Richmond School and Sixth Form College has become one of the first to be awarded the prestigious Quality in Careers Standard.
Assessed by Inspiring IAG, the Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance quality award is the new national standard to which all schools must work.
Careers staff and work experience co-ordinators at Richmond School and Sixth Form College have been working for the past two years to meet the rigorous criteria to support students.
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Lead teachers for technology Susan Thornton and Tom Braham also supported the initiative with STEM careers events.
An important part of the award is work experience which is organised for students by careers and employability manager Liz Mannion and co-ordinators Jill Gill and Kirstie Thornton.
This year 375 students will go into the workplace, making early contact with employers and crucial connections with local businesses, with many securing part-time jobs.
The experience raises students’ aspirations and helps them decide on the best path to follow, whether that is higher or further education, degree apprenticeships or vocational apprenticeships.
Ms Mannion said: “This is a fantastic achievement which we are extremely proud to have secured.
“Every school must eventually achieve this standard so it puts us well ahead of the game. It has been a massive team effort and we are incredibly grateful for the support of local businesses who have been amazing.”
By the time students leave Richmond School and Sixth Form College they will have undergone two periods of intense work experience, which also helps them with their university or apprenticeship applications.
For Richmond sixth former Joe Collins, 17, of Richmond, the careers programme provided an opportunity to talk to university representatives about reading a degree in architecture.
“It was really useful hearing about the course content,” he said. “It is a long training – seven years – but I think it will be worth it to have a career which I am passionate about and is different every day.”
Headteacher Jenna Potter said: “On top of impressive exam grades, our students come out with a host of transferable skills that prepare them for their futures. You can see a real change in them, in their self-confidence, skills and knowledge.
“They are resilient, confident and capable and we are totally committed to the careers programme and the pivotal part it plays in the development of young people allowing them to compete on a local, national and global stage.”
Chairman of Governors James Robson added: As the careers link governor I am delighted that our school has achieved this highly important standard. As a business owner and entrepreneur I see the importance of good careers support at first hand.
“Students who enter the world of work more prepared for what is expected from them will always make better employees. In future I expect Ofsted will pay closer attention to career pathways and outcomes, when making overall judgements about the effectiveness of secondary schools across the country.”