Literature Review: Best Practice in Career Guidance Services

SQW, in partnership with the International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGs) at the University of Derby, has been commissioned by the Skills Funding Agency to deliver a Best Practice Programme for the National Careers Service in England. The intention is for this to be firmly based on national and international evidence of 'what works' in the effective delivery of career guidance services. To this end, a series of best practice literature reviews were carried out and form a key part of the underpinning evidence base for the programme.


At the time of the reviews (early 2015), the service had recently undergone a shift to an outcome-based funding model. The three new outcome measures identified for the service were: customer satisfaction, career management and progression to jobs and learning. The service had also recently been given a new role to broker relationships between employers, education institutions and local partners to identify and promote opportunities for young people.

To ensure maximum value and relevance to the new requirements of the service, therefore, the following four questions were identified as the foci for the literature reviews:

  1. How can careers services maximise customer satisfaction?
  2. How can careers services maximise their impact on career management skills?
  3. How can careers services maximise their impact on individual's progression to positive learning and work destinations?
  4. How is effective brokerage between education and employers organised?

A fifth theme related to evidence on the policies, systems and processes underpinning the organisation or careers services was also identified and the literature review relating to this will be published later in the year.