Making good career decisions transcript

I’m Siobhan Neary, Head of the International Centre for Guidance Studies. We specialise in research focused on career development and employability.

In 2014, we were commissioned by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation to identify what world-class careers guidance looks like.

The project was a response to an Ofsted study into the quality of career guidance. Back in 2011, legislation had given schools and colleges direct responsibility for delivering careers support to their students, but Ofsted’s report revealed that the quality of this guidance was often patchy and poor.

We started by looking at the best careers support given to students around the world. We studied guidance from institutions in Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Canada and Finland, as well as five independent schools here in the UK.

Our observations were then distilled into what has become known as the Gatsby Benchmarks.

There are 8 user-friendly benchmarks which offer schools and colleges a robust way to measure and evaluate the careers guidance they provide.

The Gatsby Benchmarks formed the foundation of the Department for Education’s 2017 Careers Strategy. This made it a requirement for all schools and colleges to apply the benchmarks by 2020.

So today, every student in mainstream secondary education in England can now benefit from the highest standards of excellence in their school’s career guidance programme.

Our work at the University of Derby’s International Centre for Guidance Studies also led to the Department for Education requiring schools to appoint a Careers Leader to oversee their guidance programme.

We worked with the Careers and Enterprise Company to support schools in establishing this new role, and to offer training and development opportunities to staff acting as Careers Leaders.

The Gatsby Benchmarks have since been adapted for use across 68 institutions in Spain, and educational bodies in Hong Kong, Sweden and Norway are interested in rolling out similar programmes.

I’m also excited about our own project that is interpreting the Gatsby Benchmarks for adult learners. It will be interesting to see how they translate to the world of adult education.