

 As the professional body for the sector, our aims are to support members to maintain their professionalism by helping them to: 

  • become qualified to a relevant level;
  • adopt professional values and adhere to the CDI Code of Ethics;
  • recognise the need to maintain and develop their own skills and knowledge;
  • integrate  current research and theory into practice;
  • keep up to date with sectoral, societal and technological developments;
  • publicly advocate for their profession in the interest of clients.

To Find out more:

The Fair Education Alliance is a coalition of 189 organisations which aims to tackle inequality in the education system. We bring together diverse voices to lead change. We facilitate collaboration and support our network of members to work together to amplify and increase their impact. We use our collective voice and resources to achieve systemic change that wouldn't be possible alone.

To find out more:

About ISE

The Institute of Student Employers (ISE), formerly the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation established in 1968.

As the UK’s leading independent voice for student employers, our vision is that the success of every business is maximised by full access to student talent.

We achieve this by bringing together employers, the education sector and supplier partners, providing leadership and support in all aspects of student recruitment and development.

About ISE - Institute of Student Employers | ISE 

The International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) is a research centre with an expertise in career development and widening access. The Centre conducts research, provides consultancy to the career sector, offers a range of training and delivers a number of accredited learning programmes up to and including doctoral level. A history of the Centre is available in the book. Hyde, C. (2014): A Beacon for Guidance.

The Centre employs a team of researchers with a range of academic and professional backgrounds and works closely with a network of research associates and partners who contribute specialist knowledge and capacity. iCeGS has a strong ethos which connects our research to policy and practice.