Careers guidance has little effect on teenagers’ choices

Careers guidance has little effect on teenagers' choices A new report on the role of Information Advice and Guidance (IAG) in young people’s employment and education choices shows it has little or no lasting effect on the choices they make st school-leaving age.

Cheti Nicoletti and Richard Berthoud’s Department for Education report, The Role of Information, Advice and Guidance in Young People’s Education and Employment Choices, found:

  • Advice from Connexions has a negligible impact on both short-term opinions and on eventual choices
  • Educational advice from home and school impacts on young people’s opinions while still at school
  • It is very difficult to detect any lasting effect of CE/IAG on the choices young people actually make after reaching the minimum school leaving age
  • Advice about training opportunities appears to have a negative influence on future participation in education. But there are some signs that it may reduce the number of school leavers who fail to take part in any training or employment
  • There is some evidence that CE/IAG provision is greater, and that the effects may be stronger, for low achievers, but the differences are not large enough to measure accurately

The research analyses the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE). A sample of nearly 16,000 young people was interviewed in 2004, when they were in school year 9 (aged 13/14). They have been followed up each year since then, and the research is based on the sequence of interviews between years 9 and 13 (aged 17/18). The longitudinal design (interviewing the same young people every year) allows us to estimate the effects of inputs from year 9 on outcomes up to year 13.

Commenting on the findings, Cheti Nicoletti said:

“There are some clear signs that talking to either family members, or to school teachers, about future studies when 13-15 has some positive effects on attitudes to school, and on intention to stay in education. On the contrary, there is no evidence of a longer term effect of IAG on actual destinations of young people after 16.”

The survey asked questions in years 9, 10 and 11 about CE/IAG received from each of the three main sources: family, teachers and Connexions. The analysis mainly compares outcomes between young people who reported regular advice from each source and those who reported less.


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