Measuring student career knowledge and skills

The Future Skills Questionnaire gives students the opportunity to reflect on their career-related knowledge and skills. The tool can inform continuous improvement and impact evaluation. 

The tool can also be used to help identify students who may be at risk of NEET, track students who are responding consistently negatively to the FSQ questions and use responses to tailor support and intervention.  

Asking students at risk of NEET to complete the FSQ also allows the Careers Leader to use the results to target support in areas students identify as particular challenges 

How student voice can inform your progressive careers programme and support your impact evaluation 

We hear from Dr Emily Tanner and Isobel Finlay about the Future Skills Questionnaire (FSQ) can inform and drive positive student outcomes, continuous improvement and impact evaluation 

Can you tell us in a nutshell what the Future Skills Questionnaire can do? 

The results from the FSQ can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of your careers provision. The tool allows you to identify gaps in student’s knowledge of pathways, recruitment and selection processes and with confidence in their essential skills The FSQ also asks students if they have plans for post-16 or post-18, easily allowing you to identify students who are unsure about their next step. This allows you to target support to those at risk of not making a successful transition from Year 11 and 13 and to consider longer term continuous improvement to your provision.  

“An effective careers programme is tailored to the audience. With the FSQ we can amend the careers programme based on the students’ previous experiences and aspirations. I want to use it to identify the gaps and to celebrate the positives.” - Careers Leader 

HOW can the FSQ be embedded to drive positive student outcomes and continuous improvement? 

Five versions of the FSQ are available and have been designed to reflect the expected careers knowledge and essential at key points of transition. This allows students to engage with the age-appropriate questions building on each stage of their careers journey and tracking their progress over time. Having students complete the questionnaires from Year 7 can support you in identifying early on students who may be at risk of not making a positive transition, identifying barriers and areas for support and tracking their progress over time.

There are five versions of the Future Skills Questionnaire, these are tailored to key transition points throughout secondary education and for students with SEND.

We suggest asking students to complete the questionnaire at each of these transition points, allowing you to evaluate and plan your careers programme.  

These key transition points are: 

  • Starting Secondary (Year 7), to find out students’ baseline level of knowledge and views at the start of secondary school. This aggregated information could be used to design responsive career programmes.  
  • Transition to KS4 (Years 8 and 9), to encourage students to think about their strengths and preferences, to make the connection between their GSCE subjects and careers, and to highlight needs for information and guidance.  
  • GCSE Years (Years 10 and 11) as students make post16 transition plans, to identify those with and without a plan or career ideas, to identify whether students know where to find IAG, and their understanding of selection/recruitment processes.  
  • Post-16 Study (Years 12 and 13) to support students to make post-18 transitions
  • SEND 

“This has made me put a lot of thought into my future. I never really thought about it, but now I am considering what jobs I might do, what careers I might have and so on. No one is too young to think about their career.”- Year 7 student 

Next Steps: 

  • Now: If you are a new user of the tool, consider engaging students from Year 11/13 at risk of not making positive transitions to identify barriers and areas for support.  

  • Thinking Ahead: Add completion of the FSQ to your careers calendar. Use the results to identify strengths and areas of improvement for your careers programme and adjust your careers plan to amplify or tackle these.  

  • By embedding the tool from Year 7, you can establish a baseline from when students join you that can show their progress in careers readiness/skills development 

The Future Skills Questionnaire is available through Compass+ >, which allows results to be viewed alongside MIS and career activities data.  

There is a comprehensive Careers Leader Implementation Guide > available to support you in embedding the tool and in engaging students and communicating to parents/carers and more detailed information can be found here >. 

 

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  • Careers Leader
  • Ahead Of The Game 2022
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  • BM3: Addressing the needs of each pupil
  • BM1: A stable Careers Programme
  • Key stage 3
  • Key stage 4
  • Further education and skills
  • Guidance
  • SEND