"Deirdre and her colleagues were an invaluable resource when we were considering the impact of the Apprenticeship Levy on our business and the how we could modernize our approach to developing the 125,000 young people and adults we employ across the UK. Deirdre’s professionalism, knowledge, insight and network were all tremendous assets, and she proved to be a great thought-partner to myself and a range of stakeholders across the organization, helping navigate us towards a range of solutions which were not only business outcome focused, but would benefit our employer brand and most importantly our employees."
Richard Evans, Director of Talent & Learning - McDonald’s UK & Ireland
"Dr Deirdre Hughes has been a consistent and very effective advocate for improving careers advice for young people and has championed the importance of strong and robust labour market evidence to support that. She has given presentations on behalf of the UKCES as well as being a huge support to the Strategic Management Group."
Sir Charlie Mayfield - Chair, UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES)
"Dr Deirdre Hughes’ report for the Institutes for Adult Education - Adult Education: Too Important To Be Left To Chance - has influenced the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Adult Education, including the call for a national adult education strategy. The report moved the evidence base on by bringing together the views of students, practitioners and policy makers all within the same survey. The project was delivered within a short timeframe and it was a feat of coordination and synthesis to capture the diverse data sets and distil them into a such a clear overview with challenging recommendations."
Ruth Spellman OBE -Chief Executive and General Secretary The WEA
I had the privilege of working with Dr Deirdre Hughes when helping Welsh Government to review careers services in Wales. Deirdre is a fantastic colleague who is widely respected for her breadth and depth of understanding and knowledge, not to mention her forensic abilities when it comes to detailed analysis of complicated situations. She also has all of the people skills that are essential for gathering information and viewpoints of a very wide range of stakeholders, using a mixture of humour with constructive challenge."
Professor Emeritus Danny Saunders OBE
I have worked with Deirdre over the past 20 years – first as a research collaborator when she was the founding Director of iCEGs, University of Derby for ten years; second as co-researcher, when she left Derby to set up her own business; third as a colleague, when she joined the Institute for Employment of Research at the University of Warwick as Principal Research Fellow. Over that time, and across different contexts, we have worked together on a whole range of research and policy initiatives, across the UK, in Europe and internationally. She has an impressive skill set, ranging from chairing, presenting, liaising, leading, coordinating, through to highly productive outputs. Always ready to embrace a new challenge, never daunted by complexity and able to work effectively across a whole range of individuals, she is unstinting in her commitment, once given, and demonstrates an awesome ability for hard work under pressure, as well as perseverance. Unfailingly good humoured and patient, she is a pleasure to have as work colleague.
Professor Jenny Bimrose, Institute for Employment Research, the University of Warwick
The role of NCGE is to inform policy and quality practice in guidance in the education sector in Ireland. NCGE has invited and contracted Dr Deirdre Hughes to work with us on a number of occasions to support and inform our work. We fully endorse her professionalism in the area of guidance policy and research, specifically in relating evidence based practice to evolving guidance policy. We, and national and European colleagues have learned and benefitted from her expertise in developing and understanding the links between research and practice.
Jennifer McKenzie Director National Centre for Guidance in Education - Dublin
"I have had the great pleasure in working with Deidre to help implement and promote CEIAG strategies in Somerset and her passion and enthusiasm for promoting the life chances of our young people is both inspiring and exciting. Deidre’s knowledge and words of wisdom are always gratefully received and her generosity in sharing updates and well-researched opinions are much appreciated. Deidre reinforces your confidence and self-belief to continue on the pathway to improved Careers Education which can only have a positive impact for our young people in Somerset."
Dr Julie Young - Post 16 Adviser for Somerset Somerset County Council
"Working with London Councils, the Mayor’s Office, the London Enterprise Panel and the Greater London Authority Dr Hughes was instrumental in informing and shaping London Ambitions, a careers offer for young Londoners. Dr Hughes brought stakeholders across the education and business sector together to ensure our work was well-informed and could stand up to scrutiny. Her extensive expertise in careers, employment and skills policy, research and practice provided London Ambitions with real credibility. The quality of London Ambitions has been recognised by local and national government and has influenced the development of careers offers across the country."
Yolande Burgess -Strategy Director London Councils
“Deirdre’s guidance and knowledge in the careers landscape has helped us shape some of the content for our careers and skills events. Her role in chairing one of our strategy groups has brought credibility and expertise that underpins the achievements and work the group undertakes.”

"Deirdre was instrumental in us launching a major careers and skills event for Northern Ireland. Deirdre worked in partnership with us to undertake research to understand the careers landscape and create partnerships that would see us launch a successful, annual event that now attracts over 7,000 visitors and 100 organisations. Deirdre is Chair of our Strategy and Advisory Group and continues to provide expert guidance and knowledge to develop Skills Northern Ireland ensuring it delivers outcomes fit for Northern Ireland residents year on year.”
Nina Hurst-Jones, Operations Director, Prospects Events
"Deirdre was instrumental in facilitating the formation of the Black Country Careers Development Advisory Partnership (BCCDAP). This was a diverse and sometimes competing grouping of the key Black Country players in the fragmented world of CEIAG delivery in the region. With Deirdre’s guidance and experience the group formulated and agreed a strategy for school careers called “Black Country Ambitions”. This strategy has been endorsed by Black Country LEP and will form part of the Strategic Economic Plan for the region. The BCCDAP Partnership and subsequent Black Country Ambitions strategy would not have happened without Deidre’s involvement, advice and expertise."
Colin Parker - Skills Factory Director
"Adviza has been delighted to work with Deirdre over many years. We like the academic integrity of her work, her professional approach and the added value that you get from working with her. She is approachable and able to engage staff at all levels. She is one of our “go to” people – reliable, high quality and a good person to do business with."
Katherine Horler CEO Adviza
I would like to thank Deirdre and Karen for the excellent research they provided to support a procurement process. The work helped shaped the responses for the Authority and inform the bid model"
Victoria Blakeman Senior Director - Prospects
"Deirdre Hughes is a truly inspirational individual and her stamina and capacity for work is exceptional. With her support and backing, the National Careers Service in the West Midlands, has been able to move forward an important piece of work with other careers and enterprise partners in the Black Country that will impact positively on the employability and careers aspirations of young people in the area. Thank you Deirdre for your tenacity, professionalism and for that gentle push when it has been needed. As keynote speaker on the career landscape, Deirdre has supported our Inspiration Agenda conference events and just her name alone on the programme has encouraged teachers and career professionals to attend – a win, win for us all. I have much to thank Deirdre for as she has been a great inspiration to me personally as well as impacting positively on the work I have led on in the West Midlands for the National Careers Service."
Gloria Smith Partnership Manager National Careers Service – West Midlands
"I have collaborated with Deirdre Hughes on a variety of careers guidance projects in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland over the past twenty years. These projects combined the design of career services with organizational development. Two things stand out about her many contributions to these projects. First, was her skill in establishing evidence-based practice and then relating the evidence to evolving guidance policy. Second, was her ability to manage the change process, both in terms of planning and group facilitation."
Professor James Sampson - Florida State University Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems