Developing a labour market information database: LMI for All
Developing the tools for better careers advice
Developing the tools to support careers guidance Careers guidance professionals play a key role in helping individuals throughout their lives make informed decisions about their education and careers choices. Dr Sally-Anne Barnes and her team researched the need to make labour market information (LMI) accessible. This led to the development of a freely accessible labour market database, LMI for All, that makes data available supporting careers professionals to provide high quality and impartial information
The Government views an effective careers service as crucial for increasing productivity, competition and employment, understanding that the right advice and guidance can boost career progression and educational attainment. Yet, careers professionals often found it difficult to access high quality and impartial data on the labour market and even where internet technologies gave fast access to information, this could be inaccurate and out of date. After identifying these issues, Dr Barnes’ team created the LMI for All database, a central, up-to-date repository that is free to access.
Working with Pontydysgu (a private sector partner developing the technical infrastructure), Dr Barnes and the team created the LMI for All database. This fulfilled a number of key requirements:
To maintain a comprehensive, high quality data offering that can inform career choices by linking and enhancing existing datasets, including the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings and the Labour Force Survey
To maintain the supply of labour market data to current and future third-party users providing open access to government data
The eight Principles of Open Data through a freely available Application Programming Interface
To offer a technical infrastructure that provides a secure, engaging, accessible and reliable platform to support users of LMI for All
The LMI for All database forms the basis for a range of mobile apps and web interfaces for careers education and guidance providers. As a freely accessible resource, it provides a one-stop service for start-ups and established providers alike.
On average there are 800,000 queries to the database each day which equates to around 80,000 unique users . Public, private and third sector organisations have all based their apps and websites on the information that LMI for All provides. Notable examples include U-Explore, which links over 3,000 schools and colleges to deliver intervention for young people, and icould.com, used by over 100,000 users every month, combining inspirational stories with careers advice backed up by the latest data.
The National Careers Services, London Councils and the BBC have also used LMI for All as a key source of information which, in turn, has led to the database playing a key role in the Government’s Careers Strategy. The Department for Work & Pensions has rolled out LMI for All’s dashboard as a resource for work coaches, advisers and managers. The success of the database has led to LMI for All becoming a key example of good practice when using IT in careers guidance by the OECD and the European Commission and the Canadian government are now keen to make their own version of LMI for All. Dr Barnes and her team’s work looks set to make a positive contribution to careers advice and guidance.