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Delivering Careers across the Curriculum

The government’s new careers strategy requires the ‘Careers Leader’ to ‘work with subject teachers across the school so that careers provision is embedded within the curriculum’. This raises important  questions about whether it is now sufficient to simply squeeze careers guidance into a mixture of drop-down days, packaged activities or a handful of PSHE lessons. Equally important, is careers any longer the role of an isolated champion in a school or is it now the shared responsibility of all teaching staff?

Talk about strategic plans with school leaders

There is no doubt that embedding careers within the curriculum is going to be the most challenging of the eight Gatsby benchmarks. It demands a change in mind set to develop and nurture internal capacity, rather than perpetuate a dependency on external CEIAG providers. Changing the culture of a school does not happen overnight. Teachers are increasingly pressurised to get through their curriculum content and focus on attainment. The last thing they want is something else that adds to their burden.

Clarify learning objectives with classroom teachers

Curriculum learning areas provide rich teaching and learning opportunities for career education. When career topics and concepts are highlighted within regular classroom teaching and learning, students develop their career management skills in meaningful contexts. So, what can you do? A planned and co-ordinated approach is needed if career education is to be included in the teaching and learning that happens in curriculum learning areas. It is important teachers are aware of their role within your school’s strategy and know how to use appropriate industry knowledge and resources. Consider the following:

  • how teachers can be assisted to understand the aims and purposes of careers education
  • which career management competencies can be addressed in specific classroom contexts
  • when and how these competencies will be addressed
  • how well the students' needs have been met


This does not mean that every teacher has to become a career specialist, but there is a strong case for encouraging teachers to have a greater awareness about the progression routes from their subject and to think about how they might be used in the world of work.  Teachers can consider how a learning module can be adjusted or enlarged to include some relevant career education learning outcomes and how career concepts can be fore-grounded without detracting from their subject-specific aims. At its best this can inform the curriculum and inspire the creation of both career and subject-based learning opportunities. 

Developing and Sharing

It is hard to do all this alone, so a few suggestions:

1.       Establishing a careers steering group with representatives from faculties/departments will help you to:

  • establish points of contact for subject specific careers work
  • share and disseminate good practice
  • plan CPD
  • encourage faculties/departments to take responsibility for an element of your careers programme
  • help students develop transferable skills in every lesson
  • involve stakeholders in evaluation

2.       Hosting training sessions will enable you to:

  • ask teachers what they would like to be brought to life in their current subject teaching and how careers can enhance their delivery.
  • combine Gatsby benchmark 4 (embed careers in the curriculum) and benchmark 5 (create multiple encounters with employers) to bring subject teaching to life in partnership with local employers. It can create a learning journey that both motivates students to see the purpose of classroom lessons and gives each child tasters of the wide range of opportunities that exist in life beyond school.  This will also help you to deliver the target by 2020 of ‘offering every young person seven encounters with employers – at least one each year from years 7 to 13’. 
  • provide resources to help your teachers develop a greater awareness of the progression routes from their subject and enhance their classroom practice. Careers Web (11-16)and Careers Planner (16-19) bring together in one place the best online resources about progression routes from each subject – contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.
  • develop and demonstrate a programme of lesson plans for each subject incorporating both the use of online resources and local employers.
  • create a series of exemplar curriculum projects covering a range of subjects to be shared with all teachers to show how their own classroom practice might be enhanced and enriched. See  http://www.forum-talent-potential.org/good-practice/  for some examples of good practice.

3.       Using your careers page on the school website/intranet to communicate with/ promote internally to your teachers. See Careers Web for further details - contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

4.       Surveying  your teachers and receiving feedback.

5.       Briefing employers to ensure they have a clear rationale about why they have been approached to come in to subject lessons, what they are being asked to do and what might be in it for them.


This article has attempted to outline how a Careers Leader might work with subject teachers across a school to embed careers provision within the curriculum. What are your thoughts on this?


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Careers Guidance and access for Education and Training Providers 2018 - monitoring and evaluating your Careers Provision

Careers Leadership and Self-Evaluation

The government’s new careers strategy requires every school to have a ‘Careers Leader’ by September 2018, someone who has the energy and commitment, and backing from their senior leadership team, to deliver the careers programme across all eight Gatsby Benchmarks.

This Careers Leader will need to put in place a new plan to develop and improve careers provision.  The strategy recommends that leaders use Compass , the online self-evaluation tool developed by the Gatsby Foundation and the Careers & Enterprise Company. Compass works by asking schools to answer a series of questions about what careers provision they offer. On completing the questions, your school will receive a confidential report showing how you compare to the Gatsby Benchmarks. Over time a school can return to the tool, see their previous results and repeat the assessment as provision develops. The most recent analysis of the Compass data found that the overwhelming majority of schools (79.4%) achieve at least one Benchmark and most (51%) achieve at least two. While only a small number of schools report excellent provision, many schools are partially meeting the Benchmarks. This analysis suggests that careers leadership, clear strategy and resourcing are all going to be key to achieving the Benchmarks.

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Social Media and Employability: Creating a Digital Career Portfolio

Most young people are regular users of social media -Instagram, YouTube, Facebook. They use a range of digital platforms to stay connected with friends/peers and to share the things that interest them. But how many consider the role of social media when it comes to looking for a work experience placement, job, apprenticeship or university place?

This article will provide some ideas about how your students might go about developing their online presence and shaping their digital footprint to support career building?  It will also look at how, as a career professional, you can support them.

Social media is central to students’ employability. The internet offers your students a space within which they can manage/ build their reputations and ‘sell themselves’ to employers . It is where conversations can be undertaken, contacts identified and networks maintained.  Platforms such as Instagram or YouTube can provide a real opportunity for young people to shine.

Just 10 years ago bloggers and vloggers were virtually unheard of but now young people can make a career of this as well as using it to promote their skills and ideas. When used well social media can help students to find out about and transition into their future. However, it is important to remember that if social media is used badly, it can seriously disadvantage a students’ career development - employers frequently check out prospective employees’ digital footprints, so maintaining an ‘uncontroversial’ social media presence is a must when job hunting.

Are  you currently addressing these issues with your students?

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Using Digital Careers Resources

There is an emerging evidence base in career guidance that attests to the efficacy of digital approaches and the potential to combine them with professional expertise to. 

  • help your students understand their strengths
  • enable  your students to become more experimental in their career thinking
  • encourage your students to identify and explore a wide range of options
  • allow your students to independently research each of these options
  • prepare your students for a discussion with an adviser
  • help your students apply for opportunities in learning and work  

The internet offers us, as career development professionals, a huge variety of resources to use as we work with our students.  There are profiling tools, games, articles, video profiles, films, tests, quizzes, calculators, flowcharts, planning tools, research and exploration tools, pathway/progression diagrams, search tools and maps.  So, how can you make more effective use of your digital careers resources? 

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Developing Digital Career Literacy

Digital career literacy is concerned with your student’s ability to use the online environment to search, to make contacts, to get questions answered and to build a positive professional reputation.  The internet offers new opportunities to give and receive career support. There are however limitations to what access to information can achieve without informed students. An increasing number of schools are creating or purchasing a digital careers resource library… but do their students have the appropriate skills to use this to find, source and manage information?  If they are going to be using your library as a marketplace, do their students have the ability to collect and critique information? 

What skills and knowledge will your students need in order to pursue their careers effectively using the internet?  In summarising the skills and knowledge required for your students to pursue their careers effectively through using the internet, Tristram Hooley identified seven elements for developing digital career literacy, which he called the ‘seven C’s’.

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Careers for School Blog - Ideas, thoughts, news, opinion

Our blog is a place where leaders, careers managers, advisers and teachers can share their thoughts about careers work in schools and colleges.  The main focus is on practical day-to-day issues in your school or college:

  • raising the profile of careers
  • access to resources
  • using online tools and resources to make your job easier
  • developing digital careers literacy skills
  • encouraging young people to become more proactive and develop their independent research skills
  • helping non-specialists deliver the careers agenda
  • engaging parents
  • monitoring and tracking

Our experts will also keep you up-to-date with the reports relating to CEIAG. 

If you would like to contribute to our blog email us at enquires@careersforschools.co.uk