The Careers Department is located in the Sixth Form Centre and is packed with posters, brochures, prospectuses and all kinds of Careers information. Pupils are introduced to the department in Year 10, spending one of their PSHEE periods with the Head of Careers, Mrs Louise Rapple Moore.
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 Independent Schools’ Careers Organisation’s Futurewise programme. Both involve a comprehensive profiling questionnaire, producing a detailed report and including an interview with an external careers guidance professional. In addition, all Year 11 pupils have a one-to-one interview with a member of the senior staff about their thoughts and plans for the future, so that we can make sure that they are on the right track with their sixth-form choices.
Throughout the sixth form, pupils receive a comprehensive careers education to help them make the right decisions about their future and to guide them through the various application processes required for university, apprenticeships and the workplace. In Year 12, pupils attend a weekly Careers period from January, 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 and colleges, apprenticeships, training schemes, gap years, careers in the Armed Forces and much more.
In the summer term, Year 12s take part in Futures Week, a programme of events packed with information about further education and life after Shiplake: talks and presentations from people in industry and from universities in the UK and abroad, tips and thoughts on the decisions the pupils will shortly be making, advice on personal statements and UCAS applications. This week includes a designated day for pupils to visit a university of their choice.
Towards the end of the summer term, Year 12 undertake a week of Work Experience. All Year 12 pupils spend a week working in the ‘real world’ and this can either be organised by the school, with help from the Central Berkshire Education Business Partnership, or by the parents or pupils themselves. This is an extremely valuable week for our pupils, many of whom may never have experienced a working environment or had to use public transport before. The work that the pupils experience may or may not be directly relevant to a chosen career, but it is always an invaluable experience of life in the workplace and the expectations of a working environment.
Over the summer holidays before Year 13, pupils are expected to work on their personal statements, returning with a good draft in September, which they can then re-work and improve with the help of their tutors. Year 13 Careers periods take place throughout the autumn term for those pupils completing a UCAS application, with the College’s final deadline for applications being 1st November. Pupils who are not applying to university, or who are still undecided about their futures, can then attend further Careers lessons in the spring term, concentrating on apprenticeships, job applications and CV-writing skills.