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Young people from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds face additional barriers as they seek to convert their qualifications and experience into successful employment.

They encounter particular challenges in seeking to enter high status jobs. The barriers they face can be productively conceptualised in terms of economic, human, social and cultural capital accumulation. Schools can help to build these resources through programmes of career guidance, but to be successful they must actively respond to predictable barriers relating to access to trusted information and useful experiences.

PISA shows a need for socially focused interventions. Career uncertainty and confusion is shaped by SES. Low SES students are also less likely to engage in most commonplace career development activities. Equitable guidance systems will target greater provision at low SES students and aim ultimately to provide personalise provision to all students, encouraging and enabling understanding of and progression towards careers promising greatest personal fulfilment.

Insights from longitudinal data provide new opportunities for more scientific and strategic approaches to delivering effective provision.

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