Launching the new Career Development Framework

CD Framework - first Slide29 (002)

 NEW - Career Development Framework: Handbook for Primary Schools

The practise of delivering career related learning (CRL) in primary schools has been growing over time and has enabled a clear evidence base to be formed demonstrating the impact.  Twenty first century living has heightened the need for embedding CRL in schools in order to  broaden horizons, challenge assumptions and stereotypes and thus aid social mobility and future employability.  We are therefore delighted in this new framework to build upon the former CDI framework which started at KS2 and bring CRL into an all age framework from the age of 4 years upwards.

Also available; download the Kingsway Primary School supporting case study.


Download Handbook


Redeveloping the Framework for Careers, Employability and Enterprise Education. 

Our Community of Interest for Careers Education has been working to reimagine and redevelop the popular Framework for Careers, Employability and Enterprise Education.

Many will already be familiar with the old CDI Framework, which sets out what learners should know and be able to do by the time they leave education. The Framework has been developed and updated over the years and in 2018 we linked the Gatsby benchmarks to the then 17 areas of learning in the Framework and the Quality in Careers Standard.

Such is the pace of change that by 2020 we felt that the time was right to refresh it and transform it into a document supporting career development learning across the life course. The new Career Development Framework has been designed for all career development practitioners, not just those working in schools and colleges.

The project to redevelop the CDI Framework involved detailed consultation with almost 300 career development experts and practitioners and close links with key partners including the Careers & Enterprise Company, the PSHE Association and DfE. 

As discussions progressed, we asked Professor Tristram Hooley to work with members of the Community of Practice for Careers Education to map out what a larger review of the Framework might look like. Our initial research suggested that people wanted us to fully reimagine the Framework, incorporating a wider and more contemporary view of how careers work. But people also wanted a tight framework that was easy for careers practitioners to use.

Over the summer of 2020 a new version of the Framework was born, based around six career development learning areas. The new Framework was consulted on through more interviews with experts and a survey of over 200 careers practitioners. They liked the Framework, but suggested lots of detailed improvements, resulting in the current version which we launched in April 2021.

The purpose of the Framework

'Career' describes our journey through life, learning and work. We need actively to develop our careers to make the best of them. This process of career development takes skill as well as knowledge and the right attitude. Individuals need to work on their career development skills throughout their lives.

The main purpose of the CDI’s Career Development Framework is to clarify the skills, knowledge and attitudes that individuals need to have a positive career. A ‘positive career’ will mean something different to everyone, but it will typically include being happy with the way you spend your time, being able to make a contribution to your community and being able to have a decent standard of living.

Career development skills are the learning outcomes that career development programmes and interventions should be aiming to bring about. They need to be developed alongside academic skills and knowledge and employability skills (the skills that you need for work and employment).

The Career Development Framework

The CDI’s Career Development Framework describes the six career development skills that people need to have positive careers.

Six learning areas Slide28

These six skills are the learning areas that career development programmes and interventions should focus on. When you are supporting someone with their career you should ask yourself, how can I help them to grow throughout life, explore possibilities, manage career, create opportunities, balance life and work and see the big picture. Each career development activity might develop a different skill, but ultimately individuals need to engage with all of these learning areas.

The new Framework has been launched 

The new Framework was launched on April 21st 2021.The launch includes the publication of the following resources:

Further new resources:

Icons representing the six learning areas:

Grow throughout life Explore possibilities Manage career
Create opportunities Balance life and work See the big picture

Future developments

These documents are just the beginning. The project team is organising free webinar and masterclass sessions during the summer term. New publications are planned including more detailed learning outcomes and a version of the Framework that can be used with primary schools. 

We want to encourage the wider career development community to work with the framework and develop new ideas, activities and resources based on it. We will add new resources to this page as they are published.

Booklets and resources Slide31