December 2023 — Use EdTech Impact to find the best careers resources for your school. Compare customer reviews, features and pricing.
Keep on top of the ever-changing careers guidance landscape, and discover effective research techniques to find the right solutions, with our comprehensive guide.
We've been evaluating the EdTech marketplace since 2019, empowering educators to make informed decisions, and to help providers increase the quality of their products.
#3 in Careers
14-16, 17-18, 19+
#4 in Careers
14-16, 17-18, 19+
#5 in Careers
11-13, 14-16, 17-18, 19+
#6 in Careers
#7 in Careers
#8 in Careers
11-13, 14-16, 17-18
#9 in Careers
11-13, 14-16, 17-18, 19+
11-13, 14-16, 17-18
11-13, 14-16, 17-18
14-16, 17-18, 19
8-10, 11-13, 14-16
17-18, 19-25, 19+
8-10, 11-13, 14-16, 17-18, 19+
In recent years, sweeping reforms in the field of careers education and guidance have ushered in higher expectations and greater demands on schools and colleges regarding their careers provision.
As a response to these increased pressures and standards, many institutions have turned to digital career planning resources for a potential solution.
In this guide, we will cover:
Career planning resources are digital tools, programs, and materials that educational institutions employ to assist students in exploring, strategising, and preparing for future careers. These resources seamlessly integrate into a school’s career information, education, advice and guidance (CIEAG) provision, aligning with the statutory guidance of the Gatsby Benchmark to ensure students are given high-quality career support.
Careers education resources typically encompass one or more of the following types:
Career planning resources are incredibly diverse, serving various age groups, catering to a wide range of objectives, and having the ability to centre around specific career pathways. . Consequently, they exhibit a significant degree of variability from one product to another.
However, there are several essential features and tools are commonly found in effective careers education resources, including:
Alumni Networks: These platforms connects learners with former students who can offer valuable advice and mentorship on different career paths.
Virtual Workshops and Fairs: Virtual workshops or seminars that introduce students to various career options, industries, and job roles. These events often feature specific representatives who provide insights into specific careers, educational institutions, and training programs.
Course search and shortlisting: Specialised search platforms help students discover and learn more about courses relevant to their career ambitions.
Job Search Resources: These include job search websites and online job boards that assist students in finding part-time jobs and understanding the overall job market landscape.
Labour Market Information: Online databases, articles, and resources provide up-to-date information about career trends, job market data, and educational requirements for specific industries.
Specialist Material: Tailored content provides in-depth information about specific careers,
Skills Builder Exercises: Activities and assignments help students develop skills and competencies essential for their career development. This may include CV and cover letter writing, or digital sessions for building interview skills and confidence.
Assessment Insights: Online assessments enable students to discover their interests, strengths, ambitions, and values. They also provide information on potential career paths aligned with their personality traits.
Financial Aid and Scholarship Information: These resources offer guidance on applying for financial aid, scholarships, and grants to help students fund their education.
Online Career Portals: Schools can provide access to online platforms offering information on colleges, universities, vocational programs, scholarships, and various career pathways.
Career Planning Technology: Specialised software or platforms assist students in setting goals, tracking progress, and planning their educational and career paths.
Parent Dashboards: These platforms provide parents with insights into their child’s progress, ensuring a collaborative approach to career planning.
Data collection and reporting: Data reports offer an overview of how students engage with career resources. This data allows schools to evaluate the effectiveness of their career provision and implement personalised interventions.
Reporting isn’t restricted to single schools; it can also be extended to your Multi-Academy Trust. This can help you understand the individual careers guidance needs of each specific school, as well as overall trends, strengths and areas for improvement.
Career planning resources offer numerous benefits that enhance career guidance and support within educational institutions, and ensure compliance with essential standards and regulations in the field of education. Here are the typical benefits of using these resources:
Quality careers education resources provide immediate access to a wealth of career development activities, skill-building opportunities, and up-to-date labour market information related to further education, apprenticeships, and career pathways.
Careers education software simplifies the recording and tracking of both student and institutional progress. This allows schools to understand how students are engaging with their learning, and assess the overall effectiveness of their careers education programme.
Certain career guidance resources support integration with your Management Information System (MIS), centralising data management.
Certain careers education software offer parental access, enabling parents to gain insights into their child’s use of available resources, and better identify how they can provide support and guidance.
The UK government’s Careers Strategy delivers a guidance framework centred around the eight Gatsby Benchmarks, a globally recognised system for developing a coherent and well-established careers education system.
Many career planning resources incorporate Gatsby Benchmark reporting, assisting schools in aligning with best practice standards and demonstrating compliance with CIEAG provision.
The Baker Clause, introduced by the UK government in 2018, constitutes a statutory requirement among schools and colleges to ensure training providers are able to provide students with information about technical education and apprenticeships. In 2022, the Skills and Post-16 Act developed on these demands, stipulating that a minimum number of six provider encounters must be introduced, and every school had to introduce parameters around the duration and content of these encounters to ensure the highest quality.
Career planning resources with tools for increasing awareness of, and access to, apprenticeships can help schools meet these requirements.
In the UK, Ofsted’s Education Inspection Framework legally requires inspectors to assess the quality of a school’s careers provision for 16-18 year olds, as well as students aged up to 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan. They assess the quality of a school’s CIEAG provision, and how well it benefits pupils in choosing and deciding on their next steps. Additionally, the assessment will also always report where a school falls short of the requirements outlined in the provider access legislation.
Look for careers resources that collate, analyse, and document information to help you evidence the work your school is doing to meet Ofsted standards.
Before searching for career planning resources, it is important to develop a procurement strategy tailored to your students’ needs and informed by your school’s existing careers education programme. This will enable you to outline specific objectives that act as a vital foundation for effective market research.
Begin with examining your students’ unique needs in terms of career guidance and support. This will ensure that your eventual solution aligns precisely with the requirements of the students it is designed to serve.
Understanding the level of informational support your students require is a useful starting point. This is because some career planning resources can provide a broad perspective on working life, enabling students to gain insights into diverse options and industry sectors, whilst others are more specialised, providing specific student career guidance.
Beyond informational tools, consider the practical areas of careers education that your students need extra support with. For example, certain careers education resources are focused on job application upskilling, and do so by honing essential areas like CV writing and interview techniques.
Rash purchasing decisions, based on poorly planned procurement strategies, have often been an achilles heel for many EdTech projects, culminating in wasted money and decreased staff confidence towards digital solutions.
To ensure you are positioned to make an informed purchasing decision, anchor your strategy in your school’s distinct CIEAG policy. What are its main objectives? Can you identify any gaps and/or areas for improvement?
By nurturing a suitable critical perspective for your procurement strategy, you can ensure your research is concentrated on how an EdTech solution will align with and enhance the goals of your school’s careers education programme. This proactive approach will prevent distraction by the tool that looks the most fun or impressive.
Beginning your market research can feel like a daunting task when you’re faced with a multitude of options. To simplify this process, it’s essential to gain a contextual understanding of the landscape. This involves comprehending exactly what the solutions in this market aim to achieve, and how effectively they’re perceived to actually deliver these goals.
To aid you in this endeavour, we conducted an analysis of our career resources. This revealed the most common solution outcomes that providers aim for, and the observed impact of these objectives. Here are the results:
This contextual research provides an early scope into the solutions’ general strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to formulate questions that future research intends to uncover.
Take the observed performance of parental engagement, for instance. With the first two steps of the Gatsby Benchmark necessitating the involvement of parents in careers support, the middling performance and low commonality of Improve Parent Engagement denotes a limitation among careers education resources to support adherence to its first two stages.
Similarly, the lower impact of teaching outcomes raises important research questions for potential buyers. To effectively integrate careers support into their curriculum – as necessitated by the fourth Gatsby benchmark – subject specialists need sufficient access to valuable information, guidance, and lesson plans that can be effectively embedded into their teaching.
Conversely, the observed impact of career planning resources on student outcomes presents a promising avenue for market research. It indicates the potential to find a solution that enhances students’ knowledge of career opportunities and educational pathways, and motivates them to achieve the grades necessary for their desired courses and career paths.
While every EdTech provider will claim their solution can improve your school’s educational outcomes, disparities in quality are a reality. Therefore, whilst the observed performance of career planning resources provides a general scope on the sector’s strengths and weaknesses, real critical evaluation involves knowing why, specifically, the individual solution supports (or doesn’t support) an outcome, and comparing the context in which it was used to your own.
This is exactly where user reviews can help. By providing specific insights into the market’s solutions, reviews facilitate a nuanced understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the realm of careers education software. This can significantly shape and inform your decision-making process, ensuring that you make well-informed choices aligned with the unique needs and objectives of your procurement strategy.
Moreover, at EdTech Impact, we actively encourage reviewers to provide detailed contextual information, such as the duration and frequency of use of a particular solution. This context is essential because many variables can influence a user’s experience with a solution, so finding reviews that closely resemble your situation is key.
Whilst user experience data insights into the performance of solutions offer formative context for researching any EdTech market, a procurement strategy that uses them to form blanket judgements on individual products will inevitably fall short.
This is especially relevant when it comes to career planning resources. Given the recent implementation of government statutory requirements and guidance benchmarks, the adoption of careers education software is occurring concurrently with schools’ efforts to enhance the integration of advice and support into their curricula. Consequently, as schools and colleges work toward the formal integration of career tools based on these elevated standards, poor impact ratings may actually be constitutive of transitional changes occurring within the institutions themselves.
A more effective approach, therefore, is to pair contextual performance data with user reviews in a manner that informs and shapes your research. For instance, if solutions aimed at achieving teacher outcomes receive low ratings, focus on understanding the specific reasons that are relevant to your strategic objectives. Are the automated features actually ineffective at reducing teacher workload, or are they simply poorly realised due to bad planning or an ongoing transitional integration of careers support and advice into the school’s curriculum?
Conversely, if performance ratings dictate that career planning resources successfully build student knowledge, what specifically is each solution doing to achieve that outcome?
Ultimately, pairing performance data with specific user reviews allows for a more comprehensive evaluation that considers the broader context and nuances surrounding each prospective solution.
While many online career resources offer free services, others provide a range of packages to accommodate different budgets. Fee-charging platforms typically aim to deliver more comprehensive and individually-tailored support.
If your CIEAG policy necessitates a comprehensive fee-based solution, it’s essential to understand the expected costs when searching for the right careers education software for your students. On EdTech Impact, the average annual subscription cost is £440, with a median price of £400.
If you are paying for a resource, be certain that its features outperform that of a free product. With EdTech Impact’s simple comparison tool, important subtle distinctions between products’ features, benefits, and pricing can be unearthed. Here’s an example of Unifrog vs Indigo vs Xello vs Morrisby.
As schools rapidly transform their career strategies to meet shifting demands and pressures, there emerges a critical need for digital solutions to similarly evolve to ensure they’re well-equipped for the challenge.
To better understand how exactly schools and EdTech solutions are staying ahead of this curve, we asked careers specialists and our highest rated what they think the future holds. Here’s what they had to say:
A university destinations platform that allows students to explore pathways, evidence key activities and competencies, and draft and collate feedback on job application processes.
CRM software that allows UK schools, colleges, and learning providers to manage their students’ careers-related education, work experience, and business engagement activities.
Featuring a bank of lesson plans, data tracking, and a personal statement builder, Indigo pairs its student support with demonstrable metrics on adherence to the Gatsby Benchmark.
Connects students with universities via virtual fairs, and offers detailed institution and course information. Filtering allows students to select specific courses that match their interests.
Activities to help students explore their abilities, personality, and ambition, and detailed career information that aids them in discovering the world of work and pathways forward.
A go-to resource for aspiring medics, The Medic Portal pairs application guidance with insightful content and full in-house support to partner schools.
Connects young people with employers, apprenticeships and universities, and provides students with a digital record of achievement that lasts a lifetime.
A future-readiness program connecting students to university profiles and delivering integrated lessons and assessments for a personalised and engaging careers learning experience.
Used throughout one’s academic journey, Start helps students evidence achievements and career development, and provides ongoing information, advice, and tools to build their knowledge.
Provides critical and timely real-world information about salary and employability prospects to aid the decision-making process for young people and their parents.
Unsure about the above? Don’t worry – we have 26 more careers resources for you to take a look at.
Career planning resources constitute an exceptionally diverse array of solutions for prospective buyers to choose from. Pair this with the evolving and rigorous demands that schools face regarding their CIEAG provision, and identifying the ideal solution can appear especially complex.
This buyer’s guide, by serving as your compass for effectively navigating the careers marketplace, will equip you with a set of pertinent questions to reveal the perfect tool for your specific requirements.
To maintain an organised approach when comparing solutions, remember to document notes and implement a scoring system in a spreadsheet. Best of luck!
Having familiarised yourself with career planning solutions, why not take a look at the many careers resources found on EdTech Impact?
Updated on: 9 October 2023