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Benchmark 8 – Personal Guidance

Personal Guidance

The term ‘career guidance’ is used by both Gatsby and the Careers Strategy to describe the full range of career-related interventions which support young people to make choices and to develop their career thinking. ‘Career guidance’ therefore describes all eight of Gatsby’s Benchmarks. The eighth of these Benchmarks are concerned with ‘personal guidance.’

Personal guidance describes the one-to-one interactions which take place between a careers adviser and a young person. Within Benchmark 8 of the Gatsby report there is a requirement for schools and colleges to provide young people with access to personal guidance. This should be with a careers adviser who should be trained to a minimum of level 6.

Careers advisers usually have sole responsibility for the delivery of personal guidance. However, it is important to recognise that they might also be involved in the delivery of other Gatsby Benchmarks.

What impact does personal guidance have?

There is good evidence which demonstrates the impact of personal guidance. It is associated with a range of short and long-term impacts on an individual’s:

  • Personal effectiveness e.g. self-awareness and self-esteem;
  • Career readiness e.g. career planning and decision making; and
  • Educational outcomes e.g. improved attendance and attainment.
Effective Personal guidance is…
  • Integrated into a whole school careers guidance programme which is supported by senior leadership and involves all staff in the school or college.
  • In line with Gatsby, it needs to be delivered by a qualified professional on a 1:1 basis.
  • Students are prepped prior to sessions and followed up afterwards.
  • Professional careers advisers create strong relationship with their client using a range of core skills to customise the interview to a young person’s needs.
  • Available on request and when needed, as well as at the key decision points highlighted by Gatsby.

Extracted from Careers Guidance – What Works

The Career Development Institute state that: ‘Career development professionals’ should be:

  • Career information and assessment experts: Helping individuals to assess their own strengths and connect them meaningfully to the labour market and the education system.
  • Career educators: Using pedagogic approaches to develop individuals’ career management skills.
  • Career counsellors: Using counselling, coaching and advice work approaches to help individuals to understand their situation and to progress in the labour market and education system.
  • Programme and service managers: Working with individuals and organisations to design and deliver career development programmes.
  •  Social systems intervenors and developers: Using networking, consultancy and advocacy skills to develop organisations and systems and help individuals to succeed within them.
What is a 'Careers Adviser'?

A professional Careers Adviser is defined as a practitioner who has been trained and should hold a relevant career guidance/ development qualification at a minimum of level 6 (equivalent of postgraduate degree level).

How do I find a Careers Adviser?

You can search the professional register (hosted by the Career Development Institute)

Or contact one of the three main providers in Cornwall:


Crossroads Careers Services

CSW Group


We don’t have budget to pay a Careers Adviser, can the Careers Leader carry out the guidance interviews?

The key difference between a Careers Leader and a Careers Adviser is that the Careers Leader is the person who is responsible for the strategic plans and delivery of the whole school careers programme, the Careers Adviser delivers personal guidance to students individually or in group. It is possible that the Careers Leader also acts as the Careers
Adviser if suitably qualified. However, it is important to remember that the Benchmarks outline that every student should have an interview before 16 and one after they are 16. Interviews often last 30 minutes or more.  The Careers Leader role, overseeing the whole school careers programme, is a significant task. It therefore may not be realistic for
the roles to be combined, particularly for large schools.

Can someone within our current school staff deliver personal guidance?

Many schools are choosing to train someone from within the existing staff to deliver personal guidance rather than buy it in from an external provider. It is imperative that this person can provide impartial advice.

Details on qualifications and training can be found on the CDI website.

I want to commission an external provider for how do I go about doing this?

The CDI’s commissioning guide provides practical information and advice to help schools commission independent careers guidance for pupils.

We currently have a member of staff completing a level 6 qualification, would this be enough evidence to meet Gatsby Benchmark 8?

The benchmark sets a high standard and states that staff giving one-to-one guidance to students should be qualified to an appropriate level, and the CDI specifies that to be on their register advisers must be level 6 or above. The government recommends that schools source their providers of personal guidance from this register.