EEF to investigate ways to improve careers education for disadvantaged pupils

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), supported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, is to investigate ways to improve outcomes for young people through careers education, it was announced today.

The organisations have jointly commissioned a review of evidence to identify the most effective types of careers education and to determine the current state of careers education at English state schools. The review, due to be published later this year, will be conducted by Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE, Principal Research Fellow at the University of Warwick’s Institute for Employment Research, and Dr Anthony Mann, Director of Policy and Research at the Education Employers Charity.

The review will look at research relevant to the provision of careers-focused education in schools, including career guidance and work-related learning.

Having the right careers education is key to ensuring young people know all the options available to them, and are able to make informed decisions regarding subject choices, apprenticeships and college or university courses. International research suggests that careers education can also have a positive effect on attainment by engaging and motivating students with their school-work.

There is strong evidence that too much careers education in England is inadequate and that the quality varies considerably by school and area. There is a risk that a lack of good quality careers education will disproportionately impact on students from disadvantaged backgrounds, who are perhaps less likely to have family or friends with the breadth of insight and expertise to offer informed advice, and who could be left poorly equipped in making decisions about their futures.

By commissioning this in-depth review, the Education Endowment Foundation and Bank of America Merrill Lynch aim to help schools make informed and evidence-based decisions about their careers programmes and approaches to employer engagement.

Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said today:

“High-quality careers advice can make a real difference to young people’s outcomes after school but research suggests that its current provision in England is patchy at best. Finding out what the evidence says about effective approaches and programmes, and their link to academic attainment, will help teachers and school leaders to make informed decisions about the advice and support they offer.”

“I’m delighted that we’re being supported by Bank of America Merrill Lynch who are offering funding, support and advice and that Dr Deidre Hughes OBE and Dr Anthony Mann, leading experts in this field, will be undertaking this review. Together, we hope to identify the most promising ways to improve outcomes through careers education in England.”

Anthony Harte, Head of Community Engagement, EMEA at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said:

“Youth unemployment is one of today’s biggest social concerns for government and communities across the UK. This is why, at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, a large proportion of our support focuses on initiatives that promote skills, knowledge and aspiration to facilitate young people’s transition from education into employment. We are therefore pleased to work with the Education Endowment Foundation and look forward to the results of this research, which should strengthen our understanding of the effectiveness of careers education.”


  • 1.The Education Endowment Foundation is a charity set up in 2011 by The Sutton Trust, as lead charity in partnership with Impetus Trust (now part of Impetus–The Private Equity Foundation), with a £125m founding grant from the Department for Education. It is dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement. Since its launch the EEF has awarded £70.8 million to 121 projects working with over 750,000 pupils in over 6,600 schools across England.
  • 2.Developing solutions for social and economic challenges is at the core of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Corporate Social Responsibility platform. In more than 90 countries around the world, they partner with employees, clients and stakeholders to help make financial lives better. The company focuses on responsible business practices, environmental sustainability, advancing opportunity in local communities through education and employability programmes and investing in global leadership development. They realise the power of our people and value our differences, recognising that our diversity makes us a stronger firm and allows us to better service our stakeholders. By harnessing intellectual resources, sharing knowledge and connecting capital with need, they provide opportunities that effect positive change. Learn more follow them on Twitter @BofAML.
  • 3.Dr Deirdre Hughes is Principal Research Fellow at the University of Warwick’s Institute for Employment Research (IER). She is Co-Editor of the British Journal for Guidance and Counselling – International Symposium series. She has published academic works extensively on careers provision for young people and adults. In 2015, she led a UK team to examine international career development policies and practices.
  • 4.Dr Anthony Mann is Director of Policy and Research at the Education and Employers Charity. He was the lead editor of Understanding Employer Engagement in Education eds. Anthony Mann, Julian Stanley and Louise Archer (Routledge, 2014) and is the author of more than 30 works on the subject of employer engagement in education: