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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.4 Career guidance and counselling

Last update: 26 January 2021

LAST MODIFIED ON: 13/11/2020

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


Career guidance and counselling services

Schools and colleges

The Welsh Government’s Careers and the World of Work: A Framework for 11 to 19-year-olds in Wales (WAG, 2009) and related guidance and educational materials are the key documents that learning providers use to review and develop careers guidance provision for students in secondary school and further education colleges. The Careers and the World of Work (CWW) Framework is intended to help learners to:

  • explore the attitudes and values required for employability and lifelong learning
  • plan and manage their pathway through the range of opportunities in learning and work 
  • make effective career choices 
  • become entrepreneurial
  • flourish in a variety of work settings 
  • become motivated, set long term goals and overcome barriers 
  • see the relevance of their studies to their life and work
  • develop Key Skills and other skills required by employers
  • prepare for the challenges, choices and responsibilities of work and adult life.

CWW forms part of the basic curriculum for all registered pupils aged 11 to 16 at maintained and special schools. CWW may be delivered as an integrated element across a wide range of curriculum subjects, as part of a tutorial programme, through personal and social education (PSE), in separate classes or modules, through one-off events, through work-focussed activities, and where possible, work placements. A wide range of partners is normally involved in delivering CWW, including employers, entrepreneurs, advisers, parents, trainers and community groups.

CWW is also part of the ‘Learning Core’ of Learning Pathways for 14–19 year olds (see the subheading ‘Curriculum, Subjects, Numbers of Hours’ in the article on ‘Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education’ in the Eurydice education system description). Indeed, all 14-19 year old learners are entitled to access impartial and professional careers information, advice and guidance. Since 2013, Careers Wales has delivered this service.

Higher education 

While higher education institutions (HEIs) are under no statutory obligation to provide careers information and advice, it is recognised as an important aspect of their overall provision for students. Indeed, the UK Quality Code for Higher Education sets an expectation, as outlined in Indicator 6 of Chapter B4: 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.

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

Careers Wales

Careers Wales provides free, impartial careers information, advice and guidance for all ages in both English and Welsh. It offers help and support for adults:

  • who are unemployed
  • thinking of changing careers
  • returning to work or learning after a break
  • facing redundancy
  • seeking promotion
  • looking to develop their skills within their current job role.

Additional services include help with interview skills CV preparation and information provision.

Its remit and priorities support the Welsh Government’s strategic objectives and related Welsh Government policies, such as the Youth Engagement and Progression Framework (YEPF). Careers Wales plays a key role in the delivery of the Youth Guarantee (see the section 'Youth Guarantee' in the article on 'Traineeships and Apprenticeships') and makes the Youth Guarantee Prospectus (also known as the Common Area Prospectus) and application process available on its website. 

Careers Wales is part of the broader 'careers family' in Wales – organisations which provide services to help people to become more effective at planning and managing their careers over time. The 'careers family' includes careers services provided by higher education institutions, schools and colleges, work based learning providers, local authority youth services, learning coaches, Jobcentre Plus, Probation and Youth Offending Services and others. 


Schools, colleges and universities are responsible for funding the services they offer.  Funding arrangements are described in the Eurydice network’s description of education systems. 

Careers Wales is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Welsh Government. The remit, priorities and budget for Careers Wales are set out in an annual letter (2019/20 letter) from the Minister for Education and Skills. 

Quality assurance

Schools and colleges 

Estyn, the Office of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales, covers both career education and career guidance in its inspection framework for schools.

Careers Wales maintains and administers the Careers Wales Mark, which was developed following the introduction of the framework for Careers and the world of work (CWW) as part of the Revised Curriculum (2008).  Careers Wales accredits establishments (schools, colleges, etc.) that have demonstrated that they have active procedures in place to ensure continuous improvement in the outcomes for their learners.

The annual survey of school leavers, undertaken by Careers Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government, provides a snapshot of pupil destinations over a five year period and looks at the routes chosen by young people according to their ethnicity and gender. It is published online.

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 UK Quality Code for Higher Education. As noted above, 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.

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 the autumn of 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).

Careers Wales

The annual remit and priorities letter sent to Careers Wales by the Welsh Government contains the measures against which the quality of its services are measured. In 2019/20, they were expected to report against the following key performance and tracking indicators that refer to employability support for young people:

  • Professional, impartial and personalised advice and guidance and assessment service to identify and overcome barriers to entering employment; 
  • Robust assessment of need to improve the consistency of professional employability advice and systematically refer individuals to appropriate support.