NWSLC Careers Strategy and the Gatsby Benchmarks
The Careers Strategy is part of the government’s plan to make Britain fairer, improve social mobility and offer opportunity to everyone. As part of the strategy, that all FE providers must comply with, the Gatsby Benchmarks were created as a framework of 8 guidelines that define the best careers provision in schools and colleges. The Careers Strategy is built around them. NWSLC is now assessed as meeting 100% of all the benchmarks.
Benchmark 1 – A STABLE CAREERS PROGRAMME
The NWSLC careers programme combines tutorials with employability coaches, national and international competitions, employer talks in college, targeted careers festivals, visits to relevant workplaces, and trips to and visits from higher education providers. The College Careers Calendar shows how the programme fits into the academic year. In addition to this every student has the opportunity to meet with a fully qualified careers adviser from the Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) team for one to one guidance. The careers programme ensures the successful progression of each student.
Benchmark 2 – LEARNING FROM CAREER & LABOUR MARKET INFORMATION (LMI)
NWSLC students’ encounters with local employers through college presentations, visits to local workplaces, and advice and guidance from tutors who are industry professionals in their field contribute to increasing students’ knowledge of the national and local labour market. Additionally the LMI section of our website provides local and national LMI data to help students make informed decisions on their options.
Benchmark 3 – ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF EACH LEARNER
NWSLC prioritise careers advice and guidance for our most vulnerable students. Children Looked After have at least one guidance interview every academic year looking at both long and short term goals. All students with Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) who often have moderate to severe learning difficulties are also prioritised for support from the IAG team. Careers advisers always adjust their approach to each student.
Benchmark 4 – LINKING CURRICULUM LEARNING TO CAREERS
All students at the college are taught by industry professionals. The nature of a further education college means that most students are being trained in industry standard facilities using equipment and tools you would find in the workplace. All students focus on one subject area. They are able to gain great working knowledge in a particular sector and have a great understanding of the career options available to them when they leave.
Benchmark 5 – ENCOUNTERS WITH EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES
There is a great focus on the importance on gaining an industry placement. Gaining at least forty five hours of relevant work experience increases the opportunities after finishing a course. Employability Coaches and a dedicated team of Work Placement Coordinators have links with local employers to help students to do this. Additionally curriculum arrange visits from relevant local employers and the IAG team organise careers festivals that target particular subjects. The ‘What Career Live’ event is attended by all level 1 students providing an opportunity to meet with the UKs top employers and increase aspiration for future careers and learning.
Benchmark 6 – EXPERIENCES OF WORKPLACES
All curriculum areas organise bespoke trips to employers that are relevant to their subject. For example IT students have visited Jaguar Land Rover to see how programming impacts on automation. Public Services students work with relevant employers to offer an insight into different roles for example riot training with Leicestershire Police.
Benchmark 7 – ENCOUNTERS WITH FURTHER AND HIGHER EDUCATION
The IAG team organise annual higher education fairs at Nuneaton, Hinckley and Wigston. Each of these are attended by approximately twenty providers. All students at all levels are encouraged to attend these events. In September all level 3 second year students are assisted by the IAG team to create a UCAS account and apply to study in higher education. Advice on the application process and best practice for writing a UCAS personal statement is provided through one to one and group sessions. All level 3 first year students attend workshops from local higher education providers to increase aspiration to study at degree level.
Benchmark 8 – PERSONAL GUIDANCE
Access to a fully qualified (level 6) careers adviser is available to all students at all campuses. Over 1500 students have a one to one interaction with the guidance team each year. The service is of high quality and accredited by the MATRIX standard. All careers advisers practice in line with the Career Development Institute Code of Ethics. The service is free, confidential, impartial, and transparent. It is delivered by knowledgeable staff who help students to make informed decisions on all the options available to them.