The impact and prioritisation of careers guidance in Wales

Careers Wales is the national careers provider for Wales and works closely with schools to identify those most in need of support. Schools share information with Careers Wales about the characteristics of pupils – such as levels of attainment, attendance, and free school meal eligibility - to identify those pupils most at risk of becoming disengaged and falling outside the education, training, or employment system. In addition, pupils can complete Careers Wales’s ‘Career Check’ survey: a diagnostic tool that helps careers advisors identify pupils most in need of support.

ADR Wales researchers Dr Katy Huxley and Rhys Davies used anonymised Careers Wales data to examine how the provision of careers support to key stage 4 (KS4) pupils varies by background characteristics and their responses to Careers Wales's ‘Career Check’ survey. The research showed that KS4 pupils who have low levels of attainment and who are eligible for free school meals are most likely to receive guidance irrespective of their responses to the Career Check survey. This demonstrates that these indicators are prioritised by careers advisors when deciding the careers guidance support received by KS4 pupils.

However, among those with higher levels of attainment, Career Check does provide the opportunity to identify those where there is cause for concern regarding their career planning capabilities. This attests to the intricacy with which pupils are identified as needing support. 

The research team said: “Our analysis based on administrative data provides a more nuanced understanding of how careers guidance is primarily targeted at disadvantaged groups. By providing us with a better understanding of the population at risk, these findings also have important implications in terms of evaluating the effectiveness of careers guidance.”

A second publication from the research team explored the influence of careers guidance over transitions to Post Compulsory Education and Training (PCET) in Wales. Its findings suggest that an intervention such as a careers guidance interview has positive impacts, especially among the most disadvantaged.

The research team plans to continue their studies using data from Careers Wales to examine which interventions yield the most benefit for pupils.

To find out more about this research and the researchers’ plans for further study, visit the ADR Wales website and read the Data Insights on the effectiveness of careers guidance and how careers guidance is prioritised


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