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Design Principles

The Design Principles are a set of values created to drive the detailed design of a careers service that meets the needs of people of all ages. 

The five principles have been developed following a period of extensive evidence gathering, which was a key stage of the Career Review. 

This evidence gathering includes desk research, group workshops with career practitioners, in-depth interviews with young people and customers of careers services, and engagement sessions with the Career Review Programme Board. 

Through analysing the feedback gathered, the Career Review created these design principles to ensure that any new services or changes to existing services meet customer needs. 

The Career Review and the evidence gathered to date through the review has focused on young people in Scotland up to the age of 24, which is reflected in the development of the design principles. 

However, as the principles develop into recommendations and actions, they will inform how all age services should develop.

Use the '+' symbol to expand the five principles below and understand how the principles will make a difference in developing new services, from a customer's perspective. 


A person centred service that is designed to include all young people, in their individual context, and delivered in a way that takes into account young people’s aspirations, feelings, situations and behaviours.

A service which can be delivered through both face-to-face and digital interactions and always encourages higher ambitions.

This design principle will help career services move: 

  • FROM a targeted approach TO tailored to circumstances 
  • FROM being designed for rational decision making TO designed with an understanding of young people's thinking, behaviours and decision making processes
  • FROM focusing only on skills and occupations TO extending to including values and purpose. 

Principle from a customer perspective: 

  • I feel understood and listened to
  • I feel accepted for who I am
  • I am not restricted by perceptions of what I can do because of who I am
  • I feel supported to have high ambitions
  • My strengths are seen and valued
  • I can access the service in a way that suits me
  • I feel like the service is for me and I want to use it
  • I feel inspired by the service
  • All of this is supported by everyone who influences me

A service that enables young people to become comfortable with the uncertainty surrounding the labour market, which supports them in decision making about  their evolving career ambitions and equips them with the skills and habits they need to succeed in the future.

It supports young people to understand their values and purpose as well as building confidence in achieving their ambitions.

Principle from a customer perspective 

  • I have skills that help me deal with change
  • I have skills to find and understand information about the world of work
  • I can make informed decisions about my career and education regularly, rather than feeling pushed to make big ones too early

A service that helps young people connect to the world of work through awareness, exploration and experiences.

This will broaden ambition from an early age, help them make informed decisions and allow them to move into the world of work more smoothly.

Principle from a customer perspective: 

  • I explore careers and the world of work from an early age
  • I know about a wide range of jobs and understand that the job market will keep changing
  • I have contact with a wide range of employers
  • I experience what work is like while I’m still in education
  • I understand how what I’m learning connects to work I might do after I leave education
  • I know what employers look for in employees
  • I know what fairness in the workplace looks like

Career Services that integrate the world of work with the education system, where career services are experiential and provide an equitable offer for young people from all backgrounds and in all contexts.

This directly supports the other three principles by:

  • making career education mandatory
  • A stronger commitment to there being no stigma
  • Ensuring it is meaningful
  • Building meta-skills in context

Principle from a customer perspective: 

  • I learn about jobs and careers whilst in education by default
  • I don’t need to choose to do this
Eco System

Irrespective of who an individual is, where they are in their career journey or which type of organisation is providing support, career services: Are consistent and of a high quality Are recognisable by young people and easy to access Support equality of opportunity Keep pace with industry, society and the changing nature of work.

Principle from a customer perspective: 

  • The system makes it easier for all this to happen by working together
  • I don’t need to start from scratch when I move from one institution to another
  • It is clear who does what and how I access support that is right for me
  • Services are familiar no matter where I go for support