Careers Wales is responsible for providing an independent and impartial careers information, advice and guidance service in Wales.  ADR Wales Skills and Employability researchers have been working with Careers Wales to explore how the data it collects through the course of its work can be combined with other data to provide new and unique insights on children’s circumstances and how best to support them.

The team first examined the difficulties faced by pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds using data from ‘Career Check’, a diagnostic tool that helps careers advisors identify those pupils who are most in need of support.  They found that pupils in receipt of free school meals were more likely to report perceiving that the achievement of their goals was being hindered; that their family did not support their ideas and that a lack of money might limit their future choices.

Analyses then focused on how careers guidance is prioritised within Welsh schools. The team found that pupils with low levels of attainment, and who are eligible for free school meals, are most likely to receive guidance. However, among those with higher levels of attainment, Career Check is also used to identify those where there is cause for concern regarding their career planning capabilities.

Most recently the team have examined the effectiveness of careers guidance in supporting transitions to post-compulsory education and training. This analysis demonstrated that young people who had received a careers guidance interview during Key Stage 4 were more likely to remain in education and training, with more significant effects among the most disadvantaged groups of pupils.

Increasing engagement with post-compulsory education and training is a key aim of the Welsh Government.  This ADR Wales evidence, showing that outcomes for young people can be enhanced by careers guidance interventions and that these effects are greater among the most disadvantaged pupils, is therefore important for policymakers and practitioners.