Report: All things being equal?

Equality and diversity in careers education, information, advice and guidance

Our new report looking at careers education and guidance shows there is an aspiration gap for some young people and identifies specific barriers facing different groups.

The report provides strong evidence that careers education and guidance affects the aspirations, subject, career choices and future pay and progression for different groups of young people. The Commission’s review of equality “How Fair is Britain?” demonstrated that one of the drivers for positive equality outcomes is good quality careers education and guidance. But evidence in this new report shows that the influence of careers education and guidance is weak at present. It shows that provision varies due to confusing requirements, weak inspection and insufficient teacher training.

The report indicates that careers education and guidance is failing some young people, particularly disabled people, women and ethnic minorities, either because it doesn’t meet their needs or does not effectively challenge stereotypical thinking.

As a result, some industries have skills shortages, for example through women not choosing to study science, technology, engineering or maths subjects. It says that more work needs to be done to ensure that the high aspirations evident among so many young people, particularly those from ethnic minorities, are not dampened by fear of discrimination and by disadvantage.

The report recommends that:

  • schools be required to ensure all students get careers education that raises aspirations and addresses equality issues;
  • career education should start in primary school to tackle inequalities;
  • the education sector works closer with parents and with businesses, so that students have a genuine idea of the career paths available to them;
  • careers education and guidance is inspected, so that progress can be properly monitored and its effectiveness measured against choices, progression and post-school destinations for different groups.

The Commission launched the report on 12 July with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Sex Equality. At the launch event Eleanor Laing MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Sex Equality welcomed the report:

'The All Party Parliamentary Group for Sex Equality is pleased to have been able to assist in the launch of such an important report. I appreciate how important careers advice and planning is if we are to give every young person the opportunity to develop their own skills and talents to their greatest potential.'

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Research report 71: All things being equal? Equality and Diversity in careers education, information, advice and guidance

Last Updated: 13 May 2014