A prominent theme of NICEC Fellows' work is conducting research into career education and guidance matters in public sector and commercial settings and learning from each others' work.

Creating an evidence base for career education and guidance policy and practice is a key driver of our learning network.

Research Projects 

The research and development projects listed here are primarily from the last five years. Older NICEC reports can be found in the publications archive.

2020 Bill Law Memorial Award Winner- Jacky Rattue

This is just the second time the award has been made. The judging panel members were very impressed by the range and quality of entries.  Jacky Rattue’s winning entry on her Masters research into student perceptions of artificial intelligence was described as,

… the literature review was extensive and broad, and the author had picked a topic that is hugely significant and one that career practitioners need to be more aware of.

…the author provided some good practical implications for practitioners.

…the topic is spot on in terms of relevance to career professionals right now and the work was extraordinarily well researched from a literature point of view.

The winning entry can be accessed here (appendices here). 

The judging panel congratulates all the entrants for their superb work and in particular, Emily Roisin Reid’s entry reflecting upon Bill Law’s community interaction theory was highly commended.


The award is a legacy and tribute to the work of Dr Bill Law, Founding Fellow of NICEC, who died in April 2017.  Bill’s work was recognised internationally and was significant in its impact on the way the career development is conceptualized and practised. The award celebrates emerging innovation within the career development sector and importantly, the relationship between theory and practice. 

The award is made to a current or recent student who presented significant research and/or innovative practice to a panel of judges appointed from the NICEC Fellowship.   The prize is a £50 book token, free attendance at NICEC seminars and network meetings for a year, public recognition via the NICEC website, and support to publish as appropriate.

Review of the Higher Education Achievement Report

NICEC Fellow: Jane Artess

The Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) was introduced for students entering higher education in 2012-13. It originated in the recommendations of the Burgess Group, Beyond the Honours Degree – the final report of the Burgess Group (2007) and was designed to encourage a more sophisticated approach to recording student achievement, which acknowledges fully the range of opportunities that higher education providers in the UK offer to their students.

The Higher Education Academy (HEA) commissioned HECSU to evaluate the impact of the HEAR in relation to how it has influenced or been taken up and used by key stakeholder groups (including HE providers, employers, and students)  and how it has led to improvements in the student learning experience and employability. The findings of the project will inform practical improvements in HEAR-related practice in the sector, support the creation of new knowledge about the HEAR and create an evidence base of the HEAR’s contribution to the enhancement of learning and teaching in HE
Contact: j.artess@prospects.ac.uk or Rob Walton Rob.Walton@heacademy.ac.uk

Understanding employers’ graduate recruitment practices

NICEC Fellows: Jane Artess and Wendy Hirsh

The Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU) are conducting a major study for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on changing employer practice in graduate recruitment and selection. ‘Graduate’ covers both first and higher degrees and recruitment to specific jobs as well as entry schemes.
The project includes examination of available hard data and published literature on graduate recruitment patterns, employment destinations, recruitment processes and interactions between graduate employers and HEIs. These issues are also being discussed with a range of stakeholders including careers services. At the heart of the study there are interviews with around 80 employers (varied by size and sector) examining changes in demand, recruitment and selection practices (including interactions with HEIs) and diversity issues, especially the impact of changing practices on social mobile
Contact: Emma Pollard at IES, emma.pollard@ies.ac.uk

Understanding the recruitment and selection of postgraduate research students

NICEC Fellow: Tristram Hooley

ICeGS are working with CRAC and Vitae, to undertake research for HEFCE to build a picture, from an HE institutional perspective, of the market for prospective postgraduate research (PGR) students in England, how they are recruited and selected, and their role in the HE research base.The aims of the research are to identify the processes used by English HEIs to recruit UK and international PGR students to their doctoral programmes, understand how HEIs attempt to identify the 'best' students aspiring to undertake postgraduate research and select them and understand how HEIs align the activity of their PGR students with their strategic research missions. Draw findings together for HEFCE to consider the implications for the sustainability of postgraduate research provision.
Contact: Robin Mellors-Bourne at CRAC

Graduate Dress Code

NICEC Fellows: Tristram Hooley and Julia Yates

The capacity to present oneself effectively in the context of career includes three main elements that it might be possible to call interpersonal skill, aesthetic skill and beauty. Taken together we have adopted the term “career appeal”  to recognise the relationships that exist between these various concepts and to allow for collective discussion of them. The Graduate Dress Code project is exploring current undergraduates’ understanding of these issues and their attitudes to them. In particular it will examine how students learn how to manage the transition from one identity (that of student) with all of the attendant signifiers of dress and behaviour, to another (that of worker).
Contact: Beth Cutts at b.cutts@derby.ac.uk

Medical Career Advice and Guidance Survey 2014

NICEC Fellow: Charles Jackson

In 2001, the National Institute for Careers Education and Counselling (NICEC) conducted a survey for the Department of Health that identified the need for improved career support for medical students and doctors in training. Over half (55%) the survey respondents in 2001 reported that they were dissatisfied with the career advice and guidance they had received and it was apparent that provision at this time was both fragmented and poorly resourced. Since then a range of initiatives have been put in place to improve the career support offered to medical students and doctors in training. How well are these initiatives working and has the situation got better since 2001? NICEC has now launched a new survey to find out what impact the changes have had. Medical students, Foundation stage doctors and those in the early stages of Specialist Training are being invited to complete the survey which is being run in conjunction with Local Education and Training Boards and Deaneries.
A summary of the 2001 survey findings can be accessed using this link:
Contact:  charles.jackson@nicec.org

The Network for Innovation in Career Guidance and Counselling in Europe (NICE)

NICEC Fellow: Hazel Reid

NICE currently includes 45 Higher Education Institutions from 29 countries across Europe.

NICE is dedicated to professionalism and academic excellence in Careers work across all sectors and at all levels. It has been working towards the goal of sustaining and strengthening cooperative efforts in Careers research and education since the initial funding from the EU Commission in 2009.  NICE is focusing on setting up sustainable structures for future cooperation of higher education and research institutions dealing with career guidance and counselling. Some of the main goals are to increase the exchange of researchers and students throughout Europe, build up an online database for the sharing of teaching resources and research outcomes, develop common standards for academic training in career guidance and counselling, test support-structures for the development of new and existing degree programmes in career guidance and counselling, and work out an organizational concept for maintaining European-level cooperation in our academic field.
On September 3rd & 4th 2014 the European academic network NICE is holding a large event at Canterbury Christ Church University in England.  Key figures from all partner countries will discuss central issues around the education and training of people in the practice of career guidance and counselling.
Contact: Erasmus_NICE@beratungswissenschaft.de

What kind of shoes does a social worker wear and why does it matter?

NICEC Fellow: Julia Yates

Occupational stereotypes have been shown to be linked to career decision making, but we have little real understanding of the nature of these stereotypes. One person’s image of a typical member of any occupational group will probably be different from another’s, but there may be some overlaps. The image an individual conjures up is likely to include a range of different features such as their personality, what they look like, what clothes they might be wearing and even things such as what they might like to watch on television or where they would like to go on holiday. This project will explore what kinds of features are included in undergraduates’ prototypes of four occupations (social worker, primary teacher, occupational psychologist and counsellor). The project will then move to an examination of the role that these features play in career decision making.
Contact: Julia Yates at j.c.yates@uel.ac.uk

Career guidance and career education from a social justice perspective

NICEC Fellow: Ronald G. Sultana

Currently researching career guidance and career education from a social justice perspective, mobilising philosophical and sociological approaches, as well as engaging with analyses of trends in the world of work under neo-liberal regimes and the implications of these trends for career education and guidance.
Also exploring what career guidance and livelihood planning might mean in different economic and cultural contexts, with a special emphasis on the Middle East and North Africa region.

Further information is available from Ronald at: ronald.sultana@um.mt

Preparing a Guide on Career Guidance for Rural Areas and Piloting it in Vietnam

NICEC International Fellow Gideon Arulmani

This consultancy was commissioned by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Geneva, to support the development of a career guidance programme suitable for rural areas in Vietnam, through ILO-Hanoi. Initially, the project was planned as a pilot to be executed in two phases: programme development and capacity building of Career Guidance Facilitators. However the project rapidly gained the attention of stakeholders in government and moved on to a third phase to include the training of a second batch of Career Guidance Facilitators as well as a team of Career Guidance Trainers. Hence, multiple strands developed as the project progressed and these emerging requirements were addressed through the following missions.

The full report is available here

Student Streaming, Technical and Vocational Educational and Training (TVET) and Career Guidance: An Overview of Models and Concepts

International Labour Organisation, September, 2014
NICEC International Fellow Gideon Arulmani.

This report was developed for the International Labour Organisation under the One UN Funded project on “Enhancing the employability of workers and the competitiveness of businesses for the socio-economic development of Vietnam”. The report was commissioned as a background paper to inform the Vietnam National Assembly’s deliberations on student streaming and career guidance for their revision of the VET Law. The report was presented at a national workshop to the National Assembly of Vietnam. The final version of the report was translated into Vietnamese.v

The full report is available here

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