4. Impact studies on the effectiveness of Career Management Skills

4. Impact studies on the effectiveness of Career Management Skills

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Young people face a lengthening transition from education to the world of work. The average age that young people leave full-time education has been rising for over a century. Within the education system they are frequently asked to make choices about subject, institution and qualifications that will exert a profound influence on their future lives. This is an issue for all young people and is particularly concerning because social capital is a significant influence on careers. Some young people can lack the social capital to develop an awareness of careers and labour markets, decision making around careers and progression routes available to them through education and training. They can then be at risk of being outperformed by their more advantaged peers when building their careers. This paper discusses recent developments in policy and career strategy in England for young people and the extent to which career strategy is moving away from being a marginalised policy area. It examines a recent pilot which has operationalised elements of the recent career strategy for young people and an evaluation which explores how career guidance, as an all-inclusive measure, is being used to impact positively on learners in the short, medium and long term.

The development of Career Management Skills (CMS) is one of the main areas against which the National Careers Service is monitored and funded. This paper reports on the key findings from a review of the literature relating to CMS. The review initially identified over 15,000 papers for possible inclusion and a systematic process was applied to sift these down to 21 high quality papers that directly address the core issue of CMS outcomes. There is an established evidence base on how to develop CMS skills (such as  through engagement with self-awareness or career decision-making activities). However, as Sultana (2012) argued, more needs to be done to better understand the impact of CMS on economic and social outcomes, such as individual self-efficacy, approaches to developing occupational pathways, progression to employment and increased satisfaction at work. The Best Practice Programme of research within the National Careers Service provides an ideal opportunity to explore any emerging relationship between individuals’ CMS development and jobs and learning outcomes.

Managing one’s pathway through learning and work has become more demanding in a world characterised by a differentiated education landscape, by more frequent transitions due to temporary employment, by re- and up-skilling due to rapid technological change, by new uncertainties due to the changing nature of employment contracts and employee status in platform economies as well as by later retirement in aging societies. When leaving school, young people are faced with multiple routes through further education, VET, and higher education. Before entering their first paid job, millions of young people in Europe, in particular graduates from university, complete internships. More often than adults, young people are hired on the basis of a fixed-term contract: In 2015, on average 40,5 % of youth employees (aged 15-24) were on temporary contracts reaching more than 60 % in several EU countries.

Career Guidance and Counselling (CGC) is a developing professional field where many different actors, providers, customers, managers, etc., have an interest of good quality and the best possible service. At the same time practitioners and managers know about the dilemma between maintaining the day to day work with the clients – that should be in the focus of their practice – and the growing number of administrative tasks, need for networking and – not at least – quality measures. Evaluating the own service is for many CGC policies, services or projects a difficult task. One of the reasons is the complexity of the different steps and decisions an organization has to take, if they want to conduct evaluations that lead to informative, meaningful and justified results. The Keyway project is aiming to support responsible policy makers, managers or practitioners who want to start with the evaluation and measurement of the impacts of their services. In addition, it can be addressed to the ones who also want to improve the evaluation and measurement of impacts methods or improve those methods already used to measure. The project developed in cooperation with relevant actors, managers and  practitioners, different tools that might help in designing and realizing such an evaluation. This Guide can be seen as a practical, step by step introduction, giving orientation and concrete help.

ELGPN is involved in the ongoing piloting and testing of the QualityAssurance and Evidence-Base (QAE) Framework. The QAE Framework identifies a series of key elements that should be built into national systems to support quality service delivery and underpin the collection of evidence:

 Practitioner competence.
 Citizen/user involvement.
 Service provision and improvement.
 Cost-benefits to government.
 Cost-benefits to individuals.

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The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Project Number 612881-EPP-1-2019-1-IT-EPPKA3-PI-FORWARD