Inclusive careers guidance

Inclusive teaching for 14-16 16-19 IOP RESOURCES

This guide explores where gender expectations can creep into careers guidance and suggests ways to reduce these inequalities. Download the full PDF below.

  1. Every school and college should have an embedded programme of careers education and guidance that is known and understood by pupils, parents, teachers and employers.
    • Progression data from previous years can help to identify trends in gender gaps in your school.
    • Use multiple opportunities to share the message that gender bias is not acceptable or inevitable, and can be reduced using suitable strategies.
  2. Every pupil, and their parents, should have access to good quality information about future study options and labour market opportunities.
    • Use multiple opportunities to direct families to careers information they can access at home e.g. nationalcareers.service.gov.uk and lmiforall.org.uk.
    • Check CEIAG resources for gender stereotypes in images and examples before sharing. Also check that the language is suitable for non-specialists.
  3. Pupils have different career guidance needs at different stages. Opportunities for advice and support need to be tailored to the needs of each pupil.
    • Use opportunities in form-time, PSHE, lessons and CEIAG meetings to help students understand gender stereotyping and its impact on them. A good place to start is challenging stereotypes .
    • Use Compass+ to break down your cohort. Use the tool to track pupil progress, identify the needs of each young person and target relevant careers interventions.
  4. All teachers should link curriculum learning with careers. STEM subject teachers should highlight the relevance of STEM subjects for a wide range of future career paths.
    • Audit CEIAG references and images used in lessons, curriculum resources and options booklets for gender stereotyping. Try using personal pronouns (e.g. you or yours) and avoid gendered pronouns (s/he or his/hers) or impersonal pronouns (e.g. they, theirs).
    • Show non-typical gender job roles in lessons using video clips from the likes of icould.com.
  5. Every pupil should have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace. This can be through a range of enrichment activities including visiting speakers, mentoring and enterprise schemes.
    • Avoid using gender biased names for jobs e.g. use firefighter not fireman.
    • Audit the gender balance of speakers and visitors; take positive action to redress gender imbalances.
    • Past pupils can be very powerful role models when it comes to challenging stereotypical roles; look for opportunities to invite them in to engage with students, tap into programmes such inspiringthefuture.org, inspiringwomencampaign.org, Future First and/or reach out to your local Enterprise Adviser via careersandenterprise.co.uk.
  6. Every pupil should have first-hand experiences of the workplace through work visits, work shadowing and/or work experience to help their exploration of career opportunities, and expand their networks.
    • Prepare students so they can use the visit to ask about gender bias e.g. raising questions about the gender pay gap and gender split at different levels of seniority, and performing different roles.
    • Raise awareness by sharing information and invitations with whole year groups. One group should not receive preferential treatment compared to other groups, however, positive discrimination, for example personal invitations, can be used to target underrepresented groups.
  7. All pupils should understand the full range of learning opportunities that are available to them. This includes both academic and vocational routes and learning in schools, colleges, universities and in the workplace.
    • Families often have gendered expectations for their child’s choice of courses, even if this is unconscious. This may also vary by socio-economic and cultural background.
    • Audit prospectuses beforehand for gender bias; if you have concerns, consider raising the issue directly with the provider.
    • Share information about courses and invitations to events with whole year groups to avoid gender stereotyping; use personal invitations based on skill sets to target underrepresented groups.
  8. Every pupil should have opportunities for guidance interviews with a career adviser, who could be internal (a member of school staff) or external, provided they are trained to an appropriate level.
    • Use a tick list to identify if gender is mentioned when talking about jobs by you or the student.
    • Ensure questions and statements avoid gender bias and focus on skills and attributes, for example “I recommend this course because of your interests/achievements…”, rather than “I recommend this course because other girls who’ve taken it have enjoyed it…”.
    • Make careers booklets available online and adjust to match the level of learner. This ensures they can be accessed freely, in and out of school. The booklets can also act as lesson resources and a record of activities and discussions.
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