University Tips Blog
Image of a careers presentation to school colleagues
A headshot image of the author, Janet Colledge

by Janet Colledge

Careers Education Consultant at Outstanding Careers, Director of @CareersWeek, Council member @TheCDI and Board Member of @QualityCareers

posted on 22 Mar '18

Top Tips for a newly appointed school careers leader

The new careers strategy gave all schools until September 2018 to appoint a school careers leader so, over the next few weeks and months there will be hundreds of newly appointed careers leaders in schools all over the country, all frantically trying to get their heads around what they should be doing. Having been a careers leader for over 20 years and now working daily with schools in my position as a Director of National Careers Week, here are my top tips:-

Tip 1: Have a look at the careers leader job description on the CDI website

The CDI are the professional body for careers leaders and advisers. I recommend you invest around £100 of your school budget in becoming a Schools Affiliate Member of the CDI as well. This is money well spent as it allows access to free and low cost CPD as well as lots of support and information. There is also a booklet available from the Careers and Enterprise Company which outlines their view of the job.

Tip 2: Make contact with your local counterparts

There will be lots of people in similar situations as yourself, all looking for answers. However. There will be the odd few experienced people who will usually be happy to share success’ problems and answers. From 2nd January 2018 every school is required to put the name of the contact person for careers on their website, this is called the Baker Clause, so it should be easy to contact them. There may even be a local area network or a MAT network if your school is part of a chain.

Tip 3: Look at training options

The CDI currently run Careers Leader training at level 6 at various venues around the UK. There is a cost involved so speak to your CPD coordinator. The Careers and Enterprise Company has been allocated money to ensure training of at least 500 Careers Leaders, this training is not expected to be available until at least January 2019 but is expected to be free to schools that are selected.

Tip 4: Get to know the Gatsby Benchmarks

There are eight Gatsby benchmarks, you will know them off by heart within weeks. Thankfully the Statutory careers guidance explains them well.

1. A stable career programme

2. Learning from career and labour market information

3. Addressing the needs of each pupil

4. Linking curriculum learning to careers

5. Encounters with employers and employees

6. Experiences of workplaces

7. Encounters with further and higher education

8. Personal guidance

Tip 5: National Careers Week

As a director, I have to say get involved with National Careers Week but in all honesty I’d say it even if I wasn’t a director. National Careers Week is a focus week for schools, colleges & universities to get involved in promoting great career learning. It is a fantastic source of free resources and information. National Careers Week could be the chance to get your whole staff involved and share the joy that providing young people with great career management skills can bring.

You can find out more about National Careers Week at

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