The impact of careers work making the case
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The Impact of Careers Work: making the case. Dr. Deirdre Hughes, OBE Commissioner, UKCES Chair, National Careers Council Associate Fellow, Warwick Institute for Employment Research Director, DMH Associates. Insight & perspective. Policy. Practice. Research. Policy. Research.

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The Impact of Careers Work: making the case

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The Impact of Careers Work: making the case

Dr. Deirdre Hughes, OBE

Commissioner, UKCES

Chair, National Careers Council

Associate Fellow, Warwick Institute for Employment Research

Director, DMH Associates

Insight & perspective








  • Careers and labour market policies: individuals, jobs, skills and growth

  • Challenges: young people’s participation in learning and work

  • Careers impact: current prospects and future possibilities

  • Careers intelligence: practical approaches

Public Policy

  • Learning goals

  • Labour market goals

  • Social equity goals

    -Reframed to support policies for sustained jobs, growth and skills

Shifting paradigm in England

From this…

To this…

“There is an urgent need to raise UK Skills levels to help drive productivity, growth and jobs.”

Vince Cable,

Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

“The skills and capabilities of our People are ultimately the basis for our long-term competitiveness.”

Charlie Mayfield,

Chairman, UK Commission for Employment and Skills

Intermediate Skills

High Skills

Low Skills

UK, compared to OECD competitors, in low, intermediate and higher level skills

Source: Bosworth, 2012

Training in the UK

There are 2.3 millionbusinesses of 1+ across the UK.

Of which...

59% train

(1.3 million)

41% do not train

(0.9 million)

Of those who do not train:



Perceived need but met barriers*

Said they had no training need

*Also includes small proportion that said don’t know or no reason, or that people learnt as they went

Barriers cited include:






Lack of information

about what is available

Major categories of public sector workers


  • Civil servants 522

  • Teachers (England & Wales)476

  • Nurses (England) 408

  • Police285

  • HM Forces 193

  • Doctors134

  • Teaching assistants (England)125

  • Others 3,635

    Total 5,778

    Source: IFS

Presentation not to be distributed without prior consent fromDr Deirdre Hughes

Training in the UK

Occupation matters

Investment by Sector

Creative & Digital £17m

Public Services £12.3m

Manufacturing £19.5m


CC Skills


Skills for














UKCES £75m

Agriculture £3.3m

Service £18.4m









Skills for






Built Environment £4.4m

Key labour market challenges for youth (and adults)

Source: ILO, 2010a, p.54

Youth Unemployment (Under 25) in 2012

  • Turbulent economies and fast changing political and social structures

  • Careers work viewed as a lubricant that supports individuals, businesses and educational institutions

  • Moves from learning to earning more problematic

  • Fewer jobs and less ‘decent work’ available

  • Skills of young people are generally not in high demand from employers

  • Not simply a case of mismatch or shortfall in skills

  • Youth transitions are reportedly easier and safer in Austria, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands

Full report available at:

The changing landscape

  • Tougher policy measures

  • New responsibilities: balance between individuals, state and markets

  • Policy levers:

    • Continuing vocational training

    • Curriculum specific reforms

    • Communication between and across institutions and VET programmes

    • Co-financed measures

    • Co-training arrangements

Careers Learning Programme(s)

What does good look like?

A Practical Guide to Using the ACEG Framework for Careers and Work-Related Learning

Why do it?

Will it really make a difference?

How will you know?

Making a difference

The evidence-base

  • The research evidence has been largely hidden!

  • Key facts We ‘Know for Sure’

  • Links have to be made to added-value benefits, cost savings and ‘extreme collaboration’

  • Following the ‘brick dust’ rather than setting the vision

Presentation not to be distributed without prior consent from Dr Deirdre Hughes

10 Key Facts We ‘Know for Sure’

  • Childhood socialisation influences adult work performance and job satisfaction.

  • The transition from school to work can be smoothed.

  • Knowing how the world-of work is organised eases vocational decision making and job transitions.

  • Individuals who have a high level of decision-making capability and a low level of life complexity generally experience less difficulty in making choices. Contacts also matter!

  • Career learning supports occupational choice and enhance transitions into learning and work.

    (Hughes & Savickas, 2009)

Presentation not to be distributed without prior consent from Dr Deirdre Hughes

Key Fact No 2

  • Morris et al. (1999) examined the impact of careers education and guidance provision on young people’s transition post-16. A key finding was that young people with more highly developed career exploration skills were more positive and confident about the choices they made post-16 and were more likely to make a successful transition. ‘The key factor that seemed to underpin successful transition at 16 was the level of young people’s career exploration skills.’

  • Morris (2004) explored findings from large-scale research studies on careers education and guidance conducted over the previous decade. It is possible to identify the skills that promote successful transition and to trace links between successful transition and programmes of careers education and guidance. In particular, the importance of career exploration skills were highlighted; for example, the skills that young people need in order to use computerised systems, paper sources and people, to enable them to find out about their career options and/or the courses available to them.

Presentation not to be distributed without prior consent from Dr Deirdre Hughes

10 Key Facts We ‘Know for Sure’

  • Congruence between the worker and the job improves performance.

  • Workers can learn to cope more effectively with occupational stress.

  • Conflicts between career aspirations, work responsibilities and family obligations can cause personal tensions and can result in lower productivity in the workplace.

  • Occupational segregation and skill shortages are major inhibitors to individual and workforce development

  • Part-time and temporary work affects the socialisation and development of adolescents.

    (Hughes & Savickas, 2009)

Presentation not to be distributed without prior consent from Dr Deirdre Hughes

Practical Approaches

  • Database spreadsheets for systematically

    comparing ‘inputs’ and ‘outputs’ linked to

    progression and achievement rates

  • Tailored reports for school principals and governors

  • Differing survey questionnaires and approaches used for gaining feedback to feed back into curriculum / service design and curriculum delivery

  • Reflective journals / CPD module for recording impact and assessment of careers and guidance-related interventions

  • Where are the jobs? – Powerpoint template for adaptation


    Inspiring others as we too operate in a climate of changing fiscal policy and labour market uncertainty.

Presentation not to be distributed without prior consent from Dr Deirdre Hughes

What’s your vision? The storyboard on careers

  • Measuring activities: impact on learners aspirations, achievements and attainment

  • Making effective use of hard & soft data

  • Motivating individuals: decision-making engagement & resilience

  • Managing expectations: career adaptability

  • Meaning and relevance to different individuals & groups: students, staff, parents, governors, Ofsted, quality assessors etc.

    Getting started:

A call for ‘solution-focussed approaches’

“The symbol in Chinese for crisis is made up of two ideographs: one means danger, the other means opportunity. This symbol is a reminder that we can choose to turn a crisis into an opportunity or into a negative experience.”

“The difference between try and triumph is a little umph ”

Thank You! For further information

Deirdre Hughes,

DMH Associates


116 Heanor Road,





tel: 07533 545057

email: [email protected]

Skype: deirdre.hughes3

Careers policy, research, training and consultancy services at a local, national, European and international level.

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