What is the difference between Investor in Careers and the Quality in Careers Standard?

Investor in Careers (IiC) became a Licensed Awarding Body for the National Quality in Careers Standard in April 2017 . The Quality in Careers Standard is the sole National CEIAG Standard delivered by 11 Licensed Awarding Bodies across England & Wales. All 11 bodies assess to the National Standard but each body will have different ways of supporting educational institutions to meet the Quality in Careers Standard. We support this through the Investor in Careers approach. For more information on how IiC works, see How We Work page on our website.

What has CSW Group Ltd got to do with Investor in Careers?

CSW Group Ltd (formerly Careers South West Ltd and Cornwall and Devon Careers) originally developed the Investor in Careers Award in 1996. They own the brand and copyright to Investor in Careers and all of its associated materials. From 31st March 2017, Investor in Careers is a Licensed Awarding Body for the Quality in Careers Standard. Educational institutions will now be awarded the Quality in Careers Standard through Investor in Careers. The Standard is offered under sub-licence and by CSW Group Ltd nationally.

Why undertake the Quality in Careers Standard?

The Quality in Careers Standard has been structured, and will be updated as required,  to ensure educational institutions meet the requirements of legislation, careers strategy and Government guidelines relating to CEIAG as well as the Gatsby Benchmarks. It provides a framework for both the delivery and for the evaluation of CEIAG and the process can help to provide independent, objective evidence for inspections (e.g. Ofsted). Many educational institutions gain great value in their communities by the public recognition they receive for their provision of CEIAG via the Standard. In most cases the acquisition of the Standard will exceed the expectations of inspectors and the public who sit on awarding panels. A key aspect of the Standard is the integration of CEIAG within the curriculum and the whole school approach to quality CEIAG.

Do all organisations follow the same criteria?

All educational institutions will be assessed to ensure they meet the Quality in Careers Standard. Investor in Careers has developed appropriate guidance and criteria for secondary schools (including secondary special schools), sixth form and colleges of further education, primary schools and work-based learning providers. Each set of criteria has been assembled with the help of consultants and assessors and staff from these different types of organisation to ensure that they are achievable, accurate and measurable. All criteria ensure organisations are meeting the DfE statutory guidance and the Quality in Careers Standard.

What is the benefit to students and learners?

A quality CEIAG programme ensures that students and learners have both self and opportunity awareness. There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that broadening horizons and demonstrating what is open to young people will act as a significant motivator. Higher levels of motivation will increase aspiration and help to pave the way for higher achievement. With well-planned CEIAG students are much more likely to make the right choices; this in turn will have a positive effect on discontinuation rates/drop out. It is a requirement of achieving the Standard through Investor in Careers that young people are involved in both the design and the evaluation of CEIAG programmes. This will ensure that the programmes are perceived as more relevant and that they are turned into young people’s thinking. Good CEIAG will also assist in creating relevance in the curriculum to life beyond school and on into the world of work and further study or training. It also promotes equality of opportunity, access to mainstream provision and through these social inclusion.

What is financial commitment required from the organisation seeking Quality in Careers Standard?

First there is the contribution in staff and learner time, which should not be underestimated. The financial cost is paid up front and varies depending upon the organisation (primary, secondary etc…).   Please get in touch with the IiC Team or your local Sub-Licence Holder for more information.

How much work is involved in achieving the Quality in Careers Standard?

The amount of work involved varies from organisation to organisation and will depend, to a large extent, on what is already in place. The best way to judge the level of resource required, in terms of time, is from the completion of the audit/gap analysis required for Commitment against the indicators so that a judgement can be made. Clearly the assembly of the portfolio of evidence, the arrangements for the visiting assessor and preparations for the panel will be a draw on time. However we offer an online portfolio which makes the gathering of evidence easier and less time consuming.  This draw however will be relatively small compared with the need to put major programmes of provision into place for CEIAG if they are absent.

What support is available while working towards the Standard?

We are always available to provide support via phone and email. If you are working directly with IiC , we will provide you with initial “getting started” support by phone or web meeting. Additional consultancy support is available but may incur an additional cost – check with your sub-licence holder or IiC directly. This may vary if you are working to achieve the Standard through a Sub-Licence Holder.

What does an assessor want to see?

Assessors will contact learning providers seeking to achieve the Standard before each visit, outlining exactly what they expect from the assessment visit. They will check the portfolio of evidence and will speak face-to-face with senior managers, tutors and governors. They will also speak with other staff, including the Careers Adviser. Importantly, they will wish to speak with groups of students/learners or observe them in a careers lesson. They will want to look at the organisations action plan. Once evidence has been examined and interviews/conversations held they will confirm if the evidence they have seen and heard meets the criteria for the Standard.

What happens after an assessment?

The assessor will give verbal feedback to the organisation. They will produce a full, written report, which is first sent to CSW (and the Sub-Licence Holder where applicable) for validation. Once agreed the report will be sent with a letter and certificate to the head of the organisation, to the person responsible for CEIAG  or equivalent and to the licensee. Reports are normally completed within ten working days of the last assessment activity. Learning providers will either be accredited as Fully Meets the Standard or making good progress towards the Standard.

What if an assessor is not satisfied after an assessment visit?

Three scenarios could present themselves at the end of the visits and after examining the evidence. The first is that the assessor is satisfied that the criteria have been met The next stages are described above. The second is where the assessor feels the organisation is almost there, but they may need to supply further evidence to support areas where doubt may exist. This further evidence will normally be sent by post or email and will not usually require a further visit. The third scenario is where the assessor feels there are significant gaps in which case it will be necessary to repeat the assessment visit to a timescale agreed between the assessor and the organisation However, IiC aim to work and support all organisations to a successful Standard, to this end we may recommend postponing an assessment to allow more time for evidence to be produced.

What do you receive once you achieve the Standard?

Public recognition for excellence in the delivery of CEIAG is marked through the receipt of a certificate at each stage. In addition upon achievement of the full standard organisations will receive a plaque (in some instances this will require an additional fee). Organisations that hold the full Standard also use the Quality in Careers Standard and Investor in Careers logos on their websites, email signatures and letterheads. IiC use social media to promote and celebrate success, so don’t forget to follow us on twitter: @IiC_CSW

How long does the Quality in Careers Standard last?

The Standard normally lasts for three years, but recommendations can be made by the licensee to withdraw the Standard if it is brought to their notice that standards have dropped below the acceptance level during the three years. Such deterioration in standards would also be picked up by assessors during their visits to organisations seeking renewal.

What happens after 3 years?

We stay in touch with our clients during the 3 year period and remind the educational institution of the expiry date.  The educational institution  will then decide whether they wish to be re assessed. The reassessment takes place within the window of 3 months prior or after the previous award date. Where there is a significant time lapse post expiry, or where major changes have taken place within the educational institution  or to the delivery of its CEIAG programme, the educational institution  may be required to undertake reassessment against the full Standard. Advice on this matter should be sought from IiC or the local licensee. When successfully reassessed organisations are usually awarded the Quality in Careers Standard for a further three years. Where the assessor finds that the Standard has not been maintained, an action plan to address areas for improvement will be required before the Standard can be re awarded.

Who are the assessors?

Assessors will have extensive experience in CEIAG and assessment activity. All assessors will meet the Investor in Careers Assessor Standards which include DBS checks and maintain compliance training  including Safeguarding and Prevent as well as membership of the CDI. They will attend moderation meetings, share good practice and contribute to ensuring materials and criteria are fit for purpose. Their activity and reports are quality assured by Investor in Careers as the Licensed Awarding Body for the Quality in Careers Standard.

Should the head teacher/principal be interviewed as part of the assessment process?

Ideally, yes! Given that a whole organisation approach is generally considered to be the one that works best, every effort should be made to speak with the head of the organisation. If however the assessor feels they can make a sufficiently robust judgement about the organisation, then an interview with a deputy or equivalent may suffice. If access to staff at that level proves difficult, this may give rise to concerns about the true extent of commitment to the Standard and its values. If an assessor feels that an organisation is unlikely to meet the standard for the foreseeable future, this should be communicated directly to the head/principal.

Can organisations only work towards the Standard if they are in areas when an Investor in Careers licence is held?

No, Investor in Careers operates on a national basis. There are examples of organisations that have been successful in achieving the Award without a local licensee. These organisations have worked directly with CSW Group Ltd. We have schools in Northern Ireland, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man who are working towards or have achieved the award. We use technology to facilitate this.

What is an Investor in Careers sub licensee?

A partner organisation that delivers the Standard under licence from CSW Group Ltd Investor in Careers. The sub licensee will normally operate within an agreed Local Authority or geographic area. The licence enables the sub licensee to implement the Standard on behalf of Investor in Careers in their local area. Sub licensee representatives from England and Wales meet annually to develop the Investor in Careers approach and to exchange good practice; this includes supporting organisations working towards the standard. The final plaque/certificate is presented by the local sub licensee, or someone they have appointed.