Million pound fund to find out how best to boost career prospects for disadvantaged teens

A million pound fund will offer the chance to test whether programmes such as work experience, CV clinics or an online app are the best ways to deliver good careers education to young people, it was announced today.

The partnership between the Education Endowment Foundation, the Careers & Enterprise Company and Bank of America Merrill Lynch will trial different approaches to careers education to find out which are the most likely to boost young people’s chances of getting a good job after school.

 Today’s cash injection follows a report from Ofsted which found that the majority of England’s schools are failing to prepare their pupils for the world of work through effective careers education.

It builds on earlier research by the EEF, supported by the Bank of America Foundation, that found teenagers who underestimate the education needed to get their chosen job are more likely to end up as ‘NEETS’, not in education, employment or training. The report also revealed that while young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are disproportionately more likely to have career aspirations that don’t match their educational ambitions, good-quality careers education can make a real difference to academic, social and economic outcomes.

 Many approaches to careers education haven’t been explored through research, despite them being common practice in schools. They include work experience or job shadowing, using digital technology to provide personalised information to pupils and enterprise education to encourage young people to take risks and to manage them well. The partnership between the three organisations aims to address these gaps in the evidence base and to provide schools and colleges with a better idea of ‘what works’ in careers education.

The fund to evaluate careers education is part of a wider £5million Careers & Enterprise Company investment fund to boost social mobility and help young people in greatest need of support.

Sir Peter Lampl, founder and Executive Chairman of the Sutton Trust and Chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:

“High-quality careers advice can make a real difference to young people’s outcomes after school, particularly those from disadvantaged homes.” “This important partnership between the EEF, the Careers & Enterprise Company and Bank of America Merrill Lynch will allow us to find out whether programmes such as work experience, CV clinics or an online app are the best way to help boost poorer young people’s employment prospects.”

Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:

“Schools and colleges are under more and more pressure to provide their pupils with a strong careers offering. But there is little evidence available on how to do this well. “Teachers deserve a much clearer picture of what good careers education looks like. Investing in rigorous and independent evaluations of different approaches is the most effective way to do this.”

Claudia Harris, CEO of the Careers & Enterprise Company, said:

“We know that encounters with the world of work and careers support at school improve earnings and employment prospects for young people. This research will help us understand which type of encounters and support, in particular, have the greatest impact. Based on that insight we can use our investment fund to rapidly scale what works across England. “We are delighted to be working with the Education Endowment Foundation and Bank of America Merrill Lynch on a project which will provide concrete and needed help to young people across the country.”

Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, president, EMEA at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said:

“At Bank of America Merrill Lynch, we recognise the importance of rigorous evaluation in developing the most effective approach to careers education, so we are very proud to work with the EEF and the Careers & Enterprise Company. “Through our partnership, we will trial, support and develop ‘best in class’ solutions that will help equip young people with the skills and knowledge they need to successfully transition from education into meaningful employment.”

1. The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is a grant-making charity set up in 2011 by the Sutton Trust as lead foundation in partnership with Impetus Trust (now part of Impetus–The Private Equity Foundation), with a £125m founding grant from the Department for Education. The EEF is dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement. Since its launch the EEF has awarded £80 million to 133 projects working with over 850,000 pupils in over 8,300 schools across England. The EEF and Sutton Trust are, together, the government-designated What Works Centre for Education.

2. The Careers & Enterprise Company is an employer-led organisation, set up to inspire and prepare young people for the fast-changing world of work. The Company’s role is to join the dots in the fragmented landscape of careers and enterprise, supporting programmes that work, filling gaps in provision and ensuring coverage across the country. The Company is led by chief executive Claudia Harris. Its chair is Christine Hodgson, chair of Capgemini and its board includes: Lord David Young, former Enterprise Adviser to the Prime Minister, Steve Holliday, former Chief Executive of National Grid plc, Brian Lightman, former General Secretary of ASCL and Dame Julia Cleverdon, Vice President of Business in the Community and Special Adviser to The Prince’s Charities.

3.Developing solutions for social and economic challenges is at the core of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Environment, Social and Governance platform. In more than 90 countries around the world, they partner with employees, clients and stakeholders to help make financial lives better. The company focuses on responsible business practices, environmental sustainability, advancing opportunity in local communities through education and employability programmes, and investing in global leadership development. They realise the power of their people and value their differences, recognising that their diversity makes them a stronger firm and allows the company to better service its stakeholders. By harnessing intellectual resources, sharing knowledge and connecting capital with need, the company provides opportunities that effect positive change. Learn more at or follow them on Twitter @BofAML.

4.Applicants have to register their interest in applying in order to download the application forms from the Careers & Enterprise Company website. Applicants should submit their application by3pm on 20 January 2017.

5.The EEF’s review of international evidence can be found here.

6.‘Getting ready for work’, Ofsted’s report into work-related learning and enterprise education, found that only four of the 40 secondary schools visited by inspectors were demonstrating an effective approach to this aspect of the curriculum.