The State of Play: Employers, schools and the delivery of careers advice

This seminar focussed on how employers are working and linking with schools and colleges and considered future options for the triangulation of education, employer and careers service working links.

PresentationThe State of Play – Employers, schools and the delivery of careers advice

Full reportUnderstanding the link between employers and schools and the role of the National Careers Service

Abstract: A strong education and training system is crucial for contributing to business growth and fostering a culture of enterprise and entrepreneurship. Employers need to recruit the right talent for their businesses, so that they can harness employee potential efficiently. Education needs employers to support careers programmes and activities to provide first-hand information about labour markets and provide young people with insights to the world of work. Robust and efficient links between employers and education are essential to deliver on these agendas. In 2013, a Government Action Plan recommended that employers should work more closely with the National Careers Service to facilitate such links. More recently, a massive variation in careers provision across England has become evident.

This seminar outlined key findings from a mixed methods research study undertaken by a consortium of experts entitled: ‘Understanding the link between employers, schools and the National Careers Service’, led by Warwick Institute for Employment (IER) on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.

Professor Jenny Bimrose and Dr Deirdre Hughes presented findings from the research that illustrate how employers are working and linking with schools/ colleges in a variety of ways that bring significant benefit. They shared the outcomes from a systematic literature review, a survey of over 300 companies, data analysed from 78 schools and 20 colleges, including in-depth interviews and case-studies, 8 Prime Contractors from the National Careers Service and 23 interviews with senior leaders from education, business and the career development profession. The seminar reflected on key findings and considered future options for the triangulation of education, employer and careers service working links. Findings indicate how a new paradigm shift is taking place, with the critical question for all of the actors involved being: where next?


Professor Jenny Bimrose
Deputy Director, Warwick Institute for Employment Research (

With over thirty years’ experience in higher education, researching and teaching at post-graduate level, Jenny has extensive experience of external project management and consultancy, both in the UK and Europe. She is a Legacy Fellow of the Career Development Institute, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a Research Associate at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa. One of her particular research interest relates to supporting the use of ICT in careers practice, in combination with supporting the effective and efficient use of labour market information in careers practice. Employer engagement has always been a prominent theme in her research into labour market transitions. She manages the National Guidance Research Forum website, which was designed to support and facilitate the integration of careers guidance research with practice. A particular feature of this website is the high quality, impartial labour market information, produced in collaboration with employers through the Sector Skills Councils. She is currently managing the ‘LMI for All’ project, for the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, as well as a research project into the career transitions of unqualified workers in seven European countries for CEDEFOP. Additionally, she is leading on the user engagement strand of the EU FP7 funded EmployId project (

Dr Deirdre Hughes, OBE

Dr Deirdre Hughes is a Commissioner at the UK Commission for Employment & Skills. She was Chair of the National Careers Council in England, from May 2012 – September 2014, reporting to three Skills Ministers. During this time, she produced two major reports to Government promoting a culture change in careers provision for young people and adults. She also contributed to Lord Young’s work on ‘enterprise and work inspiration’. Deirdre is Chair of the Promotions Senior Advisory Body for the new DfE/CfBT ‘Core Maths Support Programme’ in England. She has given written and oral evidence to UK-wide Parliamentary and Assembly Governments and published extensively in academic and professional journals. She was recently appointed Co-Editor of the British Journal for Guidance and Counselling: International Symposia Series. She works as an Associate Fellow at Warwick University, Institute for Employment Research (IER) and is a consultant for the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network (ELGPN, 2011 – present) on quality assurance and evidence-base systems and policy developments. She is also Director of DMH & Associates Ltd., Exeter.