John Yarham, Deputy CEO, The Careers & Enterprise Company

Careers and enterprise provision in England’s schools and colleges

The Careers and Enterprise Company’s annual summary of the careers education taking place in England "The State of the Nation" has just been published.

There are four main themes that emerge:

1. Careers education is improving everywhere

Having the Gatsby Benchmarks as a universal framework to judge performance enables us to track the developments that schools and colleges have made. In two years, national performance against the Gatsby Benchmarks has improved by more than 50% to over 3 Benchmarks now being fully met.

Two million secondary aged children are now engaging with employers regularly in 3,800 participating schools and colleges. That’s two million opportunities for young people to find out about possible jobs and for businesses to identify talent.

Disadvantaged areas had focused support and are amongst the highest performing areas in the country. Performance in areas that were deemed as ‘cold spots’ a few years ago has increased significantly.

Areas such as the Black Country, Tees Valley and the Humber are amongst the best performing in the country. Improved careers performance in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the country bucks many other trends in education.

2. The new Careers Hubs and the Enterprise Adviser Network are delivering accelerated progress

The Enterprise Adviser Network has enabled thousands of employers to support schools and colleges with their careers provision and the results show the impact that they are having. Schools and colleges matched with an Enterprise Adviser meet one full Benchmark more than those without (3.1 compared to 2.1).

The first wave of Careers Hubs were launched in September 2018 and feature a network on between twenty to forty schools and colleges working together, supported by ‘Cornerstone’ employers who engage other businesses and a Hub Lead driving the work forward.

The 700 schools and colleges in the first wave of Careers Hubs have achieved an average of 3.9 full Benchmarks, with marked acceleration during the course of the last year. The second wave of Careers Hubs will begin delivering this autumn and will include a further 600 schools and colleges.

3. Young people’s skills and work readiness are improving as a result of the increased interventions being made

Research shows that young people who interact with employers at school have better employment outcomes and higher earnings. They are also more likely to do better at school and have greater confidence in their own abilities.

Over 70% of young people undertaking CEC funded programmes report increased awareness of different careers and an increased motivation to work hard at school or college. I’m privileged to see this take place for individual young people at the regular school and college visits that I undertake.

I also know that we can do more in the future to explore how this translates into employers reporting increased skills and confidence on entry to their businesses.

4. Schools, colleges and businesses now work together on a national scale, enabled by a new workforce of Careers Leaders

A national system of delivery has emerged. Nearly three-quarters of mainstream schools and colleges now work towards the Gatsby Benchmarks using the CEC’s digital self-assessment tool – Compass.

Careers Leaders are in post in increasing numbers, receiving training and opportunities for peer support. They are supported by over 2,500 business volunteers – Enterprise Advisers – and 170 Cornerstone employers.

We know that challenges still exist

Careers Leaders report variable time allocations and we’d like even more businesses to sign up to provide high quality Enterprise Advisers. We want all schools and colleges to use Compass and develop the strategies for improvement that are relevant for them. But the signs after four years are positive.

A national structure has emerged for businesses, schools and colleges to connect and improve the career prospects of young people. This benefits not just those young people but the schools, colleges and businesses as well.

When young people meet employers, we know that they go on to get better jobs, to earn more and even get better grades. That’s because it opens their eyes to a vast range of opportunities they may not have considered; it makes them feel motivated to work hard and builds their employability skills.

Businesses get to find talented and diverse young people. One construction firm that we work with hires nearly all of its female talent this way because otherwise girls may not think about careers in construction.

As the initial report by the Gatsby Foundation, leading to the creation of the Benchmarks, stated, this is about doing lots of things consistently well. We’re making good progress but there’s still a long way to go. Ultimately, the continuation of this journey will be a win-win for our young people and the economy.

John Yarham, Deputy CEO, The Careers & Enterprise Company

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

#SkillsWorldLive Video: Why is it important to have diversity in apprenticeships?

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Edge Future Learning - Making education relevant...

Building on our work with Edge Future Learning Leaders and Partners around the world, our model includes three key principles that help bring...

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page