CEIAG for Headteachers, Governors and SLT

What is the difference between a L4 & a L6 careers adviser?

Sunday 22nd September 2019

I've not blogged for a long time, partly because I've been very busy working on materials for training careers leaders in how to prepare for Ofsted's renewed interest in CEIAG and also needed a period of time to recover from spinal surgery (Yes I'm feeling better thanks)

However, today 2 incidents conspired to make me blog about the difference between the perceived role of a careers adviser and the confusion about what 'qualified' actually is.

This is often a huge problem in schools where budgets are stretched beyond breaking point and to the average head/principal the difference can be easily overlooked when faced with the cost of employing what appears to many to be an expensive L6 over cheaper L4.

Why should headteachers pay for L6 qualified careers professionals

The first reason for blogging was the letter which I've included below Let me explain.

A friend of mine was at her wits end as her son who is doing A levels at a local grammar school and had zero careers support other than how to get into university. He was confused about how he would get into his chosen profession and assumed his only route was via uni. As it happened, I knew an excellent level 6+ careers adviser in the area and I arranged a private careers interview and paid for it as his birthday present, the young man's not the careers adviser! The letter was sent to me, totally unprompted, although I think mum might have insisted on the obligatory thank you letter, the words, I'm assured are totally his own


As you can see, the response to his interview was very positive. A well qualified careers professional often has this effect. This is one of the reasons why the Gatsby Benchmarks and the Statutory guidance both recommend a L6 qualified professional (and that they're on the CDI register) and why the Quality in Careers Standard can't be awarded without proof of L6 professionals being in post.

Thanks to this fantastic careers professional my friend's lad now has a renewed enthusiasm for his studies and a much clearer idea why he's studying the A Levels he is.

In many pupils this can have a very beneficial effect on engagement and attendance as well as attainment whilst in school but also on destination data after they leave as they are less likely to drop out of a poorly researched or understood course. Proof of this effect was provided by Tristram Hooley's research for the Sutton Trust Advancing Ambition

So what is the difference between L4 & L6?

I can draw 2 analogies. The first is between a doctor and a nurse practitioner. The second between a qualified teacher. and a higher level teaching assistant. In both instances the former would have more knowledge and tools to be able to deal with a wider range of situations at a more in depth level and the latter would usually defer to the former.

It's the same with careers professionals, a L6 will have far more tools, knowledge and experience to deal with a wider range of situations than a L4. This distinction is very important when you consider the difficulties of young people who may well have myriad obstacles such as :-

  • lack of confidence
  • pushy (or disinterested) parents
  • lack of cultural capital
  • unrealistic expectations
  • limited understanding
  • be easily influenced
  • etc etc etc

The Second prompt was an email from the CDI telling me that they are now offering a full L6 diploma and a conversion course, the full details are quoted below.

Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development
As you are aware in order to achieve Gatsby Benchmark 8, personal guidance must be provided by a person holding a career guidance qualification at a minimum of Level 6. To meet the full requirements of the Statutory Guidance and the Quality in Careers Standard, this person should be a Registered Professional.

The CDI is now offering the full Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development and the seven mandatory units needed by those who already hold the CDI Certificate in Careers Leadership units. They also offer the three specified units for those people who hold the pre-2011 NVQ 4 in Advice and Guidance or LDSS.

Courses start in Birmingham and London in October and November and there will also be new cohorts starting early in 2020. For a minimum cohort size of 8, training can be offered in different parts of the country, i.e. anywhere where you can get a group of at least 8 candidates together.

For further details, dates and booking please see: https://www.thecdi.net/CDI-Academy---QCF-Level-6-Diploma-Diploma Please also circulate the brochure to any colleagues in your schools and colleges who may be interested: 2019 Level 6 Brochure . If you have any questions please contact CDI Professional Development Manager, claire.johnson@thecdi.net

Please excuse me if I sound like the BBC but there are other providers of training for careers advisers. However, I have no hesitation in recommending the CDI training.

Wow, that was a long blog. I hope I've made my case well, I passionately believe that we need to move on the public perception of the careers adviser being somebody who sits you down and tells you what to do. In 21st century Britain, they are much more allied to life coaches and counselors but with specialist knowledge to support people towards positive outcomes economically and socially in the workplace.