The Purpose of the Framework

The Framework clarifies the skills, knowledge and attitudes that individuals need to have a positive career. That may mean something different to each of us, such as being happy with the way you spend your time, contributing to your community or achieving a decent standard of living.

As career development practitioners develop their careers programmes, the Framework helps ensure a focus on the learning outcomes from those activities.

The six learning areas

The CDI’s Career Development Framework describes the six learning outcomes that career development programmes should focus on to ensure clients develop the career development skills that they need to have positive careers. 

When developing programmes, careers teams should ask; how does it help clients grow throughout life, explore possibilities, manage their career, create opportunities, balance life and work and see the big picture. Each activity may develop a different skill, but programmes should ensure engagement with all of these learning areas.

CDI Career Development Framework - six learning areas

"The Career Development Institute’s Career Development Framework of learning outcomes provides a useful resource that can both underpin the PSHE curriculum and support Careers Leaders to map career development outcomes across the curriculum.” DfE ‘Careers guidance and access for education and training providers’ statutory guidance January 2023, p.29

Handbook for Primary Schools

The Framework for primary schools

The Framework clarifies the skills, knowledge and attitudes that individuals need to have a positive career. That may mean something different to each of us, such as being happy with the way you spend your time, contributing to your community or achieving a decent standard of living.

As careers teams develop their careers programmes, the Framework helps ensure a focus on the learning outcomes from those activities.

The Framework for secondary schools and colleges

The Framework began with a focus on secondary education and has evolved to include colleges and primary. For schools in England, the Framework aligns to the Gatsby benchmarks and the Quality in Careers Standard, though it is designed to work for schools across the UK. 

The 24-page handbook shows how the Framework supports Key Stages 3 and 4 and post-16.

Case studies

There are a number of case studies showcasing how schools and colleges have used the CDI Career Development Framework. These are valuable in helping other schools and colleges learn from others when implementing the Framework.

Ravens Wood School: virtual employability workshop

We are always keen to add to these case studies, so you have an excellent example of working to one of the learning outcomes, please complete one of the templates below and send to

Evolution of the Career Development Framework

This latest version of the Framework was launched in April 2021 and extended on the secondary education focus, to create a Framework that was applicable to careers practitioners supporting all age groups. The new Framework condensed the learning outcomes down from 17 to six. Read more about the evolution of the Framework and access resources mapping the previous and current versions.

Future development

We continue to promote the use of the Framework in schools, colleges and other contexts. While the CDI Career Development Framework has been designed for use by careers professionals working with all clients, we are exploring the development of resources to support using the Framework with adults. 

We also continue to develop resources and run regular webinars on using the Framework and continue to champion its use across all areas of career development.

If you have used or are looking to use the Framework and have feedback to help us continue to evolve the resources, we’d love to hear from you at [email address].

Having any trouble?

Having any trouble?

Do not hesitate to reach out to us anytime.