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One of the biggest challenges facing young people in society at present is finding enjoyable, stimulating and suitable employment. Competitive job markets force students to plan for the future to make certain that they fulfil all the necessary criteria for their desired role or career.

Experienced staff offer support and guidance to pupils throughout their time at Shiplake to help them make wise and informed decisions about their futures beyond school life. This includes helping them to identify a suitable career and make appropriate and successful university applications. 


The Careers Department

The Careers Department, led by Head of Careers, Mrs Louise Rapple Moore, is located in the Marjorie White Building and is packed with posters, brochures, prospectuses and all kinds of careers information.

Pupils are introduced to the department in Year 9 when they are registered with Unifrog during a PSHEE lesson, which pupils will use as they move through the school.

In Year 10 pupils have a talk about the programme in one of their PSHEE periods with the Head of Careers. They also undertake a Careers Profiling session with external companies SPW Careers and MyFutureChoice. Both involve a comprehensive profiling questionnaire, producing a detailed report and including an interview with an external careers guidance professional.

In Year 11, pupils have a Careers lesson as part of the PSHEE programme with Mrs Rapple Moore, looking at all the options available to them for the future. 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. There is also a trip to the School Leavers' Fair at Ascot, which provides options for careers and apprenticeships, as well as universities.

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 lesson throughout the spring and summer terms, 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. They spend time writing a CV and personal statement, personality testing and looking at making choices as well as coming off timetable for Futures Week. The Oxbridge programme also begins for Year 12 pupils in the spring term and this includes a visit to an Oxford College. There is a Work Experience Week at the end of Year 12.

The autumn term of Year 13 is spent helping pupils applying to university with their applications. In the spring term, Mrs Rapple Moore runs a series of lessons for pupils wishing to apply for jobs and apprenticeships, helping with application forms and making sure all pupils have a strong CV.

The Gatsby Benchmarks are a framework for careers guidance in schools. Our careers programme fulfils all eight Gatsby benchmarks, from personal guidance and addressing the needs of each pupil to encounters with higher education, employers and employees, and experiences of workplaces.

National Careers Week

National Careers Week takes place each year in March, and we mark it with a series of events. Teachers of all year groups are encouraged to spend time in each of their lessons talking about possible careers relating to their subject, and Year 12 have a day off-timetable with a series of talks and presentations from people in various industries, a chat with a selection of Old Vikings about what they are doing now, and a Speed Networking session. We also organise a visit to a local university.

Work Experience

Towards the end of the summer term, Year 12 undertake a week of Work Experience, where all Year 12 pupils spend a week working in the ‘real world’. We ask parents and/or pupils to organise this themselves but Mrs Rapple Moore is able to offer advice and tips on how to find work experience. 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.

UCAS Applications

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 early 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.

33% According to LinkedIn, approximately one third of Old Vikings go on to work in sales, marketing or communications