Careers Guidance — Solihull Sixth Form College

Careers Guidance

The College provides excellent information, advice and guidance to young people from their first point of contact with us as they explore their post 16 study options right through to the completion of their studies and their future career paths.

There is a comprehensive careers and employability programme which is evaluated in a variety of ways including feedback from students and parents/carers. The College first achieved the Career Mark Bronze Award in 2015 and has progressed to the Gold Award in 2019. We are delighted to have retained the national Quality in Careers standard using the Career Mark approach provided by Complete Careers and following a recent assessment (in 2023) that status remains in place for another two years.

Meet the Team

Careers Leader – Assistant Principal Trevor Irving
Careers Adviser – Mary Cunningham
Careers Adviser – Elpida Baka
The Careers and employability team can be contacted at [email protected] or 0121 704 2581.

The team deliver individual advice and guidance to students via 1-1 guidance, specialist workshops, CV support, university applications support and maintain and develop links with employers and higher education institutions. A member of the teaching staff leads on careers and employability related curriculum initiatives. Every BTEC student will follow a work experience programme and support is available to A level students in finding placements through links with employers and voluntary organisations.

See our Careers Policy

(Next review of Careers information will be Autumn 2024.)

The College’s intranet Moodle has information and advice for students to complement the individual advice. In addition, the College has well established links with universities and employers that are able to offer a range of opportunities form work experience, on site visits, taster sessions and 1-1s.

Please see our Provider Access policy

Post-16 Pathway Providers – Solihull and the Local Area

Careers and employability are also embedded into the Academic Coaching programme which all students follow, and through curriculum areas through a varied programme of delivered sessions, subject themes and incorporating trips and visits and enrichment events. All curriculum areas report on the progress they are making to develop careers and employability opportunities. The coaching programme can be reviewed here and works towards the 8 Gatsby Benchmarks and the CDI New Career Development Framework. Evaluation and impact of the Programme is reviewed annually by the annual Student Voice and Parent Survey processes. Our work towards the Career Mark has also enabled the College to measure and assess the impact of our Careers programme. Our Destination Report for 2021 (the 2022 Destination Report will be available in the Spring Term 2023) also provides a useful insight into the effectiveness of our Careers programme.

More information about how we positively impact students’ future careers can be found in the Career Impact Guide.

Careers and Higher Education Fair 2023

Every year a Careers Fair takes place in the Summer Term. The Careers Fair is one of the biggest of its kind in the country and the 2023 event saw more than 70 Higher Education, Apprenticeship and Employment providers attend. Staff from the visiting institutions set up stands in the College Sports Hall to hand out prospectus and talk to our Year 12 students, offering advice on the courses they offer and their options once they finish their A level or BTEC studies. Among the universities present were local providers Aston, Birmingham, Birmingham City, Newman, Coventry and Wolverhampton Universities. Many prestigious Russell Group universities were present from further afield too, including Exeter, Leicester, Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Warwick.

Apprenticeship providers Skills for Success, Solihull Council and ASK Apprenticeships were present to talk to those students who are considering progression routes other than university. Among the employers in attendance were KPMG, Metro Bank, WPR Agency, the Royal Navy and the RAF.

A programme of more than 25 talks were also taking place. Students booked places on these talks in advance and they included many curriculum area talks such as Chemistry, Economics, English, History, Geography & Geology, IT, Languages, Maths, Psychology and English. Career presentations in areas like Law, Medicine, Nursing and Midwifery, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Teaching and STEM also took place to help guide students aiming to study Higher education courses in these areas. All of the talks were delivered by university staff and employers, with some also delivering more general sessions on how the UCAS application process works, apprenticeship options, and writing Personal Statements.

The College uses national and local labour market information and destinations information of our students to inform our careers and employability programme and the individual advice and guidance, which supports student choices for the next step.

Case Studies

NAME: Aleena Arshad
FORMER SCHOOL: Erdington Academy
POSITION: Assistant Associate within the Audit & Assurance service

Aleena is taking on a Bright Start apprenticeship (level 7), which leads to the ACA Accountancy qualification. This qualification will take five years to achieve, after which Aleena will be a qualified Chartered Accountant and is free to pursue her career in this area. She hopes to travel internationally as part of her career.

“In Year 13 it was a task to find a good apprenticeship that I was interested in, while also focusing on revision, and gaining new knowledge. I got great careers advice and support at home and my academic coach helped me to find this Bright Sight Apprenticeship with Deloitte. I would recommend other students speak to their academic coach for help whenever they need of it, because it is helpful to get the guidance from an experienced person. It’s also important that students start their research in Year 12. Deciding on your career paths and whether to do an apprenticeship or choose university will make life easier. For anyone wanting to pursue an apprenticeship, I suggest applying early in September of Year 13, because that’s when vacancies open and it can help avoid stress later in the year.”

NAME: Helena Wilson
FORMER SCHOOL: Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School
EMPLOYER: Mott MacDonald
POSITION: Environmental Practitioner while studying for an Environmental Practitioner degree

As an Environmental Practitioner, Helena will help people and wildlife adapt to climate change, work to reduce the impacts of flooding, drought, rising sea levels and coastal erosion, and improve the quality of our water, land and air by tackling pollution. She will work with businesses to help them comply with environmental regulations.

“I recommend students who want to pursue apprenticeships take advantage of the ‘Roadmap to Employment’ enrichment, as well as 1-to-1 Careers support from the College’s Careers advisor. My other tips to help students succeed in their studies are to make your class notes your revision notes in Year 12, so that they don’t have to be done twice. Revise for each key assessment so that you have good concise notes for those topics. When it comes to applying for apprenticeships, don’t rush; wait until you know what you want to do. Do lots of research and find a nice company that you respect, as it matters as much as what you’re doing.

“In 5 years, I would like to have made a positive impact on the planet and I would like to help people in need, such as giving people access to safe, drinkable water and safe and clean waste management. I hope to move forward in my career to have more influence so I can help even more people. I also want to broaden my learning across all aspects of Environmental Science.”

Links for Further Research

Students, parents/carers and employers may find the following websites useful for further research:

Advocacy Matters – Supports young people with SEND.
Amazing Apprenticeships – Parents Resources regarding apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships – Government site which shows live apprenticeship vacancies.
Apprenticeships – A useful apprenticeships guide for parents.
Barclays LifeSkills – Activities and information regarding the world of work.
Careersbox – Videos and clips of various jobs and careers.
icould – Information, case studies on a variety of careers.
Labour Market Information – Solihull Careers Hub, Routing for You, suite of Labour Market Information resources.
National Careers Service – The government careers websites – information, employer profiles, National and local labour market information, interest quizzes.
Russell Group – The Russell Group is an organisation which represents 24 leading universities. Advice in the Informed Choices pdf on choosing A level subjects and university entry.
Solihull for Success – Solihull MBC Employment and Skills Team are available to offer support in finding employment and training.
STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths careers with a focus on encouraging girls into these careers.
UCAS – Useful website to search for Post 18 courses, advice and information on applications.
The Uni Guide – A useful website which offers useful information on university choices
Notgoingtouni – Alternative ideas to university study
School leaver options – Information and advice on options after post 18 study including a parents guide.
University of Birmingham – A2B outreach and access scheme for applicants
Birmingham Careers Service – Support and advice on options for young people
Volunteering Opportunities – Advice and opportunities on volunteering
Volunteering centres – Advice and opportunities on volunteering
Talking Futures – parent toolkit for talking about careers