Independent Review of Careers Guidance

The Independent Review of Careers Guidance carried out by Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE on behalf of the Department has been published.

Transforming Careers Support for Young People and Adults in Northern Ireland

The department is pleased to announce the publication of the Independent Review of Careers Guidance. The Review provides an up-to-date assessment on the current delivery of careers guidance, recommendations for improvement and international exemplars.

The Economy Minister said:

Sound careers advice is the foundation to a thriving economy and it is essential Northern Ireland has the skilled workforce that underpins my Department’s 10x Economic vision.

“There is considerable interest in the need to reform the careers guidance system here. As the world of work continues to evolve and the skills needed change with it, it is vital we take steps to ensure people of all ages have access to the support needed to make informed career decisions”.

The report is based on evidence received from over 4,000 individuals following an intensive period of consultation with stakeholders from across Northern Ireland including school principals/teachers, pupils, parents, employers, local Councils and Trade Union representatives.


The review makes 15 recommendations which broadly fall within 3 key themes – services to young people, service to adults, and digitalisation.

Young people

  • Primary school children, parents, and teachers – the need to ensure that careers related learning starts much earlier; is informed by the future needs of the economy and encourages children to broaden their career ideas and to raise aspiration.  
  • Careers guidance in post-primary schools – recognising that schools and Area Learning Communities are well- placed to decide what works best for their pupils, allowing more flexibility and accountability to deliver against an agreed set of common standards, principles and pupil outcomes, informed by international best practice


  • Significant opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of skills development over a lifetime – through better regional and local collaboration, combining place-based and e-enabled approaches, maximising existing resources available through  HE, FE, community/third sector providers, City Deals and local Labour Market Partnerships.


  • World-class digital and blended approaches to careers support services – a much greater focus on providing better resources and cutting age self-help tools online, allowing for better targeting of those, of all ages, who need more intensive face to face support.

Next steps

It is important to state that this is an independent report and, at this stage, no policy or operational decisions have been made with regard to the report’s recommendations, some of which are cross cutting. Policy and operational decisions that directly result from the review must await a new Executive. 

You can view the full report, Executive Summary and International Exemplars at:

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