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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki
United-Kingdom-Scotland

United-Kingdom-Scotland

3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.4 Career guidance and counselling

LAST MODIFIED ON: 10/11/2020

On this page
  1. Career guidance and counselling services
  2. Funding
  3. Quality assurance

 


Career guidance and counselling services

Skills Development Scotland

The Scottish Government is committed to all-age, universal career information advice and guidance, with more and better support for those who need it most; for example, school leavers at risk of unemployment and unemployed adults. Publicly-funded careers services are provided throughout Scotland by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) which now incorporates Careers Scotland. Its web service, My World of Work, provides free expert information and advice for people at any stage in their careers. Advisors are also based in community and partner premises across Scotland and in SDS's Customer Contact Centre

Its careers services are shaped by the 2011 Scottish Government's Career Information, Advice and Guidance Strategy and the 2014 Youth Employment Strategy, which aligns with the 2014 recommendations of the Commission of Developing Scotland's Young Workforce.

SDS’s services are based around Careers Management Skills (CMS) - the skills that allow people to develop their own career plan and map out the education, job and careers choices which can help make that a reality. SDS develops Service Delivery Agreements with local authorities and their community planning partners in order to support local priorities and improve joint planning and service delivery, thereby contributing to the outcomes of improved skills and increased employment. This includes providing support for people at key transition points, such as young people who are looked after or leaving care.  

Youth Guarantee 

Skills Development Scotland is one of the delivery partners for Opportunities for All, the Scottish Government's commitment to an offer of a place in learning or training for all 16-19 year olds. This partially meets the definition of the European Youth Guarantee; see the article on 'Traineeships and Apprenticeships' for further information. 

Schools and colleges

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) delivers information, advice and guidance in secondary schools based on accurate, up-to-date information about the labour market, including job opportunities and the full range of vocational and academic learning and training available. SDS staff advise school pupils on appropriate vocational opportunities and assist them to assess their own potential and plan their career. In many schools, a deputy head teacher or a support teacher co-operates with them to ensure that pupils receive appropriate careers guidance and acts as a link with local industry and with further and higher education. Many higher education institutions have a school liaison service.

Children and young people learn about skills and careers through their Curriculum for Excellence journeys. The table below shows the type of help and support SDS offers at each stage.

Year group

Early years   to P6

P7

S1

S2

S3

S4

S5

S6

Age (years)

3 to 11

11-12

12-13

13-14

14-15

15-16

16-17

17-18

Career management skills and learning about careers and work in Curriculum for Excellence

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Register and use of My World of Work

 

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SDS drop-in clinics

 

 

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One to one career coaching for those who need it

 

 

 

 

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One to one career coaching for those making subject choices

 

 

 

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SDS careers advisers at parents’ evenings

 

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Information shared with parents about My World of Work

 

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Group sessions with SDS careers advisers

 

 

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Group sessions on current and future labour markets

 

 

 

 

 

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Adapted from: Curriculum for Excellence in a Nutshell, The National Parent Forum of Scotland Introduction to Career Education, 2015

Higher education 

The UK Quality Code for Higher Education sets an expectation (in Chapter 4B: Enabling student development and achievement) that higher education providers must:

have in place, monitor and evaluate arrangements and resources which enable students to develop their academic, personal and professional potential. (p.6)

The manner in which they do so is their own responsibility.

While higher education institutions (HEIs) are under no statutory obligation to provide careers information and advice, this is recognised as an important aspect of their overall provision for students. All HEIs have their own careers service staffed by professionals who are trained in this area. The Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) is the professional association for HE careers practitioners.

In many cases, students can still access their university careers service up to three years after graduation. Some universities allow lifelong access.

Funding

Funding levels for Skills Development Scotland are set out in the letter of guidance it receives annually from the Scottish Government. The letter also sets out key targets, objectives and priorities.  In 2018/19 this figure was £193.3m (€218.3m) In 2019/20 this figure was £214.7m. 

Quality assurance

Schools

Since April 2014, Education Scotland has conducted external reviews of Scotland's careers information, advice and guidance services. It publishes reports on provision based on local authority geographical areas, with some additional reports on themes of national interest.

The 2011 policy paper Career Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) in Scotland -  A Framework for Service Redesign and Improvement highlighted the role of partnerships in developing and improving service provision; part of their role involves working with Education Scotland to help support quality assurance and improvement.

The key documents for quality assurance of careers information advice and guidance are:

Higher education

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) carries out reviews to check whether higher education providers are meeting the expectations set out in Chapter 4B: Enabling student development and achievement of the Quality Code for Higher Education.

The Quality Code provides indicators of sound practice. The indicator most relevant to career guidance and counselling services is Indicator 6:

Higher education providers ensure all students have opportunities to develop skills that enable their academic, personal and professional progression. (p.16)

This indicator is supported by examples of how it may be interpreted in practice, grouped under the following headings:

  • developing academic skills
  • developing employability skills
  • facilitating career management.

Since autumn 2012, universities have had to supply information on the destinations and salaries of their recent graduates as part of the Unistats data set collection. This information allows prospective students to compare institutions by employability rates of graduates. Data on the employment of graduates is also included in the annual survey of Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE).