Careers and Enterprise Company Written evidence (EDU0045)


  1. The Careers & Enterprise Company (CEC) is the national body for careers education in England, supporting schools and colleges to deliver modern, 21st century careers education. We do this by training Careers Leaders, linking employers with schools and colleges through Careers Hubs, and providing practical tools and resources. In all cases we seek to work in partnership to bring about sustainable improvements to help every young person to find their best next step.
  2. We welcome this inquiry and would be delighted to give further written or oral evidence upon request.
  3. The areas of this inquiry that CEC’s response focuses on are the committee’s interest in: the effectiveness of the 11-16 curriculum in equipping young people with the skills they need to progress into post-16 education and employment; the impact of the 11-16 system on the motivation and confidence of pupils of all abilities when careers education including employer interactions are engaged; and the personalisation of learning for teachers in the context of work skills and connecting careers and industry sectors to subject areas. 



Section 2: The role of careers education in equipping young people with the skills they need to thrive in our future economy

  1. The Schools and Skills for Jobs White Papers recognised and embedded the important role that modern careers education holds in meeting the ambitions of the future economy.
  2. Careers education done well accrues benefits to learners and employers alike. When young people are inspired by meaningful, skills-based employer experiences, they make better transitions into the world of work[i]. Secure transitions mean more productive workers and ultimately more prosperous organisations. Employers who are heavily engaged in careers education report that they are strengthening their talent pipelines, increasing diversity and addressing skills gaps[ii].



Section 3: The evidence

  1. The evidence base for the value of strong careers education has strengthened and is now secure[iii].
  2. Today in England, there is near universal adoption by schools and colleges of the Gatsby Benchmarks; the framework which defines world-class careers education.  And there is a relationship between Gatsby Benchmark achievement and positive destinations for young people. This is twice as strong in schools with the highest number of pupils eligible for Free School Meals (FSM).[iv] There is also a 17% increase in apprenticeship uptake for those schools with full benchmark achievement[v].
  3. Young people themselves are reflecting progress over time[vi] and increases in ‘career readiness’ and pathway awareness as a result of improved support.[vii]
  4. Careers Hubs, managed by the CEC, bring together schools, colleges, employers and providers at the local level and target support. Hubs have been shown to improve careers provision[viii][ix] and are recognised as effective by a wide range of stakeholders including employers.[x]  Our 2021 publication Employer Engagement in Careers Education[xi] highlights how employers are strengthening their talent pipelines by working with schools and colleges and as a result are perceiving young people to be better prepared for the world of work.


Section 4: What practice works?

  1. Linking careers to the curriculum is an increasingly well used way of supporting work readiness. Much good practice exists – for example, the CEC worked with Pinewood Studios and the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) - one of the largest academy trusts in the country - to design an approach that builds career awareness through maths. Around 14,000 young people across 21 secondary schools took part in lessons co-designed by their teachers and the team at Pinewood Studios.
  2. Children in Year 7 learnt about statistical analysis by looking at how production companies commission new series, interpreting social media data, audience analysis and viewing figures. For 12 and 13 year olds in Year 8, lessons covered ratio and proportion, and students learnt about how production designers, art directors and prop makers make the worlds of their favourite movies come to life.
  3. For older children, the Year 9 lessons incorporated the role of a commercial manager, focusing on revenue and occupancy rates at the studios, whereas Year 10s got to grips with dimensions and how to build a 3D set from a 2D technical drawing for an upcoming historical drama.
  4. This linked approach is one way of incorporating technical and vocational routes into the 11-16 phase. Ormiston Academies Trust have developed a maritime curriculum for KS3[xii] which involves teaching national curriculum subjects through immersion in maritime topics. One example, the design and build of yachts is informed by disciplinary knowledge linked to the science and technology national curriculum.
  5. Co-design and delivery with employers offers an opportunity to build technology in this phase of education. Barclays, for example, have created a virtual work experience platform which allows students to see the inner workings of Freeformers, a ‘digital transformation’ agency, and actively work with different departments on one project – helping them solve problems and complete tasks[xiii].
  6. This approach is becoming more common across the system. Colleges and post-16 providers are leading the way. 91% reported students had some careers-related learning in maths; 93% in English, both double that of 2018/19. 79% of special and alternative provision (AP) schools reported students had career-related learning in maths; 80% in English, both up on last year. Mainstream schools reported increases too but not at the same rate.[xiv]
  7. There are potential benefits to teachers too. Building meaningful links with employers could be a point of attraction for the profession. Dudley Multi Academy Trust, for example, have worked with Thomas Dudley, a 100-year-old manufacturing company in the West Midlands on a ‘staff dream big’ initiative through the CEC’s teacher encounters programme. This has been highly valued by teachers[xv].
  8. Effective careers education builds career readiness for students. CEC’s Future Skills career readiness index asks students a range of questions to understand their knowledge and rate their skills – and gives an overall score of career readiness. Last academic year approximately 35,000 students responded from a range of schools. Young people reported more career readiness as they moved through secondary school: 45% were career ready in Year 7, rising to 67% by Year 11. This pattern was observed across a range of aspects, including awareness of the skills local employers need (63% in year 7; 79% in year 11); understanding of local businesses (52% in year 7; 62% in year 11) and understanding of apprenticeships (39% in year 7; 81% in year 11)[xvi]


Section 5: What next?

  1. In summary there are several factors that are needed to ensure young people are equipped with the skills they need to thrive in our future economy. High-quality careers education can and does play a vital role.
  2. To broaden and deepen the progress made in careers education the committee could consider the following:



28 April 2023



[i] Ready for the Future: A review of Careers Education in England 2021/22. London: The Careers & Enterprise Company

[ii] Employer engagement in careers education: Insights 2020/21. London: The Careers & Enterprise Company

[iii] OECD (2022). Meet the Future: How employers gain from helping young people get career ready

[iv] Percy, C. & Tanner, E. (2021). The benefits of Gatsby Benchmark achievement for post-16 destinations. London: The Careers & Enterprise Company.

[v] Percy, C. (2023). Technical note: Further analysis on post-16 destinations for the 2016/17 to 2018/19 cohorts. London: The Careers & Enterprise Company

[vi] Stewart, H. (2021), Young people’s experiences of careers information, advice and guidance: Evidence from the second Longitudinal Study of Young People in England.

[vii] Ready for the Future: A review of Careers Education in England 2021/22. London: The Careers & Enterprise Company

[viii] CBI and Pearson (2019). Education and Learning for the Modern World: CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey Report 2019.

[ix] SQW (2020). Enterprise Adviser Network and Careers Hubs: Evaluation Report. SQW.

[x] The Career Development Institute, The Edge Foundation, UCAS, Institute of Student Employers, Sutton Trust, AELP, the Augar Review (pg.12).

[xi] The Careers & Enterprise Company (2021). Employer engagement in careers education: Insights 2020/21



[xiv] Ready for the Future: A review of Careers Education in England 2021/22. London: The Careers & Enterprise Company


[xvi] Ready for the Future: A review of Careers Education in England 2021/22. London: The Careers & Enterprise Company