Careers Department

The aims of the department are to:
  • Equip students with the knowledge and skills that they need to make realistic and informed decisions about their learning and work through a programme of careers education;

  • Provide supportive, impartial careers advice and guidance to students on the range of options available to them at times which best meet the needs of the student.


The Careers Team consists of a Head of Careers who, along with a number of staff,  is responsible for the delivery of a coherent and cohesive careers programme from year 8-14. 
The careers team co-ordinates the school’s work experience programmes and looks after the day-to-day administration of the department.

Students have the opportunity to gain work experience in both Year 12 and Year 13 and enterprise activities are run across all year groups.

All students have access to impartial careers advice from staff and our partners in the Careers Advisory Service. In Year 12 all students have an individual interview with the DEL officer on post 16 options.

We greatly value our links with parents and we attend a number of parents’ evenings throughout the year.
Parents can also contact us during the school day to discuss courses or careers that are of interest to their son or daughter.
Students from any year group who would like to discuss their career and learning choices can make an individual appointment with a school careers adviser or an independent careers adviser by calling into the careers suite. Form tutors and other pastoral staff can also refer individual pupils at times when it is felt that they will particularly benefit from one-to-one careers advice.

All Year 12 students are encouraged to take up face-to-face advice and guidance from a careers adviser to help them explore a variety of education and career options and draw up an individual careers action plan to help them make a successful transition to post-16 learning.

During their time in the sixth form students are also encouraged to arrange at least one face-to-face appointment with a careers adviser during their free periods. Students can also have follow up appointments or ongoing contact through careers classes. Parents are very welcome to attend appointments or to contact the careers department.
Some useful websites to assist with careers information

Information about career planning tools, how to get a job, careers events, education and training and how to contact the Careers Service Northern Ireland.

Inspirational video clips of people who have experience of working in a variety of jobs.

Short films and current news articles covering a wide range of careers.

Information and advice for 16-24 year olds including subject choices, work experience, sponsored degrees, school leaver schemes, gap years and student finance.

A comprehensive guide to careers, education and student life including a useful student calculator to help budget for university.
Careers Information in Specific Employment Sectors
The information service for careers in the NHS in England.
Find out more about the 350 careers in the NHS and register for a free careers welcome pack.
An inspirational website for aspiring medics produced by St George’s University of London.
Comprehensive information on applying to medical school.
The British Medical Association produces an annual guide to becoming a doctor, which lists the entry requirements of each medical school.. Visit the ‘developing your career’ section.
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons guides to becoming a vet or vet nurse can be found in the education section of the website.
Includes advice for aspiring vets on getting into vet school and links to animal related websites.
The British Dental Association website contains topical issues related to dentistry.
The British Psychological Society website has a helpful section on careers and accredited courses.
An inspiring website for those interested in science, technology, engineering and maths.
Go Cracker contains information and news for young people about science technology and engineering subjects, industry sectors, apprenticeships, universities and employers.
Information on aerospace career pathways and entry routes as well as details of competitions, scholarships, vacancy news and events. Register to receive the free newsletter and join the aviation skills network for free advice.
Information and free advice from industry experts on careers in the construction.
Information on the range of exciting opportunities in chemical, biochemical and process engineering career. Register to receive the free newsletter and details of events.
The Chemnet section of the Royal Society of Chemistry website contains careers information and support aimed at 14-18 chemistry students.
The Institute of Physics site contains careers information and resources for students.
Inspiration for how to make a difference with a career in biology.
Bright Crop aims to inspire young people to explore the many careers in farming and food supply.
Information and case studies about the many different careers working with plants.
A site for young people from age 11 upwards interested in courses and careers related to maths.
Digital careers website for 14 to 19 year olds.
The Financial Skills Partnership website contains extensive information on career opportunities in the finance sector.
The national information resource on careers with languages.
Information careers in law. Start by downloading the Beginners Guide.
The University of Law’s Future Lawyers Network for aspiring and current law students.
Provides information on the range of career choices n the world of property and puts you in touch with people who can help you get started.
The website of the Royal Institute of British Architects has a useful careers section. Download the Think Architecture booklet for information on becoming an architect.
Information, and resources to help develop careers in the creative and cultural sector.
Learn more about working in the music business.
Learn more about working in the design industry.
Learn more about working in cultural heritage.
Learn more about working in the theatre.
The student advice pages offer advice on training and careers within the theatre, media and broadcast industries.
A guide to education and career opportunities in the creative industries.
The UK professional body for those with an interest in sport and exercise science. Download the Career Guide for information on courses and careers in sport.
Career profiles and opportunities in the world of sport. Sign up for the free newsletter to keep up to date with careers advice and jobs.
Getting Started
The majority of our students aim to go to university in the UK and, as there are thousands of courses at hundreds of different universities, it is important to start researching well in advance of making an application. Students are advised to supplement their on-line research by attending carefully selected university open days or taster courses.

UCAS, the official site for all UK universities and colleges offering higher education courses, is a good starting point for course research. The site offers guidance on choosing the right course and has links to the websites of all the higher education providers. Applications are made on-line through UCAS Apply and there is a step by step guide on how to apply and track an application. There is information for parents on how to support students to research and apply for courses and the option to sign up for regular newsletters.

University prospectuses can be viewed on-line and there is usually the option to request a hard copy from the university. Current prospectuses are also kept in the careers library.
Entry Requirements
When choosing suitable courses it is important to understand the UCAS tariff system which for AS and A2 is as follows:
 AS   A2   
      A*   140 UCAS Points 
60 UCAS Points    A   120 UCAS Points 
50 UCAS Points   B 100 UCAS Points  
C 40 UCAS Points  C 80 UCAS Points 
D 30 UCAS Points  D 60 UCAS Points 
E 20 UCAS Points  E 40 UCAS Points 
The AS points only apply to those subjects which are not being continued to A2 level as they are included in the final A2 grade if the subject is continued beyond AS.

In addition to A level entry requirements students should check well in advance of their application whether they will need to fulfill additional requirements. For example many medical and dental schools require applicants to take the UK Clinical Aptitude Test or Biomedical Admissions Test as part of the admissions procedure; Oxford, Cambridge and an increasing number of other universities have their own admissions tests for specified subjects; some law schools require students to take the National Admissions Test for Law; students applying for music and performing arts courses may need to prepare for auditions; and those applying for art and design related courses may be asked to email a mini portfolio shortly after submitting their application as well as providing a full portfolio of work if they are selected for interview.
In order to make the right choices students should expect to do a considerable amount of individual research as each student will have a different set of criteria when finding the right course for them as an individual. It is important to start by considering what these criteria are by asking questions such as:
  • Which subjects really interest me?
  • What are my talents?
  • What grades will I realistically achieve?
  • Would I like to combine subjects or concentrate on just one?
  • Would I like some experience in the workplace as part of my course?
  • Would I like to study abroad as part of my course?
  • Would I like a vocational course to prepare me for a particular career?
  • How would I like to be assessed – exams, coursework, practicals?
  • Do I want to live close to home, a different part of the country or go abroad?
  • Do I want to live on a campus, in a big city or a rural location?
  • How much will it cost - tuition fees, accommodation, living expenses, travel?
  • Which universities are good for my subject?
  • What are the facilities like?
  • Is there a good range of clubs, societies, social events?
  • What are my career goals?
Only after considering these sorts of questions to establish the criteria on which the choice is being made can a student start to find the right course at the right university for them - one where they will be happy and successful. There is no single university that is "best" for everyone.
We hope our students will talk through their ideas with family, friends, teachers, careers advisers and university admissions tutors, remembering that not all the information they receive will be impartial, before weighing up the evidence and making their decisions.


The personal statement is an opportunity to tell universities about your suitability for your chosen course. It is important to provide evidence of enthusiasm and commitment, and demonstrate how you stand out from other applicants. Students begin work on personal statements during the lower 6th and receive on-going support from tutors.  The UCAS website also contains advice and information including a useful timeline, mindmap and worksheets designed to help students through this process.
Information on the latest position regarding tuition fees, grants and loans is provided by Student Finance England .  Bursaries and scholarships are also available from universities and other organisations such as charities and businesses for students who meet specific criteria.  Details of university funded bursaries and scholarships are available on individual university websites and The Scholarship Hub contains a useful database of scholarships based on a range of eligibility criteria such as academic merit, financial need and special skills.
Guides to student finance for both full-time and part-time students are produced by Martin Lewis together with Universities UK and can be downloaded from the MoneySavingExpert website. Tuition fee loans, but not maintenance loans, are now available for students studying part-time for an undergraduate degree.  Details of course fees and ways to pay for an Open University qualification are shown on the OU website.
A number of companies offer sponsored degrees which involve a combination of study and periods of employment with the company. There is no official register of these and they are generally displayed on individual company websites.  Details of many current schemes are available in the careers library and on Student Ladder . 
Sponsored degrees can be a very attractive option for those who know what career they would like to pursue as they often provide full degree funding, work experience, a salary and a graduate role on completion.  However they do not provide the same sort of experience as full time university study.  
Applications are usually made directly to the company rather than through UCAS so students can apply for these schemes in addition to their five UCAS choices.  The application procedure will often involve online-tests, assessment centres and interviews.
Students are advised to regularly check individual university websites for the most up-to-date information on courses and entry requirements.  The following websites are useful sources of information for students as they progress through the process of researching choices and making an application.  There are also some excellent subject specific websites listed in the Careers Information section of our website.
Search for university degree course and find the right degree course that's perfect for you in every way by using our uk course finder for university degree course.
University Rankings
The official universities and colleges admissions website. A massive site to keep coming back to. Students use Apply and Track to make their online applications and monitor progress.
A questionnaire to help identify courses linked to a student’s interests and ability.
This graduate website is also a fantastic resource for 6th form students considering university courses. Start with the options with your subject section to research the type of careers that different degrees can lead on to.
An independent site from Which? to help students make informed choices. You can refine searches by subject, location, interests etc and it includes data on eg.graduate salaries, number of applicants receiving offers and much more.
Includes information on university choices and applications, league tables, student finance and examples of personal statements.
A comprehensive university search site with the option to sign up for monthly newsletters.
An independent site which demonstrates the links between what people study and their jobs and earnings afterwards.
Independent UK university league tables and advice on university and subject choices.
The official website for comparing higher education and courses.
Provides a quick way to order printed prospectuses or view on-line versions.
A calendar of university open days.
A database of university taster days.
Details of residential taster courses in, science technology, maths and engineering subjects.
Free online courses from leading UK and international universities.
Information about tuition fees and student finance.
A 6th Formers Guide explaining how student finance works.
The NHS business services authority site includes details of the NHS Student Bursary Scheme which is available to eligible students on some healthcare related degree courses.
Search for UK scholarships, grants or bursaries today on this comprehensive database.
University guides written by students.
Independent guide to UK universities, open days, gap years student life & finance.
The Student Room is where students can ask other students for advice.
Details of the UK Clinical Aptitude Test for admission to some dental and medical schools.
Details of the Biomedical Admissions Test required for some medical, biomedical and veterinary courses and other admissions tests for specified courses at several universities.
Details of the national admissions test required by some law schools.
Includes podcasts of university lecturers speaking on topics related to the A level curriculum and information on careers related to subject areas.
Advice for parents on the range of post 18 options.
Guidance from the Russell Group of UK universities aimed at year 11 students making appropriate post-16 subject choices for a wide variety of university courses.
A comprehensive university comparison site, offering students resources, tools, student discounts and university stats and rankings.

A website which tells you everything you need to know about Clearing and Adjustment and offers an app which allows you to speak to universities directly.

Although the majority of our students move on to full time university courses we are keen that they consider the full range of options before making a decision.  A growing number of employers offer high quality school leaver schemes, sponsored degrees and apprenticeships, and students who are interested in exploring these opportunities are offered on-going support from our careers advisers.  Some students decide to keep their options open by applying for employment as well as university or college and then make their decisions once offers have been received.
Students who do not know what type of career they would like to go into are encouraged to spend time carefully considering their own skills and interests and exploring different careers using the wide range of Careers Information which is available on-line and in the careers library. Once students have begun to narrow down their choices they are supported to explore their ideas in more depth through work experience, industry insight days and discussions with professionals who work in their chosen career area.
Our careers programme includes job search techniques, employability skills, preparation of CVs and covering letters and opportunities for practice interviews.  In addition students can access individual advice and guidance on all aspects of the recruitment and selection procedure such as on-line applications, psychometric tests and assessment centres at the time when they require support.
Our careers advisers are well informed about apprenticeships and school leaver training schemes and we keep abreast with job market information locally and nationally.  The careers department is regularly notified of school leaver opportunities in local and national companies and students can get details of the current vacancies which we are aware of from the careers library and job vacancy notice board located in the Sixth Form Study.
Apprenticeships take between one and four years to complete and cover well over 1000 job roles across all the employment sectors in areas such as design, IT and healthcare as well as business and engineering related roles.  Apprentices earn a wage which is paid by the employer and learn job specific skills alongside study for nationally recognised qualifications.  There are 3 entry levels – intermediate, advanced and higher apprenticeships.  Some higher apprenticeships offer the opportunity to study for a foundation degree and the possibility of progression to an honours degree.  Information on the different types and levels of apprenticeships can be found on the Apprenticeships website which also has a vacancy search facility.
School Leaver Training Schemes which are separate from the National Apprenticeship Service are also offered by a wide variety of employers.  They usually involve part-time study for a degree or professional qualifications through day release or block release alongside paid employment and on-the job training. There is no central register of these schemes but they are often advertised on a company’s own website and on some of the websites listed below.  There is strong competition for these schemes but those students who have allowed sufficient time to build up evidence to demonstrate the skills and enthusiasm that the employers are looking for have often gained offers of employment.
Self-employment requires a good business idea, as well as the skills and knowledge to run your own business and a source of finance to cover start up costs. Students interested in this pathway are strongly encouraged to develop their business acumen through participation in the enterprise activities offered in school as well as external events and competitions.  Shell LiveWIRE provides free advice and support to young entrepreneurs aged between 16 and 30 who are starting or running their own business and the Princes Trust offers business start-up advice through its enterprise programme. More information is available from the National Careers Service including practical advice from webinars.
Information on over 750 job profiles, advice on job hunting, starting up your own business and regional job market information provided by the Local Enterprise Partnerships. This looks at the situation in England.
Information about career planning tools, how to get a job, careers events, education and training and how to contact the Careers Service Northern Ireland.
Information on all types of apprenticeships. Register to search and apply for vacancies.
Advice and vacancy information for school leavers on school leaver programmes, apprenticeships, sponsored degrees, gap year activities and distance learning.
Includes an extensive list of school leaver programmes and internship opportunities.
Details of a range of current apprenticeships, training schemes and courses for young people.
Advice, jobs and career information for students interested in school leaver schemes.
Subscribe to the newsletter and magazine for information on apprenticeships and school leaver programmes.
Universal Jobmatch is the Government website where you can search and apply for full and part time jobs.
Employment4Students contains a wide range of holiday and gap year jobs, part time work, internships and graduate opportunities.
Provides tips on writing your CV, finding a job and handling interviews.
Information service for careers in the NHS in England. Register to make the most of the NHS vacancy search
Information on careers in the finance sector. Register to be kept up to date with job and work experience opportunities.
Information on courses from South West College. Details about the Technology and Skills Centre
The rise in UK tuition fees has led to an increased interest in studying abroad, though it is important to carefully consider the full implications of this route for each individual student. Students need to allow plenty of time to thoroughly research institutions and the courses they offer as well as application procedures and possible sources of funding.
Issues with funding vary according to each country, with some tuition fees being lower and some higher than the UK.  In Scandinavian countries there are no tuition fees whereas in the USA average annual tuition fees for private universities are in the region of US $27,000.  However, US universities do offer a wide range of scholarships and bursaries based on sporting or artistic excellence, academic merit and family income.   There are no student loans from the UK government for students studying abroad, and for financial support students need to approach the appropriate agency in the country they are considering. To find out more about financial support in EU countries visit the Your Europe website.
It is recommended that students check what status the qualification offered by an overseas university has in the UK.  This can be researched on the UK NARIC website. Recognition of the qualification is especially important for careers where it is needed in order to practice such as law and medicine, and additional checks should be made with  the relevant professional body in the country where you intend to work.
The vast majority of our students apply to UK universities through the ucas system but we feel that it is important for students to be informed about the range of options and some students may choose to apply to institutions overseas either in addition to, or as and alternative to, universities within the UK.
The following websites and organisations are useful starting points for your research:
An organisation providing information about international university education specifically designed to answer the questions that British students have when thinking about studying abroad. The degree courses listed on this site are taught in English.
Helps students to make an educated choice about universities abroad.
Advice for students worldwide who are considering studying abroad for an international education.
World university rankings, course guides and study abroad information for students and parents.
The Central Applications Office for higher education institutions in the Republic of Ireland. Information on courses, application procedure etc. There are currently no tuition fees for EU citizens though there is an annual student services fee. Students are not eligible for a UK student loan. Students applying for medicine or veterinary courses could consider increasing their chances of success by applying to an Irish university in addition to their ucas application. Click here for a useful download of the medical school application procedure. To achieve the points score required for entry UK students are advised to take 4 A2s. Students also need to register for the HPAT admissions aptitude test.
This website is a "one stop shop" for all HE provision in Ireland.
The US-UK Fulbright Commision is the official source of information on applying to US universities from the UK. They hold regular information events including the annual US College Day in London where students and parents can meet representatives from US universities. Choosing the right university requires considerable research as there are 4000 state-funded and private universities. Studying in the US is more expensive than the UK but there are more opportunities for bursaries and scholarships and students need to allow plenty of time to research these.
This is a commercial organisation which guarantee to find courses and scholarships for students applying to US universities. They work with a consortium of 120 US universities who are trying to attract more international students.
Harvard College has a UK website for potential British applicants which includes details of the SATs tests, financial aid etc. Bursaries are based on need not merit to enable Havard to attract top applicants regardless of financial background.
Maastrich University is an internationally orientated institution in the Netherlands with 45% of its students from abroad. Most courses are taught in English and there is a strong problem based learning approach. Annual tuition fees are much lower than the UK.

Websites relating to studying in Europe:
ETH Zurich and other Swiss Universities.
Information on Canadian universities.
An international students guide to studying in Australia.
A large number of UK universities participate in the Erasmus scheme which offers students studying at UK universities the opportunity to study in another European country for part of their degree course.

We cannot overstress the importance of thorough research before embarking on a course of study abroad and it is essential that students allow themselves plenty of time to consider their options. There are a number of excellent resources in the Careers Library including the Study Abroad Guide for school leavers published by in association with The Irish Times. This guide is focused on providing details of degree programmes, taught through English in Western Europe, together with opportunities to study medicine, dentistry and veterinary science in Eastern Europe.
A gap year involves taking time out of formal education or employment to do something that will add to your skills and experience. It is very important to weigh up the pros and cons of a gap year in relation to your own circumstances. You will need to think carefully about the location, duration and type of activities that interest you and then consider factors such as cost, the levels of support you require and the sustainability of any projects you become involved in. One of the most important considerations during a gap year abroad is your safety, and personal insurance covering both health and belongings is essential. We have a selection of guides in the careers library covering all aspects of preparing for a gap year.
If you are planning a gap year before going to university you will need to check with admissions tutors that entry can be deferred. If you are planning to go to university when you return but have not secured a place it is important to be aware of application deadlines, the need to supply references and the possibility of interviews. During your gap year it is useful to record and reflect on what you have learnt by keeping a diary or online travelogue as a future interviewer may well ask you what you gained from your year out.
The Year Out Group represents over 35 gap year organisations which provide a wide range of organised gap year programmes in over 90 countries and which are required to adhere to the Group’s Code of Practice and Member’s Charter. Before embarking on this type of organised gap year programme we recommend that you ask to be put in touch with a previous ‘gapper’ who has recently returned from the same placement with the same company. The AV Gap Year Guide contains information on the benefits a year out can bring and how you can make the most of it. An organised gap year abroad can be expensive and if you are planning to work as a volunteer we have a number of fundraising suggestions in the careers library or for more ideas check out the A to Z of Fundraising Ideas and other money matters on
Some of the best gap years involve very little expenditure. If you want to take a year out earning money to finance higher education you will find a wide range of job opportunities atEmployment4students.

Those who are aiming for a career that requires relevant work experience may find suitable opportunities volunteering with CSV. The Year in Industry arranges high–quality paid placements for students in their gap year before or during a degree course. Their focus is on engineering, science and general business placements, and university admissions tutors are often impressed by students who participate on this scheme.
The following websites contain information on a wide variety of gap year options

Very comprehensive information and ideas to help you plan your gap year including helpful blogs and chat areas, fundraising tips, overseas jobs etc etc

Includes a step by step guide to planning and choosing a gap year as well as advice on safety, health, money and the many other things to consider

Information and advice with links to numerous organisations for work, study and volunteer placements in the UK and overseas. Produces the annual Gap Year Guidebook

Information and advice on taking a gap year and finding paid work or volunteering abroad

The International Citizen Service is a Government funded development programme of overseas volunteering opportunities for 18-25 year olds

Search by postcode and type of work for local, national and overseas volunteering opportunities

Volunteering England is an independent charity committed to supporting and enabling volunteering

Database of 300,000 worldwide volunteering opportunities which can be matched with an individual’s availability and experience

Information on volunteering and training opportunities in the UK

Vinspired is a charity which connects 16-25 year olds with volunteering opportunities in England

Volunteering opportunities for young people at Harrogate Hospital

The Engineering Development Trust’s Year in Industry scheme offers high quality paid placements in engineering, science, IT, finance and logistics

A specialist company offering healthcare related work experience placements abroad

A UK based volunteering organisation offering gap year opportunities in Asia, Africa and America

BUNAC organises US summer camps and many other paid and volunteering programmes abroad

Gap year travel advice for students visiting Australia

Details of part time jobs, temporary jobs, holiday jobs and internships for students

The government website includes a range of links to search for volunteering information and placements

Current advice from the Foreign Office about foreign travel





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