According to Sutton Trust research, pupils say that they are four times less likely to have received substantial guidance on Apprenticeships than they do about University.  Additionally, more than a third (36%) of secondary school pupils in England don’t feel confident in taking their next steps in education and training either.

Previous research by the Sutton Trust highlighted a postcode lottery of careers advice across the country. Since then, the government has set targets for schools built on the Gatsby benchmarks for good careers guidance and established the Careers and Enterprise Company.

The latest research finds that while progress has been made, there is still variation across schools, with the research identifying gaps between state schools with more and less deprived intakes, and between state and private schools.

The research asked teachers and pupils about the careers activities on offer at their school, including sessions with careers advisers, employer talks and trips to careers fairs. However, 36% of students said that they had not taken part in any of the activities listed, with state school pupils more likely to say this as those in private schools (38% vs 23%).

Schools in more deprived areas are also less likely to have access to a specialist careers adviser, with 21% of teachers in the most deprived areas reporting non-specialists delivered personal guidance, compared to 14% in more affluent areas.

The research also highlights differences in guidance given to students on academic and technical routes. Nearly half (46%) of 17 and 18-year olds (Year 13) say they received a ‘large amount’ of information on university routes during their education, compared to just 10% who say the same for apprenticeships.

COVID-19 has also had an impact on careers provision. 72% of teachers think the pandemic has negatively impacted their school’s ability to deliver careers education and guidance, with teachers in state schools being more likely to report this than teachers in private schools (75% vs 59%).

To further improve careers provision across schools, the Sutton Trust make a number of recommendations:

  • Every young person should have access to a professional careers adviser and a set minimum number of interactions with employers, including work experience.
  • Students should receive more information on apprenticeship options, with better enforcement of the Baker Clause, requiring schools to give information on a range of pathways.
  • More time should be earmarked in the curriculum to deliver careers education and guidance.

A link to the full Sutton Trust report can be found here: – Paving the Way.