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In practice

CiCi, the 24/7 careers chatbot


CiCi the careers chatbot supports personalised career exploration for young people (and adults) by giving them access to current and relevant careers information in a single place. It lightens the workload of career advisers and improves the quality of time spent supporting students by providing 24/7 impartial and confidential careers information and advice. The chatbot can also potentially be used by teachers and parents. While developed in the UK, it can be translated into different languages and has a text-to-speech function to support individuals with different learning preferences. A live dashboard complements CiCi the bot by capturing information on the user type i.e. gender, ethnicity, age, types of searches being carried out and top occupations, time of the day usage, and numbers requesting a warm handover to a human adviser. The bot information is aligned with the national (England) inspection framework for schools, quality standards and the Gatsby benchmarks.

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Published on the 16/05/2023

Launch year2021

How many schools are currently making use of it?250+

Other tagsIs informed by research, Is evaluated by peers

Career developmentOnline platforms, Accessing information/guidance, Labour Market Information, Managing transitions

Age groupLower-secondary (ages 12 to 15), Upper-secondary (ages 16 to 18)

TechnologyArtificial intelligence, Video streaming

CountryUnited Kingdom

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Resource overview

Website: CiCi Career Chat

Step 1 - The school is given a choice to either participate in a pilot for research and development whereby a link to the bot is made available via a QR code or they can potentially work with the CareerChat (UK) team to have a customised bot designed specific to their needs. This can be embedded within a school's careers webpage. The parameters of school involvement would be formally agreed with Careers Leader/Senior Manager/Headteacher.

Step 2 - Preparation and distribution of posters for around the school and teacher lessons plans, specific to how to use a careers bot effectively. Formal introduction to staff, including a feedback form for completion. This is designed to feed into continuous improvement. An option for parents to be involved is currently under (R&D) development. A language translation facility is available for parents for whom English is not their first language. There is also a text-to-speech function available for those with specific learning needs.

Step 3 - Groupwork (optional) with students/staff to observe how they are using the bot and online user feedback form completed by the end users. Student involvement in what works, ideas for improvement etc.

Step 4 - Monthly meetings involving the Careers Leader and CareerChat representative to review the findings including the data dashboard results and the extent to which the chatbot is being embedded in career leaders’ and other teachers' everyday practice. For example: most popular occupations searched for, and other data reviewed - is there alignment/misalignment with the reality of labour markets? Are other routes being overlooked by students e.g., self-employment, volunteering, apprenticeships etc?

Step 5 - Report and presentation of findings to the school’s Senior Management Team, teachers, and parents.

Description of technology

Tailored to each organisation, CiCi comes with a personalised dashboard of metrics using Application Programme Interfaces (APIs) and machine learning that provides comprehensive data analytics to help align service provision with the reality of the types of searches and occupations individuals are exploring. It can work across all devices. This can enable accurate comparison against local, regional, and national Labour Market Information (LMI). It also draws on the UK LMI for All widget.

How the resource makes career guidance more effective, efficient and/or equitable for students

The unique architecture that sits behind CiCi is composed of elements that can be customised, creating a bespoke experience for students. It is quick and easy to use, available 24/7 and does not require a high level of digital skills. It brings a wide range of potential pathways to life, including CV templates, skills, vacancies, apprenticeships, and courses etc, with videos of people in a wide range of job roles, including entrepreneurs. CiCi can be branded to match the look and feel of the school. It provides students, parents, and teachers with opportunities for careers exploration and discovery. It makes career guidance more equitable by enabling all young people to speak with a human adviser, if needed. Also, this approach is highly effective and efficient as it frees up adviser time to use their high level skills to support those most in need.

Challenges or potential barriers to use

School IT broadband - systems need to be checked in advance as broadband access and IT systems vary significantly between schools.

The resource is not free of charge for practitioners

CiCi works closely with practitioners and partner organisations (including schools) involved in our free R&D piloting activities

Support for users

Some users will require support to use the resource.

In some cases, visually impaired students or those in alternative provision may require additional support depending on their unique circumstances.

Further advice for users

Lessons learned –

1. From the outset, involve the IT school expert in working closely with the career’s specialist and external bot experts. Also, forge links with the school’s marketing or public relations (PR) expert to promote CEIAG (Career Education Information Advice and Guidance).

2. Do not simply give the link or QR code to teachers. Make sure there is a formal induction so that they understand the tool and how it can benefit them and their students/parents. Capture their ideas, concerns and respond well to these.

3. Share data findings to feed into the school's careers strategy. Find ways to show how the AI and machine learning technology data supports the achievement of benchmarks (such as the Gatsby Benchmarks). Explain how the data can be used as evidence to inform school inspections and/or the achievement of quality standards.

Additional details

Has the resource been…

Yes or No?



…informed by research?


Research underpins all aspects of CiCi's development process. A participative research methodology was adopted, including both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Examples of research materials include:

Susskind R., & Susskind, D. (2015).

Mc Kinsey (2021).

Akkok, F. & Hughes, D. (2021). Career Chat: The Art of AI and the Human Interface

Feedback is collected from careers practitioners and users.

…funded by government?


…recognized by peers?


CiCi was a winning submission in the 2021 Nesta CareerTech Challenge Prize (supported by the UK (England) Department for Education).



This resource has been endorsed by the Bemrose School in Derby in the United Kingdom.

Disclaimer: This content is provided by the submitting organisation.