This report prepared by the Centre for Educational Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, describes a trial of possible measures of young people’s career self management skills and decision-making. The research considered pupils’ use of self-help services, in particular career development websites, and the impact of these websites on pupils’ career related learning and skills.
The main findings include:
- the use of career development websites in Scotland has had a very limited impact on pupils’ career related learning and skills; the only positive discernible impact on career related learning and skills was from an interview with a careers adviser
- the use of the school’s career library had a greater impact on pupils’ career management skills than did the use of the main Scottish career development websites
- for school-pupils, self-help provision is only one element that is used alongside other career service provision
- truancy, having a negative attitude to school, and lower attainment were associated with a lower usage of self-help services including career websites. These factors, however, did not make a difference to the chances of pupils having direct contact with a careers advisor (both on a group and an individual basis)
- pupils from a minority ethnic background were more likely to seek direct contact with a careers advisor than to use self-help services
- family and friends are considered by pupils to be their most important source of career information and advice.
These findings are important in the light of the central role envisaged for career development websites (as well as other ICT) in government strategies for careers related learning and skills.