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CDI / NICEC - At the Cutting Edge-Research into Practice


The purpose of this Cutting-Edge event is to start a conversation between those working in the field of labour market intelligence (LMI) and those using this data and insights to inform their work with clients (practitioners).

Career practitioners often hold diverse views on the role of LMI and aren’t always sure how to interpret LMI information in a meaningful way. As workplaces and labour markets are impacted by economic disruption and government policies it can seem a real challenge to kept abreast of what is happening, and what might be relevant for future career opportunities.

So, what is the role of a career practitioner in this context and how can practice be informed in a meaningful way?


By the end of the event, participants will have:

  • Considered the nature and role of LMI in career practice
  • Explored some of the myths that exist in relation to predicted workplace patterns and future trends
  • Learned about how to use LMI data to build insights
  • Insights about the best sources of LMI data
  • Reflected on the ‘political’ nature of LMI



13.30 -13.35                       Introductions and welcome – chaired by Rosemary McLean

13.35 -14.25                       How do we know what’s going on in the labour market? – Emma Pollard and Wendy Hirsh

Emma and Wendy will provide some provocation and insights about what we mean by ‘labour market information, its main dimensions, and what sources provide a quick but reliable picture of what is going on.

They will also explore how to become more critical users of information, to challenge the myths, and help our clients gain a better understanding of employment trends and opportunities.

14.25 - 15.00                      Information to intelligence to insight – Charlie Ball

Charlie will draw upon his 20 years’ experience in labour market information, intelligence, and insights to look at the current and emerging challenges in the UK labour market. He will explore how our small band of labour market specialists turn the raw data that is all around us into usable information for careers professionals- turning stats into a narrative. He’ll also help us to consider which sources are reliable and usable, and where are the gaps

15.00 pm                             Break

15.15- 15.50                       The politics of LMI, ‘bias’ and regional differentiation – Keith Herrmann

Keith will explore the ‘politics’ of LMI and what it means in light of the government’s proposals regarding the value of graduate outcomes, its messaging on degrees of ‘value' and how LMI ‘bias’ impacts on levelling up and regional differentiation. The presentation will also look at LMI for different industry sectors, and the picture it paints potentially to young people about the choices they could make about careers, subjects to study and industries to consider for their future careers.

15.50 – 16.30                     Break outs & Panel Discussion.  – Rosemary McLean



NICEC Biographies

Dr Charlie Ball: Senior Consultant: Labour Market Intelligence

Charlie is the labour market specialist at the UK’s higher education service provider Jisc. He is responsible for support and research for university careers services across the UK, and has been a labour market specialist for 20 years.

He is an active researcher on projects on graduate employment and in collaboration with external organisations. He is used as an expert on graduate and postgraduate employment by stakeholders within and outside HE, and serves on groups advising the Social Mobility Commission, the Office of National Statistics, the National Council for University and Business, the Higher Education Statistics Agency, The Institute of Student Employers and the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services. He writes and is quoted regularly by national media on graduate employment issues and recently spent an afternoon walking down a hill repeatedly for a BBC Breakfast segment that was never broadcast.

He is also a Fellow of the National Institute of Careers Education and Counselling and of Manchester Metropolitan University.

Keith Herrmann

Keith is Director of Higher Ed Research, a research consultancy specialising in higher education policy, graduate employability and strategy development. He also has a strong interest in entrepreneurship education and SME development. He was previously Director of Employability and Careers at the University of Surrey where he had a university-wide remit as strategic lead on employability, careers and the university’s renowned student placement programme. He also successfully developed the University’s strategy on Degree Apprenticeships.

Keith was previously Deputy Chief Executive at the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) where he was involved in research on entrepreneurship education, leadership in higher education, innovation policy, university-business collaboration, employability, career guidance and STEM education. Before this he worked at Durham University Business School as Director of Programmes for Small Enterprise Development where he led a team specialising in entrepreneurship education and economic policy research. Keith is passionate about education, and convened pro bono the Careers Alliance, a strategic leadership network of 25 national organisations in the UK with an interest in career guidance, including employer bodies, trade unions and education and skills organisations.


Dr Wendy Hirsh

Wendy is a researcher and consultant on employment issues, often working with employers and their managers and employees on the career and skill development of adults in employment and the interfaces between education and employment. Wendy is a NICEC Fellow, a Principal Associate of the Institute for Employment Studies and a Visiting Professor of Career Development at the University of Derby.

Emma Pollard

Emma is an applied researcher focusing on education and employment and the transition between the two, including how individuals navigate the labour market and develop their careers. She is a Principal Research Fellow at the Institute for Employment Studies and leads their work on higher education. Emma is a NICEC Fellow and regularly works with Wendy on research to understand career decision making and experiences.

Rosemary McLean

Rosemary is a registered Career Practitioner and Chartered Occupational Psychologist with many years’ experience in the careers field. She now enables organisations to develop and shape career development strategy to support business goals and align individual aspirations and passions with internal opportunities. Her consultancy work with the Career Innovation Company is evidence based applying systemic approaches to career development in organisations including the development of career frameworks. She also designs and delivers career development workshops and has developed a next generation on-line career development course ‘Be Bold in your Career’ to scale up meaningful careers support to people in the workplace. Rosemary has worked as a careers coach in both the career transition and careers guidance fields and is a CDI Legacy Fellow and mentor as well as a NICEC Fellow.