The value of careers education

The Education Endowment Foundation in the UK has published a review of the international research into careers education, defined as careers-focused school- or college-mediated provision designed to improve students’ education, employment, and/or social outcomes.

Deirdre Hughes and colleagues from the Warwick Institute for Employment Research found that research in the field is weak and fragmented, due mainly to the complexity of differing aspects of careers education being identified and reported in differing ways. Overall, there are significant shortages in quasi-experimental and experimental studies in the career development field.
However, longitudinal studies suggest that the way in which teenagers think about their futures in education and employment has a significant impact on their future as working adults. Teenagers who have underestimated the education required for their desired profession, for example, are statistically more likely to end up not in education, employment, or training. Young people from poorer backgrounds are more likely to have career aspirations that are misaligned with their educational ambitions.

Teenage experience of work—in particular part-time employment—has been associated with improved economic outcomes for young adults. Overwhelmingly, studies identify positive economic outcomes for adults who worked part-time as teenagers while in full-time education. There is evidence of a negative impact on immediate achievement outcomes, although impacts are modest when hours worked are low.

Of the 73 studies included in the review most (46) were carried out in the US, with a smaller number (18) from the UK.

Source: Careers education: International literature review (2016), Education Endowment Foundation

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