The right Start in life


Last week we published a new paper which introduces Start, a new product from U-Explore which is designed to revolutionise the education and employment system through the provision of high quality, independent and impartial online career support. In the report we look at what Start does and explore some of its implications for career guidance in England.

We felt that Start built on the existing evidence base in online career guidance as it provides career and labour market information combined with personalised diagnostic tools which support career decision-making. Of particular interest is the Three Minute Hero campaign using a smart video-capture technology to populate Start with real career stories from real people, tagging them in order to help young people find inspiration from their local area, school alumni or people doing the jobs they aspire to do.

Crucially we liked the way in which it delivers career support for individuals whilst integrating with the wider career support that schools and colleges offer. One powerful feature is the opportunities that it provides for schools to monitor students engagement with career learning. We described Start’s model as being an ‘enriched virtual model’ for the delivery of career guidance.

U-Explore has made a substantial financial investment in the development and rollout of Start, which is independent of any direct government funding. Development capital has been provided by the entrepreneur and philanthropist Matthew Riley and the company has developed an innovative internet based business model. U-Explore reports that it has already signed up over 800 schools and that the company can see a clear pathway to the profitability and sustainability of Start, whilst ensuring that the core software is always free for schools and colleges.

There is much to be excited about with Start. It offers a new approach to an old problem and as it develops, it may pave the way to a much more effective education and employment system in England.

For more information on this view our paper at:

Hooley, T. and Sahar, A. (2016). The Right Start in Life: Exploring an Innovative New Online Career Solution. Derby: International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby.

Migration, education and employment: socio-cultural factors in shaping individual decisions in Orkney and Shetland

Can I direct your attention to a really interesting new paper that Rosie Alexander has just published in the Island Studies Journal.

The paper is titled: Migration, education and employment: socio-cultural factors in shaping individual decisions in Orkney and Shetland

Well worth a read for everyone who is interested in career development in rural and coastal locations.

Quality awards for CEIAG in England: A brief history

I’ve just spotted this excellent new paper from The Quality in Careers Standard.

Andrews, D. and Chubb, P. (2016). Quality Awards for CEIAG in England: A Brief History. Quality in Careers Standard.

It pretty much does what it says on the tin and provides the background on the development of the quality awards.

At iCeGS we’ve often made use of the Quality Awards in our research and I believe that they provide an effective spur for good practice in careers work in school. It is really useful to have this background set down.

Time to join NICEC?


If you follow this blog you probably know that I’m a fellow of the National Institute for Career Education and Counselling (NICEC).

What you may not know that it is possible to join NICEC by contacting Wendy Hirsh on

NICEC is distinctive as a boundary-crossing network devoted to career education and counselling in education, in the workplace, and in the wider community. It seeks to integrate theory and practice in career development, stimulate intellectual diversity and encourage transdisciplinary dialogue. Through these activities, NICEC aims to develop research, inform policy and enhance service delivery.

NICEC was founded in 1975 and has continued to evolve since then. It now operates as a learned society for reflective practitioners in the broad field of career education, career guidance, career counselling and career development.

Membership of NICEC is open to any individual with an interest in career development (price £65 per annum, £50 for full-time students). Members receive:

  • the NICEC journal – 2 issues per annum
  • free access to NICEC events and priority booking. There are 4 early evening seminars and 2 full afternoon network meetings per year. The majority of events are held in London, with one or two each year elsewhere in the UK.
  • free or reduced fee access to research-focused development days run jointly by NICEC and the CDI.
  • online access to the archive of the journal and NICEC publications and materials from NICEC events.

How Careers Work: Observations of an Applied Researcher (8th June)


Wednesday 8 June

5.30 – 6.30pm

We are delighted to welcome Wendy Hirsh our Visiting Professor of Career Development to iCeGS on the 8th June. Wendy will be sharing her reflections on ‘how careers work’. .

Wendy will base the lecture on a range of applied research projects that she has undertaken where individuals have discussed how they make decisions about work, learning and the future.  In the lecture, Wendy will illustrate how her experiences shaped her own ideas about career development. Debate will be warmly welcomed.

We’d like to invite everyone to join us in Derby for this exciting inaugural lecture.

Book your place for How Careers Work