Best Career Resources for Schools

December 2022 — Use EdTech Impact to find the best career resources for your school. Compare customer reviews, features and pricing, or learn more in our Career Resources Guide

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What are Career Resources for Schools?

Online career resources enable schools and colleges to achieve the Gatsby Benchmarks, and deliver an effective careers programme that supports student transition all the way through education in to employment.

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Learn more about Career Resources

What are career resources?

You may be on the search for career resources for your school and wondering where to start. Effective online career resources enhance your school’s ability to deliver a high quality careers programme to students, and help them identify which careers, study and training might be suited to them. They can help students build on the skills they need to succeed in their desired field.

Online career resources offer individually-tailored career guidance to students, and automate many aspects of your career information, education, advice and guidance (CIEAG) provision for your students.

Why use career resources?

There are a range of online career resources available that cater to different age groups and with different specific aims or professional fields in mind. However, all career resources should offer few key tools:

Skills building activities: these offer students assignments and activities to build on their desired skills and competencies.

Access to labour market information and careers information: up-to-date, extensive information on what careers are out there, who’s hiring and what skills are needed to enter an industry.

Gatsby Benchmark reporting: track how successfully your school’s careers resources meet the Gatsby Benchmarks, internationally regarded as the most respected framework for best practice in careers guidance for schools and colleges.

What do you need to know before purchasing career resources?

If you are trying to decide which career resources are right for your school, keep the following considerations in mind:

What are the specific needs of your student demographic?
Do you need online career resources aimed at students heading into a specific career such as medicine, or are you looking for something for younger children to help them get to grips with the idea of working life? Do you want career resources with a focus on apprenticeships? Answer these questions first before starting your search for the best resources for you and your students.

Do you want to include parents?
Consider whether you want career resources that can be shared with parents so that they can track their child’s progress.

What is your budget?
Certain online career resources offer services for free; others offer a range of packages to suit different budgets. On the whole, platforms that charge a fee aim to have more in-depth and individually-tailored support on offer.

The benefits of Careers Resources

There are several key benefits to purchasing career resources:

Access a large volume of quality, up-to-date labour market information, career development activities and skill-building opportunities
Good quality online career resources can offer immediate access to reams of up-to-date information about further education, apprenticeships and careers. The best platform designers will also be au fait with the latest government policies on careers guidance, helping you stay in line with required CIEAG standards.

Keep track of important information
Career resources make it easy to record and track both student and organisational progress. In other words, they help you understand not only how students are engaging with careers guidance, but also how successfully your school is delivering its careers programme. Some online career resources have a feature that allows you to integrate information from the platform into your Management Information System (MIS), making it easier to compare, understand and manage.

Involve parents
If you are looking to improve parental engagement, you can look for online career resources that offer access to parents so that they can get a better understanding of how their child is using the resources available to them, and what kind of support and guidance would benefit them.

Meet the Gatsby Benchmarks
The eight Gatsby Benchmarks (explained in ‘What should you consider when purchasing career resources?’) are an internationally recognised framework in the field of careers guidance. In the UK, schools must provide evidence that they use the Gatsby Benchmark in order to rate as ‘good’.

Evidence Ofsted compliance
In the UK, Ofsted is legally required to comment on the quality of a school’s careers provision to 16-18 year olds, and students aged up to 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan. Look for careers resources that collate, analyse and document information to help you evidence the work your school is doing to meet Ofsted standards.

Adhere to the Baker Clause
The Baker Clause, introduced by the UK government in 2018, requires all schools in the UK to ensure that a range of education and training providers have the opportunity to inform students about non-academic options in Years 8 to 13. If you are looking for career resources that help to meet these requirements, you can look for an online platform that has tools for increasing awareness of and access to apprenticeships.

What are the features of career resources?

Which features you want on online career resources will depend on the specific CIEAG needs of your school and student population. Here are some of the most helpful features and tools that good career resources can provide:

Gatsby benchmark reporting: with Gatsby Benchmark reporting, online career resources will send you reports informing you how many of the Gatsby Benchmarks your school is compliant with, based on your students’ engagement with their platform. This allows you to track data so that your school can understand its own strengths and weaknesses in its CIEAG provision.

Skills builder: activities and assignments for your students to help them build on the skills and competencies relevant to their career development.

Labour market information: a career resources tool that provides relevant and up-to-date information about which sectors are hiring in your area and what future job opportunities are available.

Data collection and reporting: data reports help your school understand how your students are engaging with your career resources, and strengths and areas for improvement in your school’s careers provision.

Assessments: these may come in the form of psychometric tests or skills assessments, and can help you and your students understand which careers may be suited to them.

CV builder: a career resources tool to help your students improve the quality of their all-important CV.

Parent account: an online career resources feature that allows parents to access the platform and view their child’s progress.

Events workshops info: information about events and workshops your students can access that are relevant to their career development.

Course search and shortlisting: helps students find courses relevant to their career ambitions.

Reporting for MATS: this online career resources feature provides data that tells you how well schools are delivering their careers provision across your Multi-Academy Trust. Reporting for MATS can help you understand the individual careers guidance needs of each school, as well as overall trends, strengths and areas for improvement.

What should you consider when buying career resources?

Key considerations to bear in mind when purchasing career resources can be put broadly into two categories:

  • The CIEAG needs of your school
  • National requirements and benchmarks on CIEAG provision

Give yourself time to deliberate and understand both before making a decision on which career resources to use.

i) The CIEAG needs of your school

When deciding which career resources suit the specific CIEAG needs of your school, consider the following:

Think about the specific needs of your students
Consider what career development outcomes you want for your students before delving into the world of career resources. The needs of your students should guide your purchasing decision. Would your school benefit most from a platform that focuses on upskilling students with their CV writing and interviewing skills? Or are you looking for immersive activities that encourage students to picture themselves in different jobs and workplace scenarios?

Be guided by the aims of your school’s CIEAG policy
Think about how career resources will help your school achieve the aims of its Careers Information, Education, Advice and Guidance policy. Choose online resources complements its aims and makes it possible to track and evidence your school’s strengths and areas for improvement.

Identify the areas for improvement in your school’s careers provision
Identify whether there are problems with student engagement, or gaps in the guidance and support you are already offering. Understanding where your school is lacking will help you choose career resources that complement and enhance your existing CIEAG provision.

Look at reviews from other schools to understand which career resources are right for you
A delve into reviews from other educators can help you get a better understanding of which career resources are best suited to your school. Does the online platform you’re interested in offer value for money? Does it provide the tools you’re looking for? Does its technology run smoothly? Wherever possible, look for reviews from schools with similar needs to yours.

ii) National requirements and benchmarks on CIEAG provision

Understanding what is required of you and your school is an essential first step in finding career resources that are going to offer a good experience for your students. In the UK, there are two national standards that should be at the forefront of your decision-making:

The Gatsby Benchmark

Gatsby is an organisation aiming to improve skills in science and engineering in the UK. In 2013, Gatsby commissioned Sir John Holman to establish what good career guidance would look like in the UK using international standards as a barometer. The result was a report recommending eight benchmarks for schools to use as a framework for improving their CIEAG provision. The eight Gatsby Benchmarks are:

  1. A stable careers programme: every school should have its careers provision embedded in its curriculum and understood by staff, parents, governors and students.
  2. Learning from career and labour market information: pupils and parents should have access to relevant and accurate information about employment and study opportunities
  3. Addressing the needs of each pupil: career resources should address the individual needs of each child, and should take into account the equality and diversity needs of your student population
  4. Linking curriculum learning to careers: a school’s career resources should help students understand the relevance of subjects in the classroom to jobs in the working world
  5. Encounters with employers and employees: students should have opportunities to learn from employers about employment opportunities, whether this is through visiting speakers or enterprise schemes.
  6. Experiences of workplaces: schools’ career resources should help link students to opportunities for work experiences and work shadowing.
  7. Encounters with further and higher education: careers resources should support students to understand the full range of options available in terms of further and higher education.
  8. Personal guidance: every student should be able to speak with a careers advisor, and have training and guidance tailored to their individual needs.

Ofsted’s requirements on CIEAG provision

Ofsted’s School Inspection Handbook offers guidance on how it assesses the quality of careers advice and guidance in schools (accurate as of 4th November 2021). Here are a few key takeaways to keep in mind when choosing careers resources:

  1. Schools are required by law to adhere to the Baker Clause.
  2. Ofsted will not rate a school as ‘Good’ unless it meaningfully uses the Gatsby Benchmarks and adheres to the Baker Clause.
  3. Schools should provide unbiased careers advice and meaningful opportunities for their students to familiarise themselves with the world of work.
  4. Schools should publish information about its CIEAG provision.
Sources

The following sources were referenced for this document:

Good Career Guidance by Gatsby (accessed 3rd November 2021)
https://www.gatsby.org.uk/uploads/education/reports/pdf/gatsby-sir-john-holman-good-career-guidance-2014.pdf

Careers Guidance and Access for education and training providers by the Department for Education: statutory guidance for schools and guidance for further education colleges and sixth form colleges (accessed 3rd November 2021)
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1002972/Careers_statutory_guidance.pdf

Your School’s Careers provision: what are Ofsted inspectors looking for? (accessed 3rd November 2021)
https://ideas4careers.co.uk/your-schools-careers-provision-what-are-ofsted-inspectors-looking-for/

Ofsted School Inspection Handbook (accessed 4th November 2021)
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-inspection-handbook-eif/school-inspection-handbook

Ofsted – what every CL needs to know by the CDI (accessed 3rd November 2021)
https://www.thecdi.net/write/Presentations/WS1.2.pdf

Career Development Framework: a guide for Primary schools (accessed 3rd November 2021)
https://www.thecdi.net/write/Framework/CDI_124-Framework-Handbook_for_schools-v5.pdf

Every School Should have access to new careers Hub says Augar Review (accessed 3rd November 2021)
https://schoolsweek.co.uk/every-school-should-have-access-to-new-careers-hubs-says-augar-review/



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