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Survey Shows Careers Guidance for Young People has Improved Over the Last Two Years

Careers guidance for young people has improved over the last two years, according to a large-scale survey of schools.

The research points to the successful early establishment of a new cohort of senior ‘Careers Leaders’ with responsibility for driving a whole school approach towards careers support.

The survey of 750 Careers Leaders reveals that they feel positive about the future of careers provision and the impact they’re having on young people, and have the backing of their senior leadership teams.

Previous research from Education & Employers has shown high quality careers support and employer engagement has a positive impact on young people’s gradesemployment prospects and future earnings.

In 2017, the Government’s Careers Strategy set an ambitious plan for every school in England to appoint a named Careers Leaders with ’the energy, commitment and backing from senior leadership’ to deliver a comprehensive careers programme. 

The research – carried out on behalf of The Gatsby Foundation and The Careers & Enterprise Company – represents the first comprehensive survey of Careers Leaders.

It reveals they are overwhelmingly positive about the approach set out in the Careers Strategy and the outcomes for young people:

  • 88% say their role is having a positive impact on young peoples’ outcomes
  • 81% feel positive about the future of careers provision
  • 75% think careers provision has improved since the Careers Strategy

The Careers Strategy called on schools and Careers Leaders to work towards meeting all eight of the Gatsby Benchmarks of Good Careers Guidance – a set of standards based on international best practice.

The survey reveals that 94% of Careers Leaders said the Gatsby Benchmarks had helped to improve careers guidance. This follows findings published last year showing schools across the country improving against the Benchmarks.

Careers Leaders are a relatively new part of the school workforce, with two-thirds appointed within the last two school years. But the research finds that school leaders are backing the reforms and their focus on ensuring Careers Leaders are senior or have senior access in schools – 83% of Careers Leaders are either part of their school’s senior leadership team or report directly into senior leadership

The research also finds that Careers Leaders spend twice as much time on careers as ‘careers-coordinators’ did a decade ago, underlining the increased prioritisation of careers by schools.

Claudia Harris, Chief Executive of the Careers & Enterprise Company, said:

“According to this major survey across 750 schools, Careers leaders are overwhelmingly positive about the direction of careers support in schools. The significance of this lack of cynicism should not be underestimated. They value what they are doing and see the benefits for their students.

“The survey finds that Careers Leaders are in senior positions or report into the SLT, representing a marked shift in the profile of careers to central in school agendas. High quality careers and enterprise support is increasingly being used by schools as a core pillar to ensure excellent long-term outcomes for their students.

“We see it in the progress every day: across the country careers support is improving in schools, and particularly in the most disadvantaged communities. This is down to the commitment of Careers Leaders and the school leaders that back them.”

Sir John Holman, Senior Adviser to the Gatsby Foundation and author of the Good Career Guidance report, said:

“The pilot of the Gatsby Benchmarks in the North East of England showed us that the key success factor is having an effective Careers Leader, with access to the senior leadership of the school or college.

“It is very encouraging to see that schools are truly making this role a priority, and that those in post feel so confident about the future. This research gives valuable insight into how Careers Leaders can be best supported and enabled to do their job, which is critical to the future of every young person in the school.”

The survey was carried out by independent research organisation SQW, on behalf of The Gatsby Foundation and The Careers & Enterprise Company. 750 Careers Leaders responded to the survey, and results were weighted to be representative of schools across the country.

Field work took place between 4th March and 5th April 2019. The survey achieved a response rate of 22% and 750 schools. Responses were weighted be representative of region, type of school and size of school.

Record Numbers of Young People in England have Applied to University
July 15, 2019
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On 11th July, UCAS published an analysis of all full-time UCAS Undergraduate applications made by 30 June 2019 – the final deadline for applying to up to five universities or colleges simultaneously.

The analysis is published within nine working days of the deadline.

Across the UK, the key findings are:

  • 39.5 per cent of all 18 year olds in England have submitted a UCAS application, up from 38.1 per cent at the same point last year, and a new record
  • in Northern Ireland, 46.9 per cent of 18 year olds have applied (down 0.7 percentage points)
  • in Scotland, the 18 year old application rate is 32.7 per cent (down 0.1 percentage point)
  • in Wales, the application rate is 32.9 per cent (up 0.2 percentage points), and a joint record with 2016 at this point in the application cycle

The number of young people from the UK applying has increased by 1 per cent, despite a 1.9 per cent fall in the overall 18 year old population of the UK. 275,520 young people have applied – up from 272,920 at this point in 2018.

The volume of EU applicants has risen 1 per cent, to 50,650. There is a record number of applicants from outside the EU – 81,340 students have applied to study in the UK, an increase of 8 per cent.

China continues its rapid growth, with applicant numbers up 30 per cent to 19,760 – this means that, for the first time, there are more applicants from China than Northern Ireland (18,520).

Overall, 638,030 people have applied in the current application cycle – a rise of over 1,000 on 2018. 

For the first time, UCAS has published reports by the various indexes of multiple deprivation across the UK.

  • In England, the number of young people applying from the most deprived areas has increased 6 per cent to 38,770, while applications from the least deprived areas have fallen.
  • In Northern Ireland, all areas have seen a fall in applications, of between 2 and 7 percent. 
  • In Scotland, young applicants from the most deprived areas have grown by 3 per cent, while all other areas have seen falls.
  • In Wales, applicants from the most deprived areas remained at 1,390, with a mixed picture across different areas.

All data is available to analyse in a new interactive dashboard on the UCAS website, allowing users to visualise and tailor the reporting to their own specification. 

Clare Marchant, UCAS’ Chief Executive, said:

‘The global appeal of UK higher education has never been clearer, with record, demographic beating application rates in England and Wales, and the steep rise in international applications, especially from China.

‘Today’s analysis shows how attractive undergraduate study continues to be for young people, although university isn’t the only route on offer. Our survey insight shows that around a quarter of students are interested in apprenticeships as an alternative option.

‘With Clearing now open, there’s plenty of choice for everyone at the end of the year. The post-qualification application route is available as a plan A for many, with over 17,500 using it to apply with results in hand last year.

‘There are opportunities for a new direction on over 30,000 courses at ucas.com, for anyone who’s already applied and now wants to change their mind, as we’ve streamlined the process for those reconsidering their original choices.’

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said:

“It is fantastic to see there are record rates of 18-year-olds in England, including an increase from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, applying to university, along with increasing numbers of applications from international students too.

“International students bring huge cultural and economic benefits to the UK. That is why our International Education Strategy sets out an ambition to increase international student numbers to 600,000 by 2030 and offers a number of measures to support the sector maintain further, sustainable growth from across the world.

“These figures show we are making good progress in our ambition to open up world-leading higher education to anyone who has the potential to benefit from it and I’m confident that we can go even further.”

Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive at Universities UK, said:

“It is very good news that 18 year-olds in England are more likely than ever before to apply to university and positive to see further progress in the amount of applications from young people living in deprived areas. Employer demand for graduates continues to rise – educating more people of all ages at university will grow the economy faster, by increasing productivity, competitiveness, and innovation. Growing the number of graduates will enhance social mobility.

“Our universities have a well-deserved global reputation for high quality teaching, learning and research, delivered by talented staff while students report rising levels of satisfaction with their courses. This is recognised by the increase in the number of international student applications – a record rise from outside the EU – which will bring significant economic benefits to the whole of the UK and enrich our university campuses.”

Employers have told CBI that they expect the greatest demand for skills over the next three to five years will be for people with higher level skills where there is already a much higher employment rate.

By 2030, it is estimated that there will be a UK talent deficit of between 600,000 to1.2 million workers for both our financial and business sector, and technology, media and telecommunications sector.

UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, is an independent charity, and the UK’s shared admissions service for higher education.

They manage almost three million applications, from around 700,000 people, each year, for full-time undergraduate courses at over 380 universities and colleges across the UK.

Scotland

In Scotland, there is a substantial section of higher education that is not included in UCAS’ figures. This is mostly full-time higher education provided in further education colleges, which represents around one third of young full-time undergraduate study in Scotland – this proportion varies by geography and background within Scotland.

Accordingly, figures on applications and application rates in Scotland reflect only those applying for full-time undergraduate study through UCAS.

In the 2015 cycle, there were also changes to the scope of the data recorded in the UCAS scheme for Scotland (including teacher training programmes in Scotland moving from the dedicated UCAS Teacher Training scheme into the UCAS Undergraduate scheme).