"Senior school pupils from Year 9 upwards are provided with excellent careers support, which allows them to make informed choices about their future." ISI Report 2016
Careers Education is about finding out about oneself and about opportunities in order to make the perfect match. This is the foundation for careers provision throughout the school and takes into account the nationally acclaimed Gatsby benchmarks to ensure excellent provision. We aim to enable girls to develop their self-awareness and equip them to explore a wide range of education and career options in order to make informed choices. A comprehensive package of Careers advice and guidance is available to the girls both within the curriculum and also outside normal lessons.
This popular series of seminars has looked at “What to do with a career in …..” and has included subjects such as Maths and Physics, Classics, Modern Foreign Languages, Business and Economics, Politics and Degrees in the Arts. Alumnae who have studied the specified degree subject share their career experiences since graduation with current students. This invariably highlights the breadth of career options which are opened up by the degree subject and assists in choices for A level and degree subjects. Recent seminars have focussed on broader industry sectors, such as “Careers with an Environmental Impact” and “Careers in the World of Theatre” highlighting the myriad of different roles available in one industry or subject area.
The biennial careers forum is a fantastic opportunity for girls to hear from Alumnae and Parents about their Career journeys. By focussing on the theme “What to do with a degree in ….” Girls are able to hear about the many different career pathways which can be followed after studying the same degree.
Careers Within The Curriculum
Throughout their time at St Catherine’s, girls have the opportunity to develop their employability, academic and technical skills, which in turn enables them to identify what makes them tick. Through this approach we are able to provide careers education which helps them make informed choices and gives them “an understanding of the careers options available to enable them to succeed in adult life” (ISI Requirements, September 2019). At each stage of the girl’s educational journey they are provided with careers advice and support, as set out below.
In Lower 4 girls start to develop their appreciation of Career options benefiting from hearing a number of guest speakers at end of term lectures.
In Upper 4 girls attend the weekly U4 lecture. This includes a series of lectures from alumnae and parents working in a variety of roles and organisations. This is combined with research activities, such as research into Inspirational Women and taking part in the Step into the NHS national competition. There is also a focus upon GCSE option choices for which girls receive individual guidance.
Lower 5 attend Careers lessons as part of the Life Matters rotation. This consists of a 5 week course which includes:
- Employability Skills: Considering the transferable skills looked for by employers and how these can be developed alongside academic studies
- Career Planning: Exploring current feelings about careers and career planning, based on personality traits and study interests.
- Careers Research: Investigating links between academic subjects and careers combined with research tasks designed to broaden awareness of potential career options.
- Future Pathways: Options beyond A level are explained with a particular focus on alternatives to traditional university degrees. This includes an explanation of Degree Apprenticeships, Sponsored Degrees and Higher Apprenticeships.
Morrisby online profile
All girls take the Morrisby online profile aptitude and interest guide in the Summer Term. At this stage the particular focus is on understanding of their aptitude profile and how that links to A level and Career choices.
Business Challenge Day
The whole year group participates in the Business Challenge day which is facilitated by SATRO, the purpose of which is to develop awareness of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. Working in teams, girls setup and run a business for the day thus developing an appreciation of business planning and the need for innovative product design. They also have opportunities to develop their negotiation skills agreeing contracts with the buyers and arranging finance with the bankers, as well as adapting to changes in the business environment which occurred during the day. Throughout the day they are supported by volunteers from the local business community.
U5 attend careers lessons on a rotation. This consists of a short course including:
- A level options and Careers Research: Students revisit their Morrisby aptitudes to help inform their A level subject choices. The purpose is to encourage them to utilise their strongest aptitudes in order to achieve their highest potential. Morrisby is also the starting point for a detailed Careers research task allowing them to explore options which take account of both interests and aptitudes.
- CV and Interview skills: In preparation for applications for work experience, and paid employment students create a CV having first identified their achievements and skills to date. Interview preparation begins with an introduction to the STAR technique designed which can be applied in all interview situations.
- Preparation for A level Choices: In addition to the careers lessons detailed above, during the Autumn Term all students have a one to one discussion with a member of staff, chosen carefully from a team of advisers, in order to consider their A level choices. This is part of the A level choices programme which includes attending A level taster lessons and an information evening for students and their parents.
Careers lessons in the 6th Form are delivered within the SCOPE enrichment programme.
The L6th programme equips girls with information and skills which will enable them to research Higher Education options, and assist them in making informed decisions based on their longer term Career aspirations. Girls are also encouraged to recognise the importance of employability skills, identifying evidence of their existing skills, as well as providing opportunities for further development within school based activities.
All Lower 6th students have a week’s work experience in the Autumn Term. Students write a report afterwards and make a presentation to their house. At the end of the Summer Term, Activities Week for the Lower 6th is designed to give them an insight into how to make a successful application to the universities of their choice.
Upper 6th are supported throughout the process of UCAS applications. Information is also provided on a wide range of topics such as Internships, Gap years, interview technique and student finance.
6th Form students apply for places to attend the St Catherine's Association London Network events. This is an opportunity to develop their networking skills, and gain further insight into career sectors as well as making connections which benefit them in the short and long term.
The Careers and Higher Education page on the Community area of the website gives access to the Careers News blog.
This provides information on Careers events held at school, as well as details of external events, Work Experience and Insight programmes.
Work experience is highly valued at St Catherine's School, both as an aid to decision making on future careers, and as a step to increasing the employability skills girls develop. All girls are encouraged to take up other opportunities which are advertised by email to appropriate year groups and on the Careers blog. Those seeking specific work experience are also supported by the St Catherine's School Association and their contacts with Alumnae and Parents.
All L6 girls complete a week of work experience just prior to October half term. Overseas boarders frequently choose to do this in their home country. Girls benefit from experience in a wide variety of careers and organisations with recent examples ranging from Law at “magic circle” firms, Medicine at local and London hospitals, and Marketing at multinational corporations, to Conservation at an RSPB wildlife reserve and Production Management at a Theatre.
To follow up all L6th give a presentation about their experience to younger girls in their House and some have the opportunity to speak to Parents and their Peers at the GCSE Certificate evening.
Work Experience Quotes from Employers
“She conducted herself brilliantly on this placement. She was a delight to have around and asked genuinely insightful and intelligent questions and was very quick to grasp points. When she went to Woolwich with a colleague, he emailed me to say that “she is a very mature and intelligent young person. I’m sure she has a bright future ahead of her.” “
“She was everything we have come to expect from a St Catherine’s student for work experience. She was adept, keen, bright, responsible and eager to do anything to assist the production crew no matter how interesting or how dull.”
“We agreed she is very capable of working with different teams. As a matter of fact, she gave us a presentation the last day of her placement showing she enjoyed her time here but also grasped the right knowledge and raised good points on the project she was working on.”
“She sent us a lovely note saying she enjoyed and valued the experience which was great to hear. It was lovely meeting her and we were enthused to hear she sees marketing as a potential career.”
“She was given work by the Group Finance Manager, and the Group Accounts assistance in her week with Soho House. She was a valuable part of the team in busy period with lots of change. Being able to give work to her helped the team immensely.”
“She was extremely well versed in the property sector and showed very good knowledge of the industry and its workings. She also showed great aptitude in sustainable design and concepts such as carbon accounting, so I would say she could definitely look into such a role.”
“She is very articulate in a mature, balanced and thoughtful way. She enjoyed conversations and realised that some situations were confidential. Many of the Ministry Team and parishioners greatly enjoyed talking with her.”
“She said she wants to study aerospace engineering. We think she has right motivation and ability to pursue this career path.”