Collective leadership for high-quality careers support



Previously called the UK Careers Sector Strategic Forum, the Careers Sector Stakeholders Alliance (CSSA) was initiated in 2009 by Keith Herrmann, then Deputy Chief Executive at the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) in collaboration with Prof Tony Watts, a leading international expert in the career guidance field and co-founder of CRAC, Margaret Dane, Chief Executive of AGCAS (now retired) and Vivienne Brown, then at Skills Development Scotland.

This convening group brought together a wide range of national organisations with an interest in careers education and IAG during 2009-10. Following initial meetings during this period, the group met at UUK offices on 13th October 2010 to consider a proposed draft constitution for the group, a suggested work programme and Terms of Reference. Below is a short summary of the Terms of Reference for the Careers Alliance. The meeting agreed that the CSSA (also called the Careers Alliance) would be constituted as an informal leadership network focused on UK-wide careers sector strategy and policy, rather than as a formally constituted charitable body.

The Careers Alliance’s first Chair was Sir Martin Harris, the former Director for Fair Access to Higher Education in England. The Chair is now Dame Ruth Silver, the former Chair of the Government’s Careers Professions Task Force and previous Principal at Lewisham College.

The Careers Alliance meets formally twice a year, with members contributing to Briefing Notes and Thinkpieces by email. These are issued under the auspices of the Careers Alliance with member organisation banners listed to illustrate the network capability of the Alliance. Its work is supported by a Convenor and a small convening committee.


The Careers Sector Stakeholders Alliance is established to formulate a national strategic framework for careers information, advice and guidance (CEIAG) to address the issues of access, transparency, quality, equality, and continuity, and to identify areas where UK-wide co-ordination would be helpful. The Careers Alliance will promote increased co-ordination, collaboration and co-operation among stakeholders in the careers sector and be a collective voice for the careers sector. It will:

  • Galvanise and mobilise the careers sector network around the themes of improving career management skills, access to careers services, delivering high-quality services, and impact measurement.
  • Optimise communication channels and connectivity between stakeholders in the sector.
  • Improve and increase the visibility of the careers sector.
  • Shape and articulate efforts to provide collective leadership towards ensuring that increased support is provided to the individual end-user, such that their aspirations on career and life choices can be clarified and achieved.

As a strategic leadership network it will endeavour to liaise with the four nation Governments and the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network (ELGPN) where this is considered desirable, and act as a conduit for communication across the sector and with a wider group of secondary stakeholders.

Key operating principles

The Careers Alliance will encourage and support a commitment to the following principles which underpin the delivery of careers support:

  • all-age, all-stages, all abilities;
  • a primary focus on the individual user of career IAG services;
  • improved CPD for the career IAG workforce;
  • a national quality framework to ensure high-quality career development support.

Suggested topics of focus

The Carers Alliance will focus its activity on the following themes:

  • career management skills for individuals;
  • access to lifelong guidance services;
  • quality assurance;
  • impact measurement.

Within these four themes the Alliance will also address issues regarding career learning, employability, social mobility, social justice and equity.

Modes of working

  1. The CSSA will normally meet twice every calendar year and identify key themes and actions to address as a strategic leadership network.
  2. The CSSA might choose to establish sub-groups to discuss particular themes and develop authoritative sector-based statements on issues affecting the careers sector.