The role of Careers Leader in schools


The government’s recent Careers Strategy sets out a number of requirements for schools which will enable them to  effectively work towards delivering the eight Gatsby benchmarks – recommendations for good careers guidance in schools. One of the most pressing requirements is for schools to have a Careers Leader in place by this September. Some schools will already have someone in a role which is pulling together the various strands of careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) but for others, it’s time to allocate the responsibility to someone who can take the school’s careers programme forwards in a strategic way.

Who takes on the role of Careers Leader is up to the school – they may be a senior or middle leader within the school or working across an academy trust or they may be a careers professional. But whatever position they might start from, they will have the responsibility for liaising with external partners such as employers or providers of careers guidance and training and for ensuring that the whole school is involved in creating a stable and embedded programme. This is a strategic leadership role and therefore different to the role of careers co-ordinator, careers adviser or enterprise co-ordinator but these jobs will be vital to the delivery of the school’s careers programme and can be part of the careers team.

The Careers Leader role best suits someone who has a real interest in the way in which young people make their career choices and what they need to do this successfully. They must be impartial – and the Baker Clause reaffirms this further, enshrining it in the statutory guidance – and be able to plan, co-ordinate and network with external agencies.

There are a number of resources which support implementing and training a Careers Leader. The Careers and Enterprise Company has produced a guide to understanding the role of the Careers Leader and also links to further guidance. The Career Development Institute (the CDI) has produced a briefing, a sample Careers Leader job description and is also running courses in Careers Leadership. At our upcoming conference in May, we’re offering the opportunity to hear David Andrews OBE give a masterclass on Careers Leadership which will set out the ways in which this can be done effectively; David is the national leader on this topic, providing training UK-wide.

It’s worth reiterating that while the Careers Leader will lead the school’s careers programme of activities, they don’t need to be delivering all of it. The role involves pulling together the various strands to involve the whole school – from governors to parents – and having in place a great team to put the plans into action.