From education to employment

£2.5m fund for Personal Careers Guidance in schools and colleges

The Careers & Enterprise Company has announced the first wave of organisations to benefit from a £2.5m investment fund to support personal guidance in schools and colleges.

Four organisations will share just under £870,000 in the first phase of the fund, with up to £1.7m available in the second round of funding.

The four organisations are Achieving for Children, Adviza, the Association of Colleges and Careers Connect (further details below).

The Personal Guidance Fund invests in projects that deliver innovative models of personal careers guidance to clusters of schools and colleges. With a focus on the training of careers development professionals, the fund aims to explore the effectiveness of different approaches to career guidance, and how they can be scaled up and integrated across the education system.

These funded programmes will be used to create case studies, develop guidance on scaling best practice, identify new approaches and make the case for further investment.

The Careers & Enterprise Company have engaged independent career development professionals, careers organisations and the UK-wide professional body, to help shape their approach to the investment fund. 

A steering group – including representatives from the Careers Development Institute, Careers England and others – has provided advice and helped to ensure the fund has the greatest, sustainable impact on the sector and young people.

Why personal guidance matters

Personal guidance is vital for students to plan for their future careers. Personal careers guidance is effectively a process, and supported by a qualified career adviser, challenges individuals to self-assess, consider their values and ambitions and make realistic and informed decisions about their futures.

The Gatsby Benchmarks for good careers education say that every student should have a minimum of one personal guidance interview with a qualified careers adviser by the age of 16, and the opportunity for a further interview by the age of 18.

However, the Careers & Enterprise Company’s State of the Nation report – based on self-assessments by schools – suggests that less than half of schools (46%) are meeting this benchmark.

Steve Stewart OBE, Executive Director of Careers England, said:

“Careers England welcomes The Careers & Enterprise Company Investment Fund to support Personal Guidance. With an ever-changing labour market and huge lifelong financial costs of some post 18 learning options there has never been a more important time to provide high quality careers guidance to our young people”

Jan Ellis, Chief Executive of the Careers Development Institute, said: 

“The Career Development Institute is delighted to support this much needed investment in personal career guidance. Misinformation has led some to believe that career guidance counselling is expensive, perhaps because previous governments have had confused objectives for careers services in England. This is not true and these first projects will show that high quality and impactful personal guidance for young people can be provided at an economic price.”  

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

“Personal guidance is a key ingredient of a good careers education. We know there are already countless careers professional doing really effective, innovative work in the personal guidance space. This fund is about backing and celebrating that good practice, so it can be scaled up and shared across the country.”

Funded programmes

Achieving for Children – £105,000

Achieving for Children is a Community Interest Company created in 2014 to deliver children’s services across Kingston upon Thames and Richmond local authorities. The programme will work across 13 mainstream and special schools, providing ‘Next Steps’ personal guidance interviews to students with Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans and those with special educational needs (SEN Support in schools) in Years 10 and 13. The interviews will provide information on post-16 options and help them explore longer term aspirations. The programme will also provide professional development and training for careers development professionals and upskill existing SEND coordinators. 

Adviza – £114,000

Adviza is a charity working across the Thames Valley that inspires people to make better decisions that help them progress in learning and work. Adviza have been funded to deliver two programmes. The first programme will offer a number of Level 6 career guidance trained Advisers the opportunity to gain an accredited Coaching qualification.  This will enable them to embed alternative techniques into practice and provide an enhanced personal guidance offer in a number of schools across the area.

The second programme will improve the impact of personal guidance by harnessing the power of parents and carers. The programme will actively involve and inform parents to make sure their interactions with young people are positive and support good decision making. The programme will encourage parents and carers to explore and resolve any mismatch in their expectations and young peoples’ wishes.

Association of Colleges – £431,000

Working across 12 colleges across England, the Association of Colleges will strengthen and extend the reach of their existing personal guidance delivery within colleges. The project will train curriculum staff to deliver effective ‘triage’ which supports the delivery of every learner receiving a personal guidance interview. Colleges included in this project will be providing support for students from disadvantaged backgrounds and Special Educational Needs.

Career Connect – £220,000

Career Connect is a charity working across the North West, helping individuals to realise their potential through well-informed career choices and practical actions to secure effective progression pathways.

Career Connect is currently providing careers advice and guidance services in the majority of schools across the Liverpool City Region and Salford. The project will enhance and develop existing delivery in 12 identified schools by: developing a school based personal guidance community; providing robust professional development; using innovative digital tools to increase efficiency; and providing discreet programmes targeted at disadvantaged groups.

Applications for the second wave of funding are open from today until the end of November.

Any organisation bringing together a group of schools or colleges can apply – including local authorities, LEPs, MATs, Careers Hubs, Opportunity Areas or careers provider from the charity of commercial world. However, schools and colleges should be involved in the development of proposals.


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