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Good careers guidance is a vital part of providing students with the best possible chance to succeed in their future. The ‘Aspire Careers Programme’ at St Paul’s Girls’ School is designed to ensure that students get used to thinking about career opportunities from the very start of their time here. The programme starts in Y7 (MIV) and goes through to Y13 (VIII) so that all students can become interested in and excited about careers from an early age. Students are supported with careers education and guidance led by a specialist team and across the school, including through ‘careers in the curriculum’, and receive age-appropriate career information, as well as additional support at key transition points. As part of the programme, students have access to bespoke tools, including Unifrog, to gain up to date career information, as well as meaningful interactions with the careers department and employers. Students will have the power and autonomy to design their life and aspire to become whomever they choose.
St Paul’s Girls’ School continues to work towards meeting the eight Gatsby Benchmarks, which are a framework of guidelines defining the best careers provision in secondary schools.
Encounters with Employers and Employees
From inspirational talks from guests about careers of the future to careers forums and conferences, and from speed networking events to entrepreneurship competitions and clubs, the students have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace.
Experiences of Workplaces
Students at St Paul’s Girls’ School start to learn about the workplace from Y9 (LV) when they take part in ‘Take your Child to Work Day’ and this is followed in Y10 (V) by the Careers Conference, where the students spend the afternoon on a workplace visit.
Work experience is the most valuable way to get insight and experience of real-life roles and in Y11 (VI) students start to explore potential careers and employers by undertaking work experience.
Every student will have opportunities for independent career advice and guidance meetings whenever significant study or career choices are being made, in order to support their decision making. These individual meetings are carried out by a qualified careers advisor.
The exceptionally proactive alumnae community plays a crucial part in the careers work undertaken by the school. Regularly attending events within the school such as lunches and careers forums, alumnae also mentor students in the Senior School via OP Connect, an online careers advice community enabling direct contact with over 200 mentors who advise on work experience, courses and careers. They are excellent role models and constant sources of invaluable advice and direction.
What does the world of work look like?
From the very start of their journey at St Paul’s Girls’ School, students are introduced to the careers programme, along with exploring possibilities and learning about self-awareness. The students have a series of talks about careers, hear from parent speakers and are introduced to the Unifrog careers platform, which will be used throughout their time at the school. The students begin to learn about the world of work through teachers linking curriculum learning with careers.
What are my strengths and how do these connect to the world of work?
LV students are encouraged to take part in ‘Take Your Child to Work Day’, which is an excellent experience of a workplace for the students.
During the V, students update their Unifrog profile and utilise the site to help with their GCSE choices. Students in the V undertake psychometric tests to help them identify and develop their own personal strengths and interests. This is followed by the annual V Careers Conference, which involves a morning of interactive workshops for small groups led by external professionals and alumnae from a variety of career sectors including Finance, STEM and the Arts. They also have an afternoon of workplace visits which aims to cover key career areas.
In the VI, students attend a series of ‘World of Work’ PSHE sessions during the autumn term, which also covers how to organise their own work experience and where they are given advice on CVs and cover letters. Work experience is arranged by the students for the summer following their GCSEs. The students are also able to participate in the Working Lunch Programme organised by the VII, the careers forums as well as the entrepreneurship challenge in collaboration with St Paul’s School.
The VI students have 1:1 A level subject choice meetings to discuss their future options with the Higher Education department, followed by a 1:1 personal guidance meeting with a qualified careers advisor.
What is my first step in entering the world of work?
As students enter the Senior School more personalised support aims to help each student continue to identify their individual strengths, passions and interests and to navigate the important decision-making process required for the next stage of their education and lives beyond school. This is supported with employability workshops, CV and mock interview clinics, as well as an introduction to OP Connect to enable them to find a mentor and explore alumnae career routes.
In the VII, a student led ‘Working Lunch Committee’ organises opportunities for students and parents to meet regularly to discuss work and career paths within different sectors. Recent themes have included politics, journalism, scientific research, technology, finance, the arts and global development. The students within the VII and VIII have weekly Friday lectures from guest speakers who share their career journeys.
The students are also invited to careers forums and speed networking events, as well as opportunities to learn more about the world of work including degree apprenticeship routes.
Students in the VII continue to gain work experience to support their career exploration and add to their appetite to learn about different careers.
Students in the VII and VIII are supported with a 1:1 personal guidance meeting by a qualified careers advisor.