Life beyond Eltham College is full of exciting new challenges. Which is why our innovative career learning programme is designed to help young people learn about themselves, as well as the wide range of opportunities available to them. Our aim is to ensure students are independent thinkers, who can build their own knowledge about careers and make well-informed choices about their future, whatever path they choose.
Inevitably, the majority of our students go on to higher education, many to Oxbridge, Russell Group and high tariff UK universities, as well as to the US and other global elite educational institutions. That said, unsurprisingly there is an increasing interest in Higher and Degree Apprenticeships, and we actively promote these opportunities, inviting speakers from organisations such as ASK to deliver talks to students and parents alike.
We take a whole school, strategic approach to our career learning programme, adopting the principles laid out by the government’s recommended Gatsby benchmarks of good career guidance. This means that Eltham College students benefit from the very best careers provision, and are well prepared for their future beyond school.
Alongside employer and alumni engagement, skills workshops and talks delivered by HE providers, additional support includes the opportunity to complete the online Morrisby test in Year 9 to help with GCSE option choices. This is then followed by the full psychometric assessment in Year 10. By measuring students’ skills, and evaluating their interests and aspirations, the detailed results provide personalised further study and career options, together with comprehensive resources to enable further research. We revisit the platform again in Lower Sixth Form to help students focus on their post-18 choices.
In Year 11, students benefit from career learning sessions as part of the supra-curriculum, together with a 30-minute, one-to-one careers guidance interview with a qualified careers advisor. They are also given access to Unifrog, an excellent online tool providing a one-stop-shop where students can explore their interests, then find, and ultimately apply for, either university or an apprenticeship during Upper Sixth Form.
While some young people will have a clear idea about their future pathway, many others will be unsure. Throughout Sixth Form, students are guided through their post-18 options and the UCAS application process. As well as advice and guidance about CV and personal statement writing, our focus is on equipping young people with the skills they need to make the right choices for their future. And with our careers centre at the very heart of the new Sixth Form Tuberville Building, students have ready access to all the resources and advice they need, including drop-in sessions with our professionally qualified Head of Careers and Oxbridge.
With universities and apprenticeship providers placing increasing value on the acquisition of employability skills, we launched our new Lower Sixth Form work experience programme in May 2019. Providing students with the opportunity to secure a one or two week placement with an employer, the programme enables them to develop invaluable transferrable skills, and perhaps test-drive a potential future career, prior to submitting their post-18 applications.
Morrisby psychometric test
While some students will have completed the Morrisby test in earlier years, we recognise that it is not available to many external students in their previous schools. We therefore provide the opportunity for Lower Sixth Form to complete the full psychometric test at the beginning of the academic year. The comprehensive assessment measures a student’s skills, and evaluates their interests and aspirations, producing detailed personalised results which include further study and career suggestions. Additionally Morrisby provide a dedicated assessment tool for post-18 options, which students complete later in the year to help them with their future choices.
We recognise the value of taking a gap year, and actively support those students who wish to do so. Talks from gap year providers, such as Oyster Worldwide, form part of our preparedness programme, and we invite gap year students to return to school for help and advice with their UCAS application, and to apply as part of the school cohort. We also provide them with a login for Unifrog during their gap year.
Alumni engagement and mentoring
Our career learning programme benefits significantly from the amazing support of our Elthamians community, with OEs providing students with invaluable work experience placements and internships, as well as careers talks and networking opportunities. We also have a mentor programme, ‘Elthamentors’, which encourages current Sixth Form students to engage with OEs, who will inspire and motivate their mentee, providing additional support and advice in relation to university applications and future career choices.