Turning Futures Around
 

Careers at Chiltern Way Academy:

 

Our current careers programme at Chiltern Way Academy is undertaking a shift with one member of staff having already finished the CDI Certificate in Careers Leadership and another having completed the non-accredited route. Our planned format takes more account of pupils’ exposure to the world of work from year 7, building through Key Stage 3 and into Key Stage 4 where we have a regular work experience slot in year 10. More account is taken of the likes, dislikes and preferences of students during their time with us. We are also very mindful that what may be extremely interesting one day may not be the next! Further opportunities for work experience placements and ‘taster days’ at colleges are offered during year 11 where possible and appropriate. In Post 16 education every available opportunity is found to be able to facilitate a successful transition into the world of work, whether it is through full time apprenticeships or offering a taste of success and earning their own money. We currently have three members of staff across catering, facilities and IT that are ex-pupils who served an apprenticeship in the relevant departments and are now full-time.

 

We also have some of our current Post 16 working as cleaners in the school, not only as a job in its own right for which they will be paid, but also as a way of having ownership and pride in their environment. We have excellent links with external partners such as farms that offer opportunities for land-based studies and some rarer skills such as butchery, as well as more usual links with garages for post 16 work experience and also to undertake IMI qualifications. Enterprise is a developing area within careers where projects follow a business model with profits from sales being used to ensure sustainability and to ‘pay’ participants in the form of vouchers. Unfortunately due to current circumstances we have been unable to take up our offered stall at Waddesdon Manor for craft fayres. We have also raised our profile in the community during Covid through making ourselves available to undertake small tasks such as collecting prescriptions, shopping for local residents, dog walking, garden tidying etc.

 

These are all life skills that pupils in our SEND setting need, as well as opening ourselves to greater opportunities in the area. The soft skills that our pupils often lack due to their barriers to learning are as much of a learning need, if not a greater need, than placements and career paths and the work we do in these areas is vital to their long term success. We encourage outside speakers and career activities, which currently has had to be offered in an online and video format. Information about careers in the construction industry, mechanics and auto industry and catering are ongoing, supported by a team of teachers whose careers started in those industries. Clear pathways are discussed over time with our students, often in a drip feed fashion and with exceptional understanding of each individual to ensure their long term success. Parents and carers are kept up to date and informed as thoroughly as possible about labour market information through our regular newsletters, as well as regular contact from form tutors.