User insight research into post-16 choices: A report by CFE Research with Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE

In this research paper, commissioned by the Department for Education, the authors (CFE Researchers and Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE) set out to test the hypothesis: given the current complexity of the post-16 educational landscape, learners can experience difficulties making fully-informed choices and navigating technical education routes in particular. The aim of the conducting the survey was to assess how young people make educational choices post-16 and what information they use. The report finds that young people’s career decision-making styles, processes and strategies vary considerably. Their preferences for support are mixed, with some preferring to simply use a search engine to find the information they need and others preferring a combination of formal face-to-face and online careers support. Although most young people perceive that they have access to the information they need to make informed decisions, there are calls for improvements in the careers support they and their peers receive. There is evidence from the interviews that for some, access to impartial and independent IAG is limited. Young people are most likely to turn to informal sources including parents, friends and class teachers for help with decision-making, who may have limited knowledge and experience of the full range of options. The report concludes by offering a number of opportunities and challenges for policymakers based on the findings.

Read the full report here.