Careers

Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance

Preparation for employment is an integral part of everything we do at The Downs School. Whether they eventually go on to further or higher education, employment or self-employment once they leave us, we want their time at The Downs School to have provided them with the skills and knowledge to make the choices that are best for them.

Careers Programme

Through our Careers Programme we provide the best possible careers education, information, advice and guidance to all our students in line including:

  • up-to-date information about the local employment market;
  • independent and impartial careers guidance;
  • opportunities to meet employers and for work experience;
  • curriculum links to real-world careers;
  • information on all post-16 options (apprenticeships as well as further education); and
  • CV and application advice.

Careers Information

In this section you will find lots of useful information and links to the careers information available to students at The Downs School. It includes:

  • Resources for students
  • Resources for parents/carers - How you can help students to prepare for life after The Downs School.
  • Resources for employers - How you can help The Downs School students and reach the talent of the future.

IIC New Image

 

The school has been awarded Investors in Careers accreditation, a nationally-validated quality mark that is awarded to schools and colleges in recognition of the excellence of their careers work.  http://www.investorincareers.org.uk/

 

 

 

The school employs a dedicated Careers Lead, Mrs Penny Allum.  For information and guidance on careers related matters, she can be contacted:

By email: careers@thedownsschool.org

By telephone: 01635 270080

Careers Programme

Overview

At The Downs School we place a great emphasis on our students having a programme that ensures they are well equipped for moving into the appropriate further education, apprenticeship or workplace.  This starts as soon as the arrive at school in Year 7.  We make every effort to ensure all our students are on the right pathway suitable for their particular skill set and this is done through a rigorous programme and focus on careers throughout their school life.

Careers Leader: Mrs P Allum.

PDP Programme Leader: Mrs R Bailey.

We are constantly reviewing and improving our careers education and guidance in line with the Gatsby benchmarks.  This programme will be reviewed on an annual basis; the next review will be in July 2019.

The impact of the Careers Programme will be assessed through student evaluation on individual events and a general careers assessment questionnaire used at key transition points.  An initial assessment will take place at the start of Year 7.

 

Year 7 Careers Entitlement

  • Students are introduced to the careers resources, in particular “Grofar” and “eClips”, and informed how to use them.
  • Grofar Student Passports are created on which academic progress and notes from careers sessions are recorded.
  • Students can access careers advice through the Careers Leader.
  • Students will participate in “Exploring Your Future”, where a range of employers will bring various interactive activities for students to participate in.
  • Students will have access to local employers through interest talks, including an Apprenticeship Awareness Event.
  • Through the PDP programme students will start to consider what their future career will look like based on their interests and abilities, and what skills they need to get there.

     

Year 8 Careers Entitlement

  • Students develop their use of the career resources available in school, in particular “Grofar” and “eClips”.
  • Academic and careers progress is recorded on Student Passport.
  • Students can access careers advice through the Careers Leader.
  • Students will participate in “Exploring Your Future”, where a range of employers will bring various interactive activities for students to try.
  • Students will have access to local employers through interest talks, including an Apprenticeship Awareness Event.
  • Through the PDP programme students will build on personal strengths and begin to link skills to specific careers, enabling realistic and informed decisions using labour market information.

 

Year 9 Careers Entitlement

  • Students develop their use of the career resources available in school, in particular “Grofar” and “eClips”.
  • Academic and careers progress is recorded on Student Passport.
  • Students can access careers advice through the Careers Leader.
  • Students will relate potential GCSE/BTEC option choices to the World of Work, meeting business volunteers who will talk about how different subject choices have helped them with their careers.
  • Students will have access to local employers through interest talks, including an Apprenticeship Awareness Event.
  • Through the PDP programme students will build on personal strengths and begin to link skills to specific careers enabling realistic and informed decisions at transition stages. Students will be encouraged to challenge stereotypes within the world of work and traditional job roles.

 

Year 10 Careers Entitlement

  • Students develop their use of the career resources available in school, in particular “Grofar” and “eClips”.
  • Academic and careers progress is recorded on Student Passport.
  • Students can access careers advice through the Careers Leader.  Towards the end of the year some students will start to have group career interviews with Activate Learning, an independent and impartial careers advice service.
  • Students will participate in a “Careers Day”, which will include activities with business volunteers such as “Speedy Careers”, training/work skills speakers and an interview workshop.
  • Students will have access to local employers through interest talks, including an Apprenticeship Awareness Event.
  • Through the PDP programme students will review their skills and interests and link these to career choices.
  • Students will be allocated two days to undertake work shadowing.
  • Students will have the opportunity to attend taster sessions at Sparsholt College.
  • Students can apply to undertake the Morrisby Profile, a psychometric assessment designed to assist with career choices.

     

Year 11 Careers Entitlement

  • Students develop their use of the career resources available in school, in particular “Grofar” and “eClips”.
  • Academic and careers progress is recorded on Student Passport.
  • Students can access careers advice through the Careers Leader.  Before leaving school, every student will have attended with an individual or group career interviews with Activate Learning, an independent and impartial careers advice service.
  • Students will have access to local employers through interest talks, including an Apprenticeship Awareness Event.
  • Through the PDP programme students will research potential options after Year 11 and have support to write a CV.
  • Students are helped with post 16 choices and encouraged to consider all their options including further study in 6th form and apprenticeships. Destinations are discussed during a Careers Mentoring Day.
  • Students will participate in 6th Form Taster sessions, focussed on subjects only available in the 6th Form.
  • Students planning to attend college after Year 11 will have support to complete application forms and the opportunity to visit Newbury College.
  • Students are encouraged to attend careers talks, fairs, college open days and taster days with employers.
  • Students are kept up to date with post 16 deadlines.

 

Year 12 Careers Entitlement

  • Students will have access to local employers through interest talks, including an Apprenticeship Awareness Event.
  • All students will attend an all-day Work Skills Insight Event at Vodafone HQ.
  • Students will start to use “Unifrog” to develop their future planning and University/Apprenticeship applications.
  • Students will attend a variety of talks by local employers.
  • Students are given specific help with preparing UCAS/applying for apprenticeships.
  • Students will attend “After 18, Your Next Step”, which will include talks/workshops on the variety of options available after leaving school, including University, Apprenticeships and Gap years.  The sessions will be run by Employers and past students.
  • Students are encouraged to attend university open days, mock interviews, careers interviews and meet potential employers to discuss future options.
  • Students can access careers advice through the Careers Leader.  Towards the end of the year some students will start to have group career interviews with the careers Leader to discuss future options.
  • Students will have the opportunity to attend “Broaden Your Horizons”, a careers fair hosted by Bradfield College.
  • Students can apply to undertake the Morrisby or Cambridge Profiles, psychometric assessment tools to assist with career choices.
  • Students given support and encouragement to undertake a Work Experience Placement (may be completed in Year 13).

 

Year 13 Careers Entitlement

  • Students will have access to local employers through interest talks, including an Apprenticeship Awareness Event.
  • Students develop their use of “Unifrog” to finalise their future planning and University/Apprenticeship applications.
  • Students will attend a variety of talks by local employers.
  • Students are given specific help from 6th Form staff with preparing UCAS/applying for apprenticeships.
  • Students have the opportunity to attend The National Apprenticeship Show.
  • Students are encouraged to attend university open days, mock interviews, careers interviews and meet potential employers to discuss future options.
  • Students can access careers advice through the Careers Leader.  At the start of the year careers advice interviews will be offered to students requiring further support with their Post 18 choices.
  • Students have the opportunity to attend a mock assessment centre.

Resources for Students

The decisions you make from an early stage at school can have a big impact on your future career choices and happiness.  It therefore makes sense to start thinking about your future as soon as possible.

Remember, exploring and understanding your future options is a key part of preparing yourself for success: there is lots of support available so make the most of the careers opportunities provided.

The kind of questions you will be asked to think about.

There is life after school.  To prepare for it, there are a number of questions you will be encouraged to think about whilst you are at The Downs School. The answers you come up with to these questions will inform your subject choices for GCSE and 6th Form, and what you choose to do when your leave school.

  • What are you most interested in? What do you like doing?
  • What are you best at? What skills do you have?
  • What sorts of careers interest you? What do they involve? What skills and qualifications do they require?
  • What can you do to find out more about careers that interest you?
  • What can you do whilst at school to make future employers more likely to hire you?

What help you can expect whilst at The Downs?

All students at The Downs School are entitled to have access to careers guidance from Year 8 up until the age of 18.

  • We provide impartial and independent careers guidance which includes a range of careers-related activities.
  • We help you to meet with local employers/work-based education and apprenticeship providers, to gain valuable work experience and insight to the world of work.

Students can arrange a Careers Interview by initially contacting Mrs Allum. This will be a one-to-one interview in person, either with Mrs Allum or an external careers advisor, depending on the student’s requirements.

The Grofar Careers Platform.

The school uses the Grofar careers platform to help students get the best out of our Careers Programme.  All students have an account on the platform which they can use to track their career activities during their time at The Downs School.  Grofar offers:

  • The Student Passport builds through the whole time at school with annual action plans and the ability to log careers activity, attendance at events and the results of careers guidance meetings.
  • Employability Skills: Skills are at the heart of the student passport with tools for students to reflect on their skills and learning as well as the ability to log skills as they are developed or required.
  • Careers Resources: Grofar provides a complete library for students to access containing over 60 resources.

Choosing GCSE and A levels.

When choosing GCSE and A level options, having at least some idea what sort of careers you might be interested in can be very helpful.  When deciding which subjects to study it is important that you do your research as some careers will require you to gain specific qualifications.

The school will provide you with plenty of support when it comes to making your choices.  There are also lots of sources of information available online.

Apprenticeships.

The school’s Careers Programme will provide all students with an understanding of Apprenticeships and advice on how to explore the opportunities they offer as a post-16 option.

An apprenticeship is a real job with training which would allow you to earn while you learn, whilst gaining a nationally recognised qualification. Apprenticeships take between one and five years to complete and are available in 1,500 occupations across 170 industries varying from construction to manufacturing through to IT and the creative and digital sectors.

There are various levels of apprenticeship you could apply for depending on your interests, current skills and qualifications.

Apprenticeship Level

Educational level

Intermediate

5 GCSE passes at grades A* to C

Advanced

2 A level passes

Higher

Foundation degree and above

Degree

Bachelor’s or master’s degree

 

All apprenticeships will include elements of on the job and off the job training leading to industry recognised standards or qualifications. Some apprenticeships will require an assessment at the end of the programme to assess the apprentice`s ability and competence in their job role.

Apprenticeships are available to anyone over the age of 16, living in England. There are different entry requirements depending on the sector and job.

Work experience at the Downs School.

Work experience is a fantastic way to learn new skills, see what a real workplace is like and gain confidence. It also gives you the edge when it comes to applying for jobs.

"All employers appreciate applicants who have a range of work experience, whether voluntary or paid, part-time or full-time, directly relevant or not.  At the most fundamental level, it helps demonstrate an understanding of the world of work, a desire to learn and develop through new experience, and an ability to take on responsibilities."

Andrew Ward, Enterprise Adviser & Director, Optimum Advisory Limited.

All students in Year 10 will undertake Work Shadowing, accompanying a relative or family friend to their place of work.  The fundamental reasoning behind this programme is to introduce the wide and varied range of skills required for working life to students, and to boost their confidence in practical and social skills.  We see this as an invaluable opportunity for the student’s personal development and it will help them realise the value of the skills they are learning in the classroom.

6th Form students will be given advice and support to gain work experience placements. It is expected that every 6th Form student will undertake a Work Experience Placement.

Want to find out more about careers?

There are lots of excellent free destinations that offer extensive information and guidance to help you think about future jobs.  Some of the best are listed in the Useful Careers Websites section.

  • General, all-purpose careers sites with a wide range of advice and links;
  • Careers quizzes to help you explore what careers might best suit you;
  • Careers Information & Job Profiles;
  • Information about Apprenticeships and current vacancies;
  • Higher Education & University courses & information;
  • Work Experience & Volunteering opportunities;
  • Guidance on writing a CV; and
  • Guidance on interview technique

Resources for Parents/Carers

The decisions young people make from an early stage at school can have a big impact on their future career choices and happiness. Parents and carers have a vital role to play in this career journey.

Guide for Parents/Carers.

We have created a guide designed to provide an overview of how you, as parents/carers, can help support your student with these important choices.  This is attached at the bottom of the careers page.

Volunteering - The Downs School Careers Network.

The Downs School Careers Network is a key element of the Careers Programme at The Downs School.  The Careers Network brings together individuals and organisations outside the school – parents, alumni, and local employers – who want to support students at The Downs School.

If you’d like to join the Careers Network and support students at The Downs School, or if you’d like to explore other ways you or your employer could help, please contact the school’s Careers Lead, Mrs. Penny Allum: careers@thedownsschool.org

Please use the following link to the Careers Network: https://links.grofar.com/6004-fqmWo5

 

Apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships provide young people with a wide range of opportunities, but understanding recent developments can be confusing.  For further information, see the Parents Guide on Apprenticeships document.

Resources for Employers

Key benefits for your organisation.

Supporting careers education for students at The Downs School can be personally rewarding.  But it can also have concrete advantages for your business.

  • Ensuring that the future generation of professionals are equipped with the knowledge and understanding of the requirements of your industry.
  • Having first hand knowledge of and direct access to potential future employees.
  • Developing your own staff, by providing them with opportunities to develop, mentor and coach the future generation.

How you can help.

There are a range of very practical ways employers can support careers education.  These include:

  • employer mentoring
  • enterprise competitions
  • 1-2 week work experiences
  • careers talks, fairs
  • CV workshops
  • mock interviews
  • work-related learning provided in cooperation with employers
  • employer delivered employability skills workshops
  • workplace visits
  • volunteering

The CBI and the Careers & Enterprise Company have produced a very helpful guide for employers who want to engage with schools https://www.careersandenterprise.co.uk/sites/default/files/uploaded/careers-enterprise-cbi-employers-guide-schools-v2.pdf

Getting involved – The Downs School Careers Network.

The Downs School Careers Network is a key element of the Careers Programme at The Downs School.  The Careers Network brings together individuals and organisations outside the school – parents, alumni, and local employers – who want to support students at the Downs.

If you’d like to join the Careers Network and support students at the Downs, or if you’d like to explore other ways you or your employer could help, please contact the school’s Careers Lead, Mrs. Penny Allum: careers@thedownsschool.org

Useful Careers Websites

Where to get advice:

 

Careers Information & Job Profiles:

 

Careers quizzes:

Local and National Courses:

 

Activities & volunteering:

  • http://www.do-it.org.uk – search for local volunteering & work experience opportunities

     

    Funding & money matters:

The Downs School Careers Network

The Downs School Careers Network is a key element of the Careers Programme at The Downs School.  The Careers Network brings together individuals and organisations outside the school – parents, alumni, and local employers – who want to support students at The Downs School.

Goal

The primary aim of the Network is to:

  • increase access to careers-related experiences for students of all ages by deepening engagement with parents, and alumni and, through them, their employers;
  • to help teachers to continue the development of the links between subject skills/experiences and careers learning through access to business volunteers.

Volunteers

The Network is run by the school’s Careers Lead, Penny Allum, but depends on volunteers willing to offer their time and expertise to enhance the career advice and guidance available to students at The Downs School.

Volunteers can support the students by, for example,

  • sharing their own experiences at Careers Fairs and related events;
  • helping with CV feedback and interview practice;
  • offering work experience opportunities; and
  • helping teachers introduce career-related case studies, projects and experiences into their lessons;

If you’d like to join the Careers Network and support students at The Downs School, or if you’d like to explore other ways you or your employer could help, please contact the school’s Careers Lead, Penny Allum: careers@thedownsschool.org

Link to join the Careers Network: https://links.grofar.com/6004-fqmWo5

Local Labour Market Information

It is difficult to predict the future employment landscape. Awareness of local labour market intelligence – which roles and skills are most in demand locally now and which will be in the future -  can help us understand the skills, qualifications and wider attributes that are needed for the future in the areas where we live.

Economies and policies change – so do students’ aspirations and circumstances – so it is also important that the range of skills and attributes developed are transferrable and will enhance everyone’s lifelong employability.

Labour market information (LMI) is published by the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.  It can help students and their parents understand the local job market.

To view the local labour market information Presentation please see the attachments LMI for Schools and Career Opportunities in Berkshire.

Students can also use e-Clips (http://www.eclips-online.co.uk/)  to find out information about specific career pathways – password is available to all students in school.

Recent Careers Events

Summer Term 2018.

 

Experience of the Workplace.

Year 10 students undertook Work Shadowing placements; spending their time finding out about the business and the jobs undertaken by the people that work there.  There was a huge variety of employers visited, offering students the opportunity to find out about the world of work.  A number of Year 12 students have also arranged work experience placements.

 

Generation STEM is a work experience programme developed by CSW Group. The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has been asked to carry out research to find out whether Generation STEM makes a difference to improving students’ confidence and knowledge. A group of Year 10 students have participated in this research, undertaking a workshop looking at Employability Skills and Work placements. A small group of students has been selected to undertake further workshops, interviews and work experience.

 

Employability Skills.

The Take a Chance programme is now entering its twelfth year and a group of Year 9 students participated in the annual Skills Day at Newbury Racecourse.  From this group, six will be selected to undertake the full programme next year, alongside students from other West Berkshire secondary schools.  This programme continues to offer the students participating an opportunity to develop a range of employability skills, while working alongside, and learning from, Vodafone staff.

Spotlight on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) took place in school, it was also attended by students from other local schools. Year 12 students interested in STEM Careers participated in a series of activities run by AWE, looking at a range of projects and skills relevant to the work undertaken by the organisation. 

 

 

Girls in Hi-Tech was run for a group of Year 8 girls.  A series of three workshops were run by GIST, Immunocore and AWE.  The programme was created by the Education Business Partnership, sponsored by AWE and match funded by Greenham Common Trust. It is designed to develop important work‐related skills that will help students both within and outside school, and gave an insight into the varied careers available within these business areas.

 

 

Future Pathways.

Year 12 students participated in an After 18: Your Next Step Day.  They participated in a series of activities in order to consider the options available to them after Year 13, both University and Non-University.  Year 12 students have also had the opportunity to attend a Careers Fairs at Bradfield College, “Broaden Your Horizons” offered the opportunity to talk to people from a number of universities and companies with school leaver and apprenticeship schemes.

 

Year 10 students interested in finding out about the Post-16 courses offered at Sparsholt College attended a Taster Session.  The students spent the morning seeing what one of the many courses offered by the college was like during a session run by a college instructor.  Sparsholt College is a nationally recognized Specialist Further Education College in land, environment, sport and sustainable technology courses.

 

PDP day.  Year 7 and 8 students were introduced to Grofar, the on-line package used in school. Their research will allow them to start thinking about their skills and interests, and how they can influence future decisions.

Provider Access Statement

The Downs School acknowledges the right of providers of Post-14, Post-16 and Post-18 Education and Training to gain access to students at the school in order to inform them of the opportunities available. This complies with the school's legal obligations under Section 42B of the Education Act 1997.

Students in years 8-13 are entitled:

  • To find out about technical education qualifications and apprenticeships opportunities, as part of a careers programme which provides information on the full range of education and training options available at each transition point.
  • To hear from a range of local providers about the opportunities they offer, including technical education and apprenticeships - through options evenings, assemblies and group discussions and taster events.
  • To understand how to make applications for the full range of academic and technical courses.

Opportunities for access:

The school proactively encourages providers to arrange access events at the school. A number of events, integrated into the school careers programme, will offer providers an opportunity to come into school to speak to pupils and/or their parents. The provider can speak to the Careers Lead about suitable events taking place and also arrange ad hoc visits, e.g. assemblies, lunchtime talks.

Providers should speak to the Careers Lead to identify the most suitable opportunities.

The school policy on safeguarding sets out the school's approach to allowing providers into school as visitors to talk to students.

Premises and facilities:

The school will make the main hall, classrooms or private meeting rooms available for discussions between the provider and students, as appropriate to the activity. The school will also make available audio visual and other specialist equipment to support provider presentations. This will all be discussed and agreed in advance of the visit with the Careers Lead.

Please contact Mrs P Allum, Careers Lead by email careers@thedownsschool.org or telephone 01635 270080.

The Careers and Enterprise Company

The Careers and Enterprise Company (https://www.careersandenterprise.co.uk/) run a national network that connects schools and colleges with employers and careers programme providers and supports them to work together to provide effective work experiences for young people.

The network is facilitated by Enterprise Coordinators, trained professionals who work with clusters of schools and colleges to build careers plans and make connections to local and national employers.

In turn, these Enterprise Coordinators support a group of senior business volunteers, known as Enterprise Advisers, who they match with one of the school or colleges in the network.

Enterprise Advisers use their knowledge of the local business landscape to support the headteacher and careers team to develop an effective careers plan and to create opportunities with their business contacts in the area for their school or college’s students.

At The Downs School, our Enterprise Coordinator is Allison Giles who is based in the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise partnership.

Our Enterprise Advisers is Andrew Ward, a Senior HR professional who lives locally.

Documents

Page Downloads Date  
Parents Guide on Apprenticeships 05th Sep 2018 Download
LMI for Schools 05th Sep 2018 Download
Careers Opportunities in Berkshire 05th Sep 2018 Download
A Parents Guide to Careers Help 06th Sep 2018 Download
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