North East Connected

Careers opportunities looking great at Excelsior

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 14.40.05A Newcastle school is delivering careers guidance to every pupil aged three to 19 as part of a pioneering pilot scheme which could shape national education policy.

Excelsior Academy welcomed employers to its latest careers fair opening up a host of opportunities that exist for its pupils in the world of work.

And youngsters in Excelsior Primary took the chance to dress up in the costume of the job they would like to do to welcome Ryan Gibson from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

As the national facilitator for the Careers Benchmarks pilot, he visited Excelsior Academy to see for himself how the school is putting into practice the vision for better school careers detailed in the Gatsby Foundation’s Good Career Guidance report.

The North East LEP is leading the implementation of the career benchmarks, funded by Lord Sainsbury’s Gatsby Foundation as part of a four-year national pilot running in the North East to test eight benchmarks of good career guidance.

Excelsior Academy is one of 16 North East schools and colleges selected to test how the benchmarks can be implemented. It will help identify any barriers to supporting young people make more informed decisions about their future study and employment, and ensure that pupils are better equipped with the skills employers need.

The programme’s findings could be rolled out across the country at the end of the pilot project.

Every pupil aged 11-19 had the chance for meaningful conversations with 25 employers such as Home Group, Trinity Solutions, St John’s Ambulance, the Army and the Navy, in a Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) event in the school’s main sports hall.

Running alongside the event, staff in every curriculum area across the school from three to 19 prepared and delivered lessons underpinning a careers theme, proactively meeting some of the Gatsby Foundation’s benchmarks.

The CEIAG event is helping embed careers provision into the school curriculum.

The sixth form Excelsior College is partnering with employers such as Galliford Try, Jury’s Inn and Ernst and Young to give young people valuable experience of the work environment.

Claire Goodwill, Excelsior College Principal, said: “In September all Excelsior College students studying a vocational subject will have the opportunity to take part in meaningful and purposeful work experience linked to the course they are studying.

“It is our ambition to make our students ‘work ready and employable’ when they finish their studies. Part of this initiative is to build one day per week work placement into their timetable.

“With over 250 students in the college this is an ambitious vision and such is its importance that we have recently appointed Lynne Barber as work experience co-ordinator.

“Having a dedicated full-time member of staff to lead on this initiative and the backing of local employers will really be the key to its success.”

Ryan said: “Excelsior is making really good progress against the eight benchmarks of good career guidance.

“By introducing these benchmarks at primary level, every student has been able to think about their future.”

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