Gatsby Benchmark 8


What good looks like

Every student should have opportunities for guidance interviews with a Careers Adviser, who could be internal (a member of school staff) or external, provided they are trained to an appropriate level*.


These should be available whenever significant study or career choices are being made. They should be expected for all pupils but should be timed to meet their individual needs.


Every student should have at least one such interview by the age of 16, and the opportunity for a further interview by the age of 18.


* The benchmark sets a high standard and states that staff giving one-to-one guidance to students should be qualified to an appropriate level. The CDI also 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.


Why this matters

  • Personal guidance is the provision of guidance interviews to young people in secondary education, and is one component of the Gatsby Benchmarks, which constitute a coherent and comprehensive approach to careers guidance. Access this report to understand potential return on investment (ROI) of personal guidance.
  • Providing structured personal guidance time within the school enables students to focus on their future dreams and to set goals to achieve them.
  • Research shows that students benefit from conversations with familiar and trusted adults who can challenge and support them.
  • Access to independent and impartial professional careers guidance is strongly valued by students and parents and is a recurring feature of good provision.
  • Personal guidance helps students to consolidate and reflect upon their vocational identity, career decision making and self-efficacy. It is a focal point for making sense of the vital ingredients in the careers programme including encounters with employers and higher education, experiences of workplaces and career learning in subjects.

Careers Leaders:

Getting started with BM8


  • Work with your Enterprise Co-ordinator, Enterprise Adviser and/or Careers link governor to undertake an analysis of the guidance needs of your students and how professional Careers Advisers can support your careers and enterprise programme
  • Compare approaches with other schools in your area and identify any opportunities for collaborative arrangements.


  • Consider how the National Careers Service phone, email and webchat service can complement your local offer.
  • When planning staff CPD, ensure that up to date guidance information is covered and is understood by staff.
  • With individual agreement, integrate records from careers interviews into student reporting systems so that tutors can support ongoing career planning.



  • Monitor and review the services offered, including gathering feedback from parents and students.
  • Career conversations are an ongoing part of a student’s experience and personal guidance is an integrated part of the overall careers programme.
  • By following the Making it Meaningful Checklist, you can support young people to maximise the value of personal guidance by supporting students to:
  1. identify and explore suitable options and to consider the career implications of subject and course choice that are in their best interests;
  2. challenge pre-existing assumptions about what students are capable of;
  3. demystify learning and labour market systems and helping students understand progression pathways.

Additional resource and support can be found in the Making it Meaningful Checklist.


All Careers Leaders require Outstanding training


For further support with Benchmark 1 register for our fully funded Careers Leader training 


Download our Training Catalogue which includes all the information you need and a helpful comparison guide on the 11 high-quality Training Providers we work with. Here you will be able to choose the right course to suit you and your development, so that you can embed a successful careers programme in your school/college. 


Once you have chosen the right course and Training Provider for you, you are all set to register!


Register today

Careers in Context: Can Do Approaches 

  • The impact of Covid-19 is a heightened awareness of the need to deliver value and impact to young people through high quality personal guidance. The changing employment landscape, development of new technical education options (T-Levels and Higher Technical Education options ) and the compromised examinations process during the pandemic is causing young people to revisit options and choices and careful consideration needs to be given to the levels of appropriate personal guidance that they are given. Covid-19 has also fast tracked how we use online applications, meaning that some opportunities have been presented for personal guidance. For example, it is now possible to schedule more interviews in a day due to reduced travel time for external providers.
  • The strongest models of personal guidance see it integrated across, and layered through, your progressive careers programme.
  • Your careers programme should ensure an independent, impartial offer which is universal but has layers of personalisation and prioritisation. It is a key element of pastoral support to encourage/ aid engagement, progress and positive destinations for students, particularly the most vulnerable and it is recommended that you further target and support identified young people.


  • Maximise the value and impact of personal guidance interviews, online or face to face.


  • Work with pastoral staff (particularly as part of NEET prevention work) to understand priority cohorts and agree actions to support positive destinations for all students (also see Benchmark 3).


Education Leaders and Governors:

Education Leaders and Governors: For further information on each Benchmark, to support you in your role, please see the Education Leader, Secondary and College Governor Guides.

Gatsby BM5, 8
Key stages

Stay Nimble

Enhance the careers support you give to students with this online platform –designed to offer valuable career and work performance coaching services.

Gatsby BM2, 3, 4, 8
Key stages

The ERIC App

A *completely free* career app for students and schools that gives personalised career advice about the 16 creative industries within seconds.

Age group it's available for: 16+

Cost: FREE to download for all young people, teachers, career advisors & other school contacts.

Gatsby BM2, 5, 6, 7, 8
Key stages

Immerse Education

Immerse Education offers two week programmes in academic subject development with tutors from the University of Oxford and Cambridge. These take place as a residential programme in July and August, with accommodation provided at the universities, and a full programme of support academic and social activities.

There are also options to take part virtually, with an Online Academic Insights programme that runs for two weeks in December, April and throughout July and August. Although this is a fee-paying programme, we have bursaries available, and offer scholarships based on an essay competition open to all students aged 13-18.

Gatsby BM3, 8
Key stages

Globally Responsible Careers in STEM

‘Globally Responsible Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics’ (GRC-STEM) – will help the growing number of job-seekers looking for employment with organisations that prioritise sustainable and ethical concerns.

This online resource asks each individual a series of questions concerning:

  1. Their personal requirements from a career and considering their interests in science and technology;
  2. The type of work they are interested in; and
  3. Their ethical concerns, bearing in mind the global issues that face society.
Gatsby BM1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Key stages


Compass+ is a free digital product from The Careers & Enterprise Company with features that help you to measure impact and inform continuous improvement of your careers provision. 

Gatsby BM1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Key stages


Talentino programmes have been helping to improve career outcomes for young people with a range of learning difficulties in a mixture of settings – special schools, mainstream schools, AP, PRU, SEMH, etc.

They also provide great opportunities for learning more, through their regular newsletters, annual SEND Careers Conference, and by publishing free resources.


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