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gatsby benchmarks

Good career guidance is critical if young people are to raise their aspirations and capitalise on the opportunities available to them.

Good career guidance is critical if young people are to raise their aspirations and capitalise on the opportunities available to them. In 2013 we commissioned Sir John Holman to research what pragmatic actions could improve career guidance in England and subsequently he developed the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks.

Gatsby welcomes the release of the new government careers strategy and its adoption of the Gatsby Career Benchmarks. The benchmarks define world-class career guidance and were developed on behalf of Gatsby by Sir John Holman as part of an international study. Our full statement can be found here.

Every young person needs high-quality career guidance to make informed decisions about their future. Good career guidance is a necessity for delivering technical education reforms and is a vehicle for social justice: those young people without social capital or home support suffer most from poor career guidance. Yet, despite its importance, career guidance in English schools has often been criticised for being inadequate and patchy.

Against this background, in 2013 Gatsby commissioned Sir John Holman – Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at the University of York, senior education adviser and former headteacher – with setting out what career guidance in England would be like were it good by international standards.

After six international visits, analysis of good practice in English schools and a comprehensive review of current literature, John wrote the The Good Career Guidance Report which identifies a set of eight benchmarks that schools can use as a framework for improving their careers provision. These benchmarks have been well received by schools, government and a wide range of stakeholders.

Gatsby Benchmarks

1: A Stable Careers Programme

Every school and college should have an embedded programme of career education and guidance that is known and understood by Students, parents, teachers, governors and employers.

2: Learning from Career and Labour Market Information

Every Student and their parents should have access to good quality information about future study options and labour market opportunities. They will need the support of an informed adviser to make the best use of available information.

3: Addressing the Needs of Each Student

Students have different career guidance needs at different stages. Opportunities for advice and support need to be tailored to the needs of each Student. A school’s careers programme should embed equality and diversity considerations throughout.

4: Linking Curriculum Learning to Careers

All teachers should link curriculum learning with careers. STEM subject teachers should highlight the relevance of STEM subjects for a wide range of careers paths.

5: Encounters with Employers and Employees

Every Student should have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace. This can be through a range of enrichment activities including visiting speakers, mentoring and enterprise schemes.

6: Experiences of Workplaces

Every Student should have first-hand experience of the workplace through work visits, work shadowing, and/or work experience to help their exploration of career opportunities, and expand their networks.

7: Encounters with Further and Higher Education

All Students should understand the full range of learning opportunities that are available to them. This includes both academic and vocational routes and learning in schools, colleges, universities and in the workplace.

8: Personal Guidance

Every Student should have opportunities for guidance interviews with a careers adviser, who could be internal (a member of school staff) or external, provided they are trained to an appropriate level. These should be available whenever significant study or career choices are being made. They should be expected for all Students but should be timed to meet their individual needs.

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