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25 January 2024

Listening to the Pupil Voice

How do young people view the careers services they received in school?

Scotland's career services CIAG

How do young people view the careers services they received in school?

New research highlights that SDS career services, especially one-to-one sessions with Careers Advisers, are highly valued and beneficial to young people. 
Understanding young people’s experience of our career services can help us shape and improve our service offer.

It identifies our strengths, successes and where we create value and benefit. It also helps us understand the needs of our key customer groups and where we could make improvements and prioritise resource.  

Skills Development Scotland Louise Fulton Ayman Zakir SDS Rosshall Academy003


The Pupil Voice 2023 research, led by the SDS Evaluation and Research team in collaboration with CIAG (Career Information, Advice and Guidance) National Operations, gathers input from senior phase pupils in Scotland. Young people share their experiences of SDS products and services, including one-to-one sessions, group sessions, drop-ins, Foundation Apprenticeships and My World of Work. They also provide feedback on the outcomes and benefits they have experienced as a result of accessing these services.

Feedback collection methods were expanded this year to include text messages, doubling responses from 3,912 to 8,699. This now makes the study, to our knowledge, the largest cross-sectional sample of senior phase school pupils in Scotland.

A further element of the research is to view the findings from an equality perspective and to capture the views of young people with protected characteristics.

Key findings

SDS career services are well-received, especially by targeted service users

One-to-one sessions with Careers Advisers are valued and rated highly in terms of quality. Young people feel listened to, supported, and encouraged

The advice and guidance have improved career management skills across all customers, but particularly for those receiving the targeted service offer

Impact and influence

The results from this research are shared across SDS to help shape and improve service delivery and with our government colleagues to inform their evidence base and policy development.

Pupil Voice was used alongside Young People in Scotland and Young People’s Career Ambitions as a key evidence source to inform a series of collaborative webinars during Scottish Careers Week. Audiences included employers, partners and stakeholders including those in the Careers Collaborative. The narrative created for these events has created a cohesive and comprehensive story about what we know about young people’s decision making, career pathways, and the value of our CIAG services.

Research findings

The Evaluation and Research team have produced a series of outputs from the research which include:

Get in touch

If you have any further questions about the research, please contact the SDS Evaluation and Research team

Opens in a new window SDS Evaluation & Research team