Image of Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE

Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE

Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE specialises in lifelong guidance policies, research and practice at an international, national and regional level. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Warwick, Institute for Employment Research (IER). Also, Director of dmh associates – an independent research and consultancy company – and Founding Director of CareerChat (UK) Ltd – a technology company focused on career development and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning

Deirdre is a former UK Commissioner for Employment and Skills (UKCES) specialising in career development and labour market intelligence, appointed by government Ministers in the four home nations of the UK. She worked directly with three Skills Ministers in a previous role as Chair of the National Careers Council in England. She led research and co-authored Transforming careers support for young people and adults in Northern Ireland, on behalf of the Department for Economy (2022). Brighter Futures Careers Wales 2021-2026 Vision and Strategy, Scotland’s Careers Strategy: Moving Forward (2020 - present) and the Indecon Review of Career Guidance, Ireland (2020). 

She is a Cedefop-appointed UK expert in lifelong guidance and the IAEVG UK expert correspondent. She is an adviser to the OECD ‘Career Readiness’ programme and new Digital ODICY Observatory. Deirdre was a lead expert on a recent ILO and ETF ‘Career Development and Changing Labour Markets’ international training programme. In England, she is currently Chair of the Formal review of the matrix Standard for quality in information, advice and guidance (IAG) owned by the Department for Education. She is Founding Director of the International Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS) at the University of Derby, England. 

Deirdre has taught in four UK universities. Some selected examples of her current research include career-related learning in primary schools, community places and online spaces for all-age careers support, the design and application of a 24:7 careers chatbot CiCi, and collaborative research in Canada, Wales and Scotland on career development and wellbeing issues.