The Careers department, located in the Stable Yard, is a bright and welcoming department packed with posters, brochures, prospectuses and all kinds of careers information. Pupils are introduced to the department in Year 10, spending one of their PSHE periods with the Head of Careers, Dr Bob Snellgrove.

In Year 11, all pupils are invited to take part in a Careers Profiling programme, with a choice between Cambridge Occupational Analysts’ Preview programme, or the Futurewise programme run by Independent Schools Careers Organisation. Both involve a comprehensive profiling questionnaire, producing a detailed report and including an external interview with a careers guidance professional.

In Year 12, pupils attend a weekly Careers period from January onwards, giving them a wealth of information about all the options available to them after leaving school. The department has lots of up-to-the-minute literature and information on universities, colleges, apprenticeships, training schemes, gap years, careers in the Armed Forces and much more. In Year 13 pupils attend Careers lessons throughout the Autumn Term, while they are completing their UCAS applications which are usually submitted in the second half of term.

In the Summer Term each year, all Year 12 pupils take part in Work Experience Week. After completing AS exams, pupils spend a week working in the ‘real world’. Placements can be organised by the Careers department, parents or pupils themselves. This is an extremely valuable week for our pupils, many of whom may never have experienced a working environment. The work that pupils experience may or may not be directly relevant to their chosen career, but it is always an invaluable experience. Additionally, many other useful practical skills are developed such as mastering the public transport system!

Following Work Experience Week, the Year 12s take part in Higher Education Week, which is filled with information about further education and life after Shiplake. Activities include presentations from people in industry and from universities in the UK and abroad, tips on the decisions pupils will shortly be making, advice on personal statements and information about the UCAS application process. This week always includes a day-trip to a University in the south of England, usually Reading or Oxford Brookes.