National Careers Week is a chance to reflect on good CEIAG, and dispel any misunderstandings we might hold regarding what careers advice and guidance is actually about.

Whilst ‘careers advice’ can involve things like signposting to information about learning and work opportunities, ‘careers guidance’ is more in-depth and enables the adviser to explore interests, skills, aptitudes, and attitudes. The adviser also uses their professional skills to help identify issues and explore how individuals might overcome them, creating a bespoke plan of action for the future to enable the individual receive the correct level of help.

Good careers advice and guidance makes a really positive impact on all students, but even more so when working with those from vulnerable or disadvantaged groups, providing them with enough time and support to explore their option helps to raise their aspirations. A positive student-focused intervention like this can have a motivating effect on their whole school experience, boosting their confidence, and enabling them to aim for opportunities that they may never have previously considered.

Advice and guidance should also involve the use of labour market information (LMI). However, most young people and adults need some help to interpret its complexities. This support allows individuals to make more informed career choices and, in some cases, enable individuals to consider occupations or sectors where there are skill shortages. By challenging stereotypical assumptions, good careers guidance has the potential to open up a world of opportunity to under-represented groups whilst addressing skills shortages.

It is also essential that young people have access to employers for work experience, visits, and internships and once again this is particularly important for disadvantaged groups, where students may be from families who are less able to offer the links to such opportunities. Informed LMI provided by a knowledgeable careers adviser has the power to expose young people to employers that they were previously completely unaware of.

Good careers advice and guidance offers an unbiased overview of careers choice and opportunity. This independent exploration of all the routes into employment, education, and training is a crucial step when enabling individuals to make the right choices, build personal resilience, and future-proof themselves for an ever changing jobs market.

CSW is proud of its record of advocating for quality CEIAG over the last two decades and meeting the changing careers landscape with positive pragmatism. We understand the budgetary constraints on schools and colleges, alongside the pressure of the wider curriculum, and so aim to offer innovative and cost-effective solutions that focus on the individual needs of our partners.