The Careers staff at Comberton Village College and Comberton Sixth Form aim to inspire students to make wise and informed choices and plans for their future both in Higher Education and work. The Careers Education, Guidance and Work Experience programme which starts in Year 7 and continues through to Year 13 is a strong motivator for our students. It includes a very varied timetable of events including but not restricted to:
- Visits to universities, apprenticeship colleges, employers and career fairs,
- Lab and self-organised work experience,
- Post-16 education providers, employers, employees and alumni formal and informal talks, and presentations,
- Planned lessons on today’s working environment and careers
- Lunchtime talks with internal and external speakers on apprenticeship, university, choices and specific sectors
Most of those events have, of course, not been possible to the same extend during the pandemic but we replaced them where possible with virtual events. Some of our students for example who identified a need linked to their career choice have had access to virtual work experience and mentoring sessions with employers. Our sixth formers have access to a wealth of online activities including universities virtual tour, talks from employers and young role model as well as live skills development opportunities. Those are advertised weekly in “Career Bigger Picture” the weekly careers email that reaches all year 11 and Sixth formers as well as their respective tutors.
This academic year we are restarting all our face to face work experiences and events which will be in addition to other opportunities that are still being offered virtually.
Students from yr7 to yr10 get relevant information on their pupil’s bulletin and through their respective head of year communications while sixth formers and yr11 get direct input from the career advisor via the weekly “Career Bigger Picture” email.
The school also helps students pursue CV-building activities such as student-led societies, leadership/character development activities, specific career-linked activities and volunteering. In addition, employer-links, alumni networking and mentoring are also being further developed.
Our work is benchmarked against the national and international standards for school careers provision. As far as possible we offer individual support and guidance with the belief that every individual matters equally and should receive equal access to provision.
Progression Beyond School
Of those who leave CVC at 16, almost all transfer to other educational institutions, while a few take apprenticeships. Of those who leave at 18, most proceed to degree and other higher-level courses with increasing numbers gaining places at the top universities. In recent years, more and more of our students have also been applying for competitive degree apprenticeships.
CVC provides all pupils in Years 8-13 with access to career guidance sessions on request and by staff and parent referral. This is all high quality, impartial and independent careers advice which is provided by our in-house career advisor and external independent career guidance services.
We apply a coaching/mentoring approach where students make their own decisions and are supported to develop their own personal career plans.
We encouraged them to have high aspirations and to aim for excellence while considering the broadest range of career areas with appropriate educational and personal development routes. For some students, this will mean encouragement and mentoring for applications to the most selective universities. For others, it will mean similar encouragement and mentoring for a directly career-related or talent-related path. All academic and vocational paths ranging from university and other course options, to jobs, apprenticeships and entrepreneurship are covered fairly and impartially.
CVC works with the local authority to identify and support vulnerable young people and facilitate optimal transitions for them. CVC’s careers staff and external advisors work to prevent all forms of stereotyping in the guidance provided and fully support those with special educational and behavioural needs.
The Library and Resource Centre has a very well-stocked Careers Library which contains books, prospectuses, leaflets, supplements, lists, links, online and other resources on all the main career areas including universities and other options. The main titles published by Prospects, Heap, COA and MPW/Trotman are held, including a set of the How2Become series.
The school’s live feed on careers, HE and employability is available on Twitter: @CVC_Careers. In addition, all sixth formers and year 11 receive ‘Career Bigger Picture’ a weekly career update bulletin covering the latest part-time job, apprenticeship information, work experience placement offers, talks, seminars, workshops, etc. available in the area as well as labour market information. All career emails are kept in the online careers folder to which al students have access.
Both in Careers lessons and in the library students are guided through the maze of career-related sites and encouraged to focus on the most useful, such as Prospects, University Which, Unistats, the National Careers Service, Plotr, iCould, Careersbox, Youthoria, and Not Going to Uni.
Students from yr11 to yr13 have the opportunity to attend lunchtime talks with internal and external speakers on apprenticeship, university, choices, gap year, sector specific, etc.
The school has a timetabled programme of Careers Education covering the full recommended range of topics, including transitions, career areas, labour market information, employability skills and attitudes. The programme can be found on each year group page on our website and on the career pages. There is also a separate Sixth Form Careers Programme. Students have encounters with providers of higher and further education. Curriculum learning is also linked to careers. The school brings in external speakers, arranges visits, and facilitates some individually focussed opportunities and placements for Year 9-13 students, tailored to their future educational and career ideas and aspirations. CVC has strong links with employers, and is further developing its employer network, using both employers and in coming years, alumni.
We are pleased to be working with Form the Future on a number of projects within our Careers Education programme on work experience, Employability Skills, Guidance interviews, employer events and mock interviews.
Work, Other Experiences and Employability
All students are encouraged to undertake a number of periods of Work Experience, between Year 10 and Year 13. Work, lab and other experience is now increasingly used as a criterion for entry to vocational/degree courses at university/other courses, scholarships and applications (whether job, apprenticeship, Armed Forces or other). Some courses require that students build up an extensive portfolio of work placements, requiring long term planning and commitment. Many parents and employers help by offering work experience or shorter shadowing opportunities. If you would like to offer work experience or shadowing opportunities to one or more of our students please do email our career leader Mrs Lawson on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The work experience weeks have unfortunately had to be cancelled in July 2020 and 2021 but some students have had access to virtual work experiences mainly those interested in working with the NHS and in IT. This academic year we are restarting all face to face events including work experience.
Students are also encouraged to undertake a range of CV-building activities which develop the personal qualities and skills required to have successful future working lives. They are also encouraged to apply for schemes, awards, masterclasses which develop their subject/career-linked portfolios (e.g. Arkwright Scholarships).
As part of developing our students’ employability and networking, we want to foster links with local, national and international employers and university as well as other educational providers. We would be very grateful for any contacts regarding this, which can be directed to Mrs Fay Lawson, email@example.com
The school’s CEIAG provision is benchmarked against current best practice and legislation, and monitored using student/parent and other feedback, along with our destinations data. We currently follow statutory guidance and use the eight benchmarks in the Gatsby Foundation Report on Good Career Guidance for our benchmarking.
We aim to do everything we can to inspire and encourage each of our students to realise their full potential and have happy and successful working lives.
For further information contact Mrs Fay Lawson (Careers Lead) on 01223 262 503 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The school’s live feeds on careers, HE and employability are available on Twitter: @CVC_Careers