May 10, 2018 dmh

John Swinney, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills announced today:

Firstly, we need better advice. We need to do more to ensure that there is a clear connection between the advice and guidance young people receive on subject choices and on longer term career options. They are often making annual decisions about subject choices. We need to ensure that this is informed by a meaningful understanding of career opportunities.

Since 2011, Skills Development Scotland has significantly enhanced the advice young people receive about career information and better focus this on those who need it most. At the same time, the Developing Young Workforce programme has raised expectations for schools to provide increased advice about the world of work. Building on this progress, this review makes recommendations about the way in which career choices are presented, experienced, and developed through the senior phase and beyond. Central to this is continuing to enhance support which focuses on the individual young person; their interests and aspirations; and their wider health and wellbeing across transition points. This will require us to build on the innovative work being done across Scotland to improve outcomes for all of Scotland’s children. We will need to ensure that we make the links with colleagues working in Community Learning & Development (CLD); Children and Young People Improvement Collaboratives (CYPIC); those who are participating in Scottish Improvement Leaders (ScIL) training; those working on the Scottish Attainment Challenge; and the newly formed Regional Improvement Collaboratives (RICs).

He emphasises the increasing interest across Scotland about what “we can do to stop children from having stressful and traumatic experiences as they are growing up – what are often called adverse childhood experiences, or for short, ACEs. These can be different types of challenging experiences faced by young people and in responding to these I want us all to think about how we evolve the culture of the education and skills system toward greater nurturing and support, anchoring our approach in the rights of the child and young person.”

Secondly, we need more work-based learning. Participants in this review told us that we need to build on the early success of the Developing the Young Workforce 6 programme and continue to broaden our approach to education to ensure that all learners have access to a more balanced range of options which are valued equally. Our post-15 education system has evolved at a considerable pace, adapting to different economic circumstances and this has resulted in the need for new and stronger types of collaboration. Many young people are leaving school with a wider range of qualifications, skills-based awards and achievements, and more are making successful initial transitions. A record 93.7 per cent of senior phase school leavers were in a positive destination three months after leaving school in 2016/17. This compares to 90.1 per cent in 2011/12.1 We want to build on this toward a fully co-created 15-24 education and skills system that is capable of preparing all our young people for a rapidly changing world of work; that provides a balance of work-based and academic skills informed by employer engagement; and is driven by a focus on the destinations of young people and the needs of the Scottish economy. To do this we will need strong system leadership to bring together the worlds of education and business and the complementary strengths of practitioners in different education sectors.

Thirdly, we need shorter journeys. Participants in this review told us that we need to improve the alignment of courses so that our learners are able to progress through the post-15 education system as smoothly and efficiently as possible. We have an internationally renowned four year degree. One of its major strengths is its multiple-entry points. Despite this, this review has confirmed that we are not making the most of this. As a first step to improving the experience for the learner in navigating the system, we are committed to addressing this and this report sets a key expectation for more purposeful collaboration between schools, colleges and universities.

Within the 15-24 Learner Journey Review Findings

Noted: There is a strong CIAG (Careers Information Advice & Guidance) offer in place in schools, strengthened further by the Career Education Standard 3-18 and SDS/ School Partnership Agreements. However, evidence from the reviews of the Career Education Standard and CIAG shows that there is still more to be done for schools to take more responsibility for this and for greater links to be made between learning in the classroom and its relevance to the world of work.

Feedback from engagement work also suggests the need for CIAG to be backed up with more on-going personalised support for young people, throughout key points of their journey, which looks at their wider health and wellbeing, as well as career aspirations and academic ability. This would suggest that there is room for improvement in delivering on the CfE (Curriculum for Excellence) entitlement to personal support.

The quality of career information, advice and guidance services delivered by Skills Development Scotland in schools and local authorities continues to be externally reviewed by Education Scotland through the ‘External review of CIAG services’ framework. This approach has consistently reported that there is a high quality and collaborative approach in place to improve outcomes for young people in Scotland. Moreover, that this service supports the development of lifelong career management skills, to enable young people to make better informed decisions about their current and future learning, skills and career choices.

In thinking about how we maximise access to this service and information more generally, it was clear from our engagement that many parents, carers, practitioners and young people continue to have limited awareness of the full range of options available. This was also the conclusion of a recent report produced for Skills Development Scotland & Scottish Government, Parents and Carers Research, produced by Progressive Partnership and published in May 2018. The report highlights that parental/carer understanding of the range of post-school options is fairly limited and even those parents generally aware of the options available often had very little understanding of the detail of these. Copies of this report are available at

A series of 17 recommendations are outlined in a two page summary – see pages 11 & 12 –

Recommendation 3. We will ensure learners in schools, colleges and universities receive a joined-up approach to careers, information, advice and guidance. This work will start in 2018. We will work in partnership with colleges to ensure greater consistency in CIAG service delivery to learners. This will include better access to specific career practitioners in the college sector. We will work with QAA (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education) and Universities to ensure their quality processes align with Scottish Government aspirations for learner access to CIAG support.

This recommendation would be led by the Scottish Government working with the Scottish Funding Council, Colleges Scotland, Universities Scotland, QAA and Skills Development Scotland.

Long-term vision

To publish a careers strategy in 2019, which will align with the already published Career Education Standard, and focus on the all age careers service incorporating earlier career advice in schools; CIAG services in FE and HE; as well as support encompassing the wider employability landscape.


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