international centre for guidance studies - current research

On this page, you can out more about our current and past project research.  

The International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) is a research centre with expertise in career development and widening access. The Centre conducts research, provides consultancy to the career sector, offers a range of CPD, and delivers training for career development professionals and Career Leaders, in addition to doctoral-level study.

The Centre employs a team of researchers and lecturers with a range of academic and professional backgrounds. We work closely with a network of research associates and partners who contribute specialist knowledge and capacity as required. iCeGS has a strong ethos that connects social justice to policy and practices through our research. 

Below is an outline of what we are working on and have completed recently.

Our Current Projects

Nicki Moore at iCeGS is working with a team of researchers from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, to conduct research that will examine current provisions and practices which introduce and develop career-related foundational skills in Canadian children in the age range 9 to 11 years. The project will highlight primary educators' critical and often unrecognised work, including their strategies and interventions to develop these vital skills. Little is currently known about teacher practices in this field, and the professional association for career development practitioners in Canada (CERIC) has identified a need to address this knowledge gap. The project team wishes to establish various policies and classroom practices that facilitate career learning and the experience of the learners who receive such activities.  

The project will run from February 2020 until March 2022 and will use a mixed-methods, multi-phase approach to respond to the research questions. The research will include the geographical, cultural, socioeconomic, rural, suburban and urban diversity essential for a pan-Canadian study. Data will be gathered from educators, parents, and 9-11-year-old learners across Canada and individuals into the broader business and industry communities. Data will be collected in English and French using traditional approaches, such as surveys, interviews and focus groups, in conjunction with innovative methods, including digital technology.  

The project will be relevant for policymakers and practitioners tasked with developing effective interventions to aid the development of these critical foundation career-development skills and knowledge. 

At last week's Cannexus conference on January 6th, Nicki Moore presented initial findings of the research into career development for children across Canada in the age range 9-12 years. A Research Circle approach was used to share information about the CERIC-funded pan-Canadian study which is exploring career development among this age group. The project is led by Dr Lorraine Godden and includes several other Canadian-based research partners and explores what is happening in elementary education across jurisdictions in Canada related to introducing and building career-related foundational skills. In the coming months, it will produce a teacher toolkit to inform classroom practice. Listen to the Research Circle to learn more about the project and opportunities to get involved.  

Tom Staunton and Nicki Moore have been delivering on the Careers and Enterprise Company's Career Leaders Training since 2019. Over the past year, this has mainly been delivered online, but we are returning to face-to-face delivery for both our accredited and non-accredited programs this academic year.  One of the positive aspects of the program running for a few years now is that we are increasingly having alumni getting in contact to talk about the positive impact training at iCeGS has had. Alumni have particularly focussed on the confidence to argue for careers provision internally in school's and colleges and to see how to translate theory into practice to transform students' lives. 

The topic of Chartered status has been around for a long while. The Federation of Professional Associations in Guidance (UK) produced a document for the Department for Education and Skills (FedPAG 2001) which outlined the advantages of becoming Chartered. This was not the first time that this had been discussed, and a previous president of the ICG, Terry Collins, raised this in the 1980’s.

There have been many changes over the last few years to the career development sector and the organisations who support those that work in the field. The CDI commissioned the team at iCeGS to undertake scoping research in 2021. This research helped us to understand the processes required to successfully petition, some the enablers and motivators, some of the barriers and detractors, and a realistic time frame

This has been followed by a further commission to explore the perceptions of practitioners and stakeholders. This research sets out to determine:

  • The perceptions of the impact of becoming a Chartered profession.
  • The extent to which practitioners, employers and other stakeholders support Chartership for the career development sector and what are the drivers for this?
  • The extent to which the costs, processes and practices required to secure individual chartership are preferred over the existing processes and practices associated with recognising standards and competencies across current professional organisations.
  • To discover the gaps in the evidence base which are needed to secure a successful petition for Chartered Status for the professional body?
  • Recommendations for the next steps for the Chartered Status project?

The research uses a mixed-methods approach, including

  • A literature review
  • A survey
  • Focus groups
  • Individual interviews.

The findings will be reported in July 2022.

In partnership with SQW, Professor Siobhan Neary has been supporting the National Careers Service to capture and disseminate best practices. The continuous improvement programme, which includes evaluations of new initiatives, annual reviews, and action learning sets, has helped Primes work collectively to identify common challenges and appropriate solutions. The programme has been supported by an online CPD programme, COACH, consisting of 13 units that focus on practitioner development. The Units are all mapped against the National Occupational Standards in career guidance and development at level 4 and level 6.  

Recently Completed Projects

Further details of our recently completed projects. 

In partnership with the Institute of Employment Research (IER), Professor Siobhan Neary was commissioned by the West of England Combined Authority to map the provision of career education information, advice, and guidance across the region. This research project consisted of interviews with providers and users of services to identify how provision could be better coordinated and enhanced. A CEIAG strategy was developed as an outcome of the project.  

Dr Jill Hanson and Professor Siobhan Neary conducted a process and impact evaluation on the CEC’s Personal Guidance Fund from 2018 until 2020.

The evaluation used a mixed-method approach, making use of primary and secondary data to investigate: 

  1. The effectiveness of different approaches. 
  1. Working with different beneficiary groups. 
  1. The impact of personal guidance on students. 
  1. The impact of training on staff and school/college career guidance. 
  1. Key learning regarding scaling up, sustainability and best practice. 

The sixteen funded programmes worked with disadvantaged young people, special educational needs, learners in years 7-9 and parents. The findings suggested significant learning around careers, labour market information, post-16 and post-18 options and future careers. Young people noted increased confidence in making decisions. In delivering practical guidance, technology, full school integration, preparation, and feedback were especially important. 

A project team comprising Nicki Moore, Siobhan Neary and Hannah Blake have been working on a three-year project to investigate the crucial impacts on children's career choices. The project is funded through the European Commission, Erasmus programme. The project has been led by colleagues from EKS in the Czech Republic and includes partners from Greece, Spain, and Denmark. The project was conducted in two phases. In the first, our partners undertook research, including through surveys and focus groups with teachers and young people. The teams then conducted research circles to help them to interpret the data. This was a first for this methodology for iCeGS staff, and we enjoyed working with practitioners from all over the country. This was a productive activity that resulted in producing a new outcomes framework to aid parental engagement.  

Following on from this phase, the teams worked together to produce a pan-European handbook for practitioners. The book provides many practical tips to support practitioners in their work. 

The Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance commissioned iCeGS to conduct a research project which complements the Thriving Lives Toolkit research. This research project is divided into two parts. Dr Hannah Blake leads part A, and she is exploring the suitability of their recently launched Thriving Lives Toolkit for use by schools in Wales and Scotland. The toolkit was based on work done in 2018 by iCeGS, predominantly in England, which operates in a different policy context and with different terminology. Surveys, focus groups, and webinars are being used to identify how the Thriving Lives toolkit may need to be tailored for use in these other nations. 

Part B is led by Dr Jill Hanson and explores the impact of using the Thriving Lives Toolkit on schools who have engaged with it since it was launched. Surveys and focus groups are being used to capture how long schools have been working with the toolkit, their progress in implementing the seven principles, and the impact this has had on the school, the staff, the service children, and their families. 

Tom Staunton has been working with the careers company Adviza on developing a new career guidance model. This has aimed to bring together a greater focus on digital technology for delivery following the pandemic as well as making use of the new CDI Career Development Framework to underpin work better. The project has focussed on working with practitioners to develop their understanding of careers delivery before and during the pandemic and develop new ideas for delivery moving forward. This project has brought together fundamental challenges for the sector to deliver careers work both during and after the pandemic, digital technology possibilities, and a greater focus on careers education as a framework.  

Dr Hannah Blake conducted an evaluation of the co-location of Career Connect services in settings across the city of Manchester. In 2018 the Manchester Local Authority NEET Reduction and Prevention project was launched by Manchester City Council, which introduced the co-location of a careers service across five settings in the Local Authority. The evaluation of the co-location model set out to:

1. Evaluate the impact of the co-location model in achieving the aims set out in the research brief and improving the outcomes for young people at risk of becoming classed as Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET).

2. Explore the impact of the co-location model in Youth Justice and the Care Leavers Service, which aimed to improve the numbers of young people moving into a secure Education, Employment or Training (EET) destination. The evaluation found that the co-location model worked well where; 

  • It was well integrated into the setting.  
  • There was good communication between Career Connect and their advisers and the host setting. 
  • The advisers had experience and specialised knowledge in which to deal with SEND requirements. 
  • The work undertaken by Career Connect added value to the existing services within the host setting. 

The evaluation saw opportunities for improvement in settings where; 

  • Roles and responsibilities of individuals were not understood or acknowledged  
  • Space that was safe and private was not available to the Career Connect advisers and the young people.  

Recommendations included: 

  • Stakeholders should work to integrate Career Connect advisers as closely as possible within all host settings 
  • Host setting staff and Career Connect Advisers should have a good understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities.  
  • There needs to be increased clarity and improvement in the sharing of data  
  • Career Connect advisers need appropriate space to work in their host setting. If this is not available, then an assessment should be made as to whether the host setting is appropriate. 

Nicki Moore has been working with colleagues in the Kenyan Institute for Career Development to support the development of career guidance across the country. This is still in its early stages of development, but Nicki was excited to present at the first annual KICD conference on ‘Quality in career Guidance: Setting the standard’. The conference has resulted in developing a new qualification for practitioners, which will be starting late in 2021.  

In other news

28/9/2021: John Morrison, an alumnus of the Career leaders Training has been promoted to Careers leader for Aquinas College in Manchester. He attributes his success in part to the ongoing relationship with and support from Centre staff. John is an iCeGS Associate. 

29/9/2021: Liz Painter, one of our MA alumni has secured a place on a funded PhD programme at UWS. She has also articles to be published in the NICEC Journal and Career Matters in October. 

1/10/2021: Nicki Moore spent the day at Aquinas College in Stockport working with the careers staff and students to produce some new training resources for the MA Careers Education and Coaching students. Media students helped film and edit videos whilst one of the drama students acted in several mock interview scenarios. Three journalist students then interviewed Nicki about the role and importance of career guidance so that they could produce an article for the college magazine. A brilliant and productive day that thoroughly illustrates how you can include careers in the curriculum!