Scotland has its own education system which differs both in structure and in qualifications from that of the rest of the UK. Over the last decade a new system of National Qualifications has been introduced, designed to enable students to study at their own pace and level and build units of study into recognised qualifications. As a simple yardstick, however, Standard Grade roughly equates to GCSE and Higher or Advanced Higher level to A level. Full information can be found at www.sqa.org.uk, www.scotland.gov.uk or www.ceg.org.uk/nq/
Although responsibility for education has devolved to the Welsh National Assembly, at present Wales has essentially the same structure and qualification system as England. However, careers information for Welsh schools should be provided both in Welsh and in English. Further information available at www.wales.gov.uk
At present the structure and qualification system in Northern Ireland is similar to that in England. For further information see www.deni.gov.uk
In England careers information, advice and guidance for young people is delivered some local authorities, guidance companies and individuals. Schools have a duty to secure their own independent impartial guidance to the picture varies in different parts of the country. www.careersengland.org.uk is the trade association for guidance in England and their website gives more inforamtion
Careers Scotland provides a service to schools, young people and adults. See www.careers-scotland.org.uk
Careers Wales brings together six separate local authority careers services to provide a unified and branded service to all age groups. For further information see www.careerswales.com
The careers service in Northern Ireland which is open to young people and adults is part of the Department for Employment and Learning. Careers information is provided by the Careers Service Support Unit (CSSU) based in Belfast. For further information see www.careersserviceni.com
Careers guidance in higher education is provided by each university independently. For further information and a list of the services see www.prospects.ac.uk
The qualification system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (for Scotland see above) has been subject to a great deal of change over the last few years. In addition to the well known GCSE and A levels, a number of vocationally-orientated qualifications have been introduced, both at school and further education level. Higher education qualifications are awarded by individual universities. Professional and vocational qualifications are awarded by a wide range of awarding bodies. Increasingly occupations are only open to those with statutory recognised qualifications.
Awarding bodies are recognised and regulated by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. More can be found about the leading awarding bodies at www.edexcel.org.uk, www.city-and-guilds.co.uk, www,aqa.org.uk, www.ocr.org.uk and www.lccieb.com. A list of recognised qualifications can be found at www.qca.org.uk and further information at www.awarding.org.uk
Useful government departments include the DfE (Department for Education– www.education.gov.uk), the BERR (Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform – www.berr.gov.uk) and DWP (Department for Work and Pensions – www.dwp.gov.uk)
The legislation relating to careers – from working hours regulation to work permits – is endless and ongoing. A good starting point is www.direct.gov.uk
Careers Scotland and Careers Wales both produce LMI which can be downloaded from their websites. LMI Future Trends for England can be found on the National Guidance Research Forum website at www.guidance-research.org. Information can also be found on the Regional Observatories website – www.regionalobservatories.org.uk - and at www.iagworkforce.co.uk
Careers writing should always clearly indicate the time period covered. Careers librarians update annually and will often throw material out rather than risk out of date material on their shelves.
Careers writers should make it clear that they are writing for both sexes (ie avoid use of ‘his’ or ‘her’) except in the very few instances, for example in some areas of the armed forces, where exceptions legally occur.
Where appropriate, through case studies or photographs, it should be made clear that occupations are open to people from all backgrounds.
Careers writing and style should take account of the age/reading age of their target readership.