The Careers and Enterprise Company Award for Innovation in Careers and Enterprise


This award, supported by The Careers and Enterprise Company, will celebrate an outstanding example of innovative careers leadership and practice.  In a world where enterprise, education and work opportunities are constantly changing, learners of any age need easy access to high quality support and information. Learning how to make informed decisions is increasingly critical to a successful working life.

The award is aimed at Careers Leaders in colleges and will celebrate careers programmes that demonstrate examples of innovative practice when engaging with schools, employers and other agencies, to provide learners with excellent impartial careers education, advice and guidance.  Assessors will be particularly interested to see applications where colleges are able to provide evidence of either meeting or making rapid progress towards achieving the eight Gatsby Benchmarks (GB).

When completing the Stage 1 application (max 1,000 words) please take note that the assessors will be scoring equally for innovation, impact and sustainability. Applicants are advised that when constructing their submission, they consider carefully where best to place evidence to ensure the full range of the Award criteria are covered.

Colleges that exceed the AoC Beacon Standard will be invited to submit a full project brief for the second stage (building on the content in the first stage application), that will provide comprehensive additional evidence such as: the college’s careers plan, evidence of the college’s baseline Compass data and the most recent Compass data to evidence progress, the effectiveness of partnerships, details of positive learner feedback, evidenced successful progression, and meaningful use of market intelligence to inform guidance.

Sponsor’s Criteria

Colleges wishing to apply for this award should be able to provide evidence for most if not all of the following:

  • A stable careers programme which has the backing of the senior leadership team and governors;  highly effective systems to quality assure and improve the delivery of the college’s careers programme;   carefully designed programmes to meet the needs of all learners, paying particular attention to the promotion of equality and diversity and especially to the needs of learners with special educational needs and disabilities; and ensures that staff involved in the delivery of careers have access to relevant training and CPD (GB1);
  • Effective partnerships with schools, employers and other education institutions and training providers, ensuring that all students have sufficient opportunity to explore the wold of work and future pathways whether that be further study, training or employment (GB5,6,7);
  • An innovative approach to careers education that is carefully targeted at specific groups or individuals ensuring that learners make informed choices about their progression to further study and training, including apprenticeships or employment (GB3);
  • Very effective use and evaluation of labour market intelligence to enable up-to-date and sustainable guidance on education, training and employment opportunities (GB2);
  • Excellent coordination and relationship building with the teaching and lecturing staff, responsible for delivering the careers content through their curriculum areas  ensuring that everyone is working towards the same careers vision, delivering high quality teaching and learning with employers linked to curriculum areas involved actively (GB4);
  • Opportunities for all learners to have a one to one guidance interview with a qualified practitioner whenever significant study or career choices are being made. The expectation is that this provision is for all learners but should be timed to meet individual needs (GB8).


To return back to the main Beacon Award page