We use Compass+ to benchmark, manage, track and report on Lymm High’s careers programme.
Engagement with outside agencies
We feel that our engagement with employers and universities is a real strength of the school, especially for Sixth Form students. For example:
- Apprenticeship Evening: This is held in the Spring term and all students from Year 9 and above are invited to attend. Last year, we had representatives from Jacobs, Clancy, the NHS, Balfour Beatty, FGP, iSupply Training, Hearn, Lane End, Sellafield, AMS Accountants and the MOD.
- National Careers Week: This takes place in March and is aimed at both Key Stage Four and Sixth Form students. This involves various activities in tutor time and assemblies, but is centred on a week of lunchtime sessions delivered by employers and other organisations, with students choosing which ones they wish to attend. Throughout 2021–22 we had careers talks delivered by Vaultex, Jacobs, the NHS, 1010 Games, Saica and Apprentify.
- Sixth Form Futures Experiences: Our Sixth Form Futures Programme takes place during tutorial time each week. These sessions include a visit to and several talks from Universities, Apprenticeship providers and employers, to support students making decisions about their next steps.
- Post 16 Options Day – our Year 10 students take part in a Post-16 Options day in July each year, which involves the following
- Talks from local colleges – in 2022 Warrington Vale and Royal College and Priestley College delivered sessions to our students on vocational courses, T-Levels and apprenticeships they have on offer
- Mock Interviews – in 2022, 38 employers came in to deliver a mock interview to our Year 10 students. These included representatives from AstraZeneca, Barratt Homes, Network Rail, JD Sports, British Telecom, De Luxe Hotels, Niie, SpaMedica, Nike and The University of Manchester.
- Subject Careers Fair – our Year 12 students delivered a subject careers fair to support Year 10 students considering A’ level courses
- Apprenticeship Session – students were informed about apprenticeship opportunities and availability in the local area
- In 2022, we returned to being able to offer our Year 12 students a week of work experience, which typically happens in June. Students thoroughly enjoyed their placements which included working in local primary schools, shadowing a barrister, working in a veterinary practice, and working in a school in Dubai. NHS Warrington and Halton Trust and Assura also ran two virtual placement schemes for the very small number of students stayed in school.
- ‘The Sixth’ (our Sixth Form bulletin) advertises opportunities on a weekly basis; for example, taster sessions at universities or apprenticeships. This also includes current apprenticeship vacancies in the Warrington area, so students have regular access to labour market information.
- We support all of our students with interview practise, with additional support given through our Gateway Programme for those students applying for Medicine, Veterinary science and Oxbridge. Our Student Development Officers also spend a great deal of time with any potential NEET or vulnerable students assisting with career plans and getting them ready for interview.
- We also look for as many opportunities as we can to provide one-off opportunities for students to gain a better understanding of particular careers. For example, since September 2020 these have included:
- The ‘Amazing Apprenticeships’ team have been into school to give presentations to students and parents in years 9-13.
- The ‘Amazing Apprenticeships’ team have led sessions with Year 12 and Year 13 students on how to apply for an apprenticeship and also on how to structure an application.
- Year 7 students took part in a BAE Systems Roadshow that focuses on an aspect of STEM and how they use it to support the activities of the RAF and the Royal Navy.
- Professor Mike Wood ran an interactive Chernobyl event for sets 1 and 2 in maths/science Year 9 and did an optional lecture and interactive session for Year 12 – focus on scientific research and the related careers.
- Year 10 did a STEM project on dropdown day focused on engineering careers then undertook the Eggnaut Challenge.
- The Royal Navy joined Year 11 catering students for a Masterchef-style cooking competition.
- We have had a trained chef working with our Catering students, using our specially designed industry-standard kitchen to plan, cook and serve food in our school restaurant, ‘Chapters’.
- PE students regularly take part in events that further their understanding of different careers in sport. For example, they have the opportunity to complete the Community Sports Leaders Award, the Level 1 Rugby Officiating qualification and the National Pool Lifeguarding Qualification.
- During Green Careers Week (7-12 November 2022), all students learnt about Green Careers during their careers session, including Green Apprenticeships: Green Careers Week. They have also been investigating what types of Green Careers are available.
Response to Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic meant that the planned Careers programme (particularly in the Sixth Form) had to be scaled back. In 2020-21 the Year 12 work experience was on the whole cancelled. As a school we felt an obligation to provide some kind of alternative programme to part compensate from the missed work experience and sessions that had been planned in school to support it.
A virtual futures programme was put together that allowed our students to work through the job application cycle – from identifying their personal strengths and skills, compiling a CV, preparing for interview (including taking part in a mock virtual interview) and a virtual work experience. Resources on finance were also included that covered topics such as understanding a payslip, taxes and national insurance, the importance of budgeting and investing for the future. The programme was made compulsory for all Year 12 students and also offered to Year 11 students to complete as an option.
In addition, Lymm High school held their inaugural virtual careers fair in July. Facilitated by LearnLive, an online learning platform, and with the support of the Cheshire and Warrington Pledge, our local education business partnership, the event gave our students the opportunity to engage with employers and find out more about what it is like to work in their industry sector and what pathways there are into specific jobs. Running as a sequential stream of videos that were broadcast live throughout the morning students had the opportunity to engage with employers and ask questions. The careers event was open to all students in Years 10 and above with videos being available on demand for students to refer back to at a later date. Employers involved included HSBC, NHS, Kelloggs, Balfour Beatty, United Utilities and Sellafield Ltd.
Other opportunities for online learning – webinars, talks and virtual open days – were shared widely with students. Almost 70 students took part in a virtual work experience week facilitated by Young Professionals and supported by PWC, Ernst Young, Cap Gemini and Rolls Royce amongst other employers. A group of Year 10 students participated in Learning in Lockdown, an EDT led work experience project based around working in the construction industry that was backed by many leading construction companies and that led to the students being awarded the Industrial Cadets Silver Award.