Careers Education

Details of the Careers Programme, Work Experience and Career Guidance support offered by Countesthorpe Academy

Countesthorpe Academy provides students in each Key Stage with a comprehensive careers focussed education and experiences that prepare them for life after their GCSEs or A-Levels.  Our careers guidance and support strives to prevent any student from becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training), and works closely with students on an individual basis.

This page contains information on what the Careers department arranges each year and what will be expected of your child during Key Stage 3,4 and 5.

An introduction to the Work Experience Programme 2021-22 for parents of Year 10 and 12 students.

This video runs through the assembly delivered to students, with a little more detail for parents on how the programme will be run, when it will occur and how the college ensures safety of the placements in the organisation stage.

Independent careers guidance

The school works closely with outside agencies to ensure that every student has the opportunity to access independent careers guidance.  The main provider of this service is the LEBC (Leicestershire Education Business Company), whose offices can be found at 30 Frog Island, Leicester, LE3 5AG.

During the time your son/daughter will be at Countesthorpe Academy, there will be a number of occasions where this independent advice can be accessed.  Students can refer themselves for interviews, but can also be identified by tutors and Heads of House. These take place dynamically throughout the school year depending on demand, and are tailor made to support each individual student.

LEBC Careers Guidance is also available at parent’s evenings and open evenings, and we would encourage all parents who have queries relating to careers and the job market to find support from an independent careers specialist at these events.

How to get in touch

If you are a parent who would like further information on anything relating to careers, please contact:

Mrs K. Challinor,
Careers Lead at Countesthorpe Academy
Tel: 0116 277 1555

If you wish to offer a service to the college or students relating to careers/work experience/Apprenticeship, Training or Educational Employment opportunity, then please view our Provider Access Policy in the first instance for information on how to submit a request.

Careers Education/Events overview

Throughout years 7 to 13 the school runs special Careers events that assist and educate your child helping them prepare for life after school.  These events build up from specialised Careers tutorial sessions to prepare students so they get the most out of each experience. Details of these events will appear on the Homepage before they are due to take place.

These events include:

Careers Day – mid November.

Here all students are off their normal timetable and participate in a day focussed on Careers education.

Year 7:

Students work on identifying their own personalised work skills through a number of activities and employer interactions

Year 8:

All will develop enterprising and entrepreneurial skills by working in teams to design, develop, market and sell a new product to visiting employers

Year 9:

Prior to the day, students will select a number of employer talks they wish to attend.  During the day they will get the opportunity to experience a talk by different local industry sectors, ask questions and participate in an activity based on that industry sector.  Students will review and analyse their selected talks and get a great insight into a number of careers that have a personal interest to them

Year 10:

Trip to “World Skills Live” Birmingham NEC.

All year 10 students will attend the free event at the NEC showcasing a vast amount of careers and opportunities.  Many of the nation’s major employers are present and provide an educational and interactive experience for your child.  Details can be found on their website:

Alternatively, if the trip does not run then students will spend the day learning about options post school and school.  They will have a chance to look at Higher Education and the options and benefits it provides.

Year 11:

On this day, all year 11 students will formally begin their PS16 applications (Positive Steps at 16) and research into future options post GCSE.  More details on the PS16 application system and how you can assist you child are in the section “How to apply for post GCSE courses”

Year 12:

All year 12 students will visit a local university (DMU traditionally) to undertake a University Experience Day.  This will give students a chance to find out about university life, sample a lecture and have a campus tour.

Year 13:

Students will take part in a Lions Lair task in groups.  Here they will design, develop and pitch a new business idea to local business leaders, receiving questions and feedback from the industry specialists to give them high level entrepreneurial skills.

Interview Day – mid June.

All Year 10 students will have to prepare their CV and have a 10 minute mock job interview with local employers.  This is a vital skill and students hugely benefit from experience gained.

Careers Programme at Key Stage 3

All students in years 8 and 9 will begin a tutorial programme over 6 weeks per year (12 weeks in total) which will introduce them to topics relating to Careers Education.

These lessons include learning in key areas such as:

  • Understanding the difference between a job, occupation and career
  • Linking the world of work and school subjects together and exploring the relationship between both
  • Explore their dreams and lifestyle they wish to lead in their adult life
  • Introduction to jobs, training, leisure and income, and their relationship with education
  • Being able to recognise a variety of jobs and work styles, and examine the difference between them
  • Apply maths skills to real-life situations and understand the concept of budgeting. This will lead to understanding of values related to income and the interrelated consequences of occupation and income.
  • Working together to plan, budget and prepare for real-life situations (family holiday planning, child birth etc.)
  • Understand the importance of saving money for future activities
  • Learn about discrimination in the workplace in terms of gender, sexual orientation, age, disability and ethnicity
  • Explore the relationship between their own personality and satisfaction in a job role
  • Identify a range of skills and qualifications that are required in employment and learn about transferrable skills
  • Learn about what skills, knowledge and qualifications they need to position them to take opportunities to realise their career dreams.

Careers Programme at Key Stage 5

All students in our 6th form will undertake a tutorial programme over 6 weeks per year (12 weeks in total) which will introduce them to topics relating to Careers Education.

The main focus of the tutorials will be on future options for the students, covering areas such as:

  • Higher Education choices (delivered by local universities)
  • Expanding your CV
  • Writing and developing effective cover letters
  • UCAS applications to university courses
  • Alternatives to university
  • The local labour market and what skills are needed in the future for Leicestershire
  • Higher Apprenticeships, what they entail and how to apply successfully for them
  • Student finance
  • Financial education (credit, wages, mortgages)
  • University visits
  • Employer visits
  • Work experience

Work Experience undertaken in Year 10 & Year 12

Work experience continues to be an important part of a young person’s education. Nationally, 95 per cent of students in Key Stage 4 undertake work placements and about half of sixth form students have a further period of work experience or work shadowing. The vast majority of employers, young people and their parents are positive about the experience and recognise the benefits that can come from well-organised programmes.

Due to the importance employers and higher education establishments put on students leaving education with work-based skills, it is vital that your child participates actively in this programme.

At Countesthorpe Academy all of year 10 and year 12 students will undertake work experience during the month of June/July in the academic year.  The process and key stages of the organisation are listed below:


Before the summer holiday, all year 9 students will receive an assembly introducing the Work Experience Programme. Year 12 students will receive a different assembly based on Work Experience at the start of the new school year in September. During this initial period, they will be given a self-placement form, letter to parents and letter to employersThese documents explain to parents and employers the focus of work experience, and the self-placement form needs to be completed and handed back into school by the end of October.

September and October

Self-placement forms handed back in through tutors, and the Careers department can begin the process of checking the placements for suitability.

Year 12 students must submit the £15 costing via ParentPay to begin the processing of their placement.  This fee covers the new Health and Safety Regulations that are in place to check insurances and working conditions.

October through to March

Checks are made on every placement to ensure employers provide a safe working environment for students, have Employer Liability Insurance, Public Liability Insurance and the work is suitable for your child.

Penultimate week of Summer term

Students undertake work experience and complete the booklet ready to be handed back into school through tutor groups when they return.

Important information about Work Experience placements

Every child must undertake a placement.  The importance of gaining work based skills and experience is so beneficial that all further education establishments and companies look at this when recruiting students after their GCSE and A-Level studies.

The school encourages all students to find their own placement for the Work Experience Programme.  This will better ensure that students get the most out of the experience, gain relevant knowledge of careers they aspire to go into, and be immersed in a work environment.

Placements must be in Leicestershire.  The school needs to perform checks on all placements, and out of area placements are costly and time consuming.  If you think your child would benefit from a placement that will happen outside of Leicestershire, then please contact Mrs Challinor in the Careers department where we can discuss this and any implications.

If your child is having problems with finding a placement, they must contact the Careers department immediately for assistance.  The department can search for experience areas that your child is interested in and generate a list of contacts to try. If your child is of Pupil Premium/Bursary status there is an opportunity for greater assistance in securing a placement.  We would however strongly suggest every effort is made to find a self-placement first as this would ensure a better experience for the student focussed on their areas of interest.

Careers Programme at Key Stage 4

Future options post GCSE

It is now a legal requirement that all students continue with their education until they are 18 years old.  This section will describe the options and types of courses that are currently available to students once they have completed their GCSE courses at Countesthorpe Academy.

An important piece of information…

Be aware that no matter what course path your child takes after obtaining their GCSEs, they must have gained a level 5 or above in Mathematics and English.

If they fail to achieve these grades, they will have to re-sit them and continue to do so until they are 18 years old or have gained a 5 or above at GCSE level.

Below is an extract from the government document “Careers Guidance and Inspiration in Schools” April 2014 which details the requirement for schools and colleges to deliver these subjects if students do not achieve the required levels at GCSE:

“19. In particular, schools should make it clear to pupils that if they do not achieve a grade 5 or better in GCSE maths and English by the end of key stage 4 they will be required to carry on studying these – at school, college or as an apprenticeship – as no institution will receive public funding to teach them up to the age of 19 unless they continue to work towards achieving Level 2 in maths and English. This is because of the vital importance and powerful labour market value of good GCSE in maths and English”


These types of qualification provide a high academic qualification upon successful completion, and are still the most highly regarded route for university applications.

Countesthorpe Academy offers a range of A-Levels for post GCSE study, and has a high rate of successful applications to universities, including Oxbridge and Cambridge.

To apply for A-Levels at Countesthorpe Academy please complete your PS16 applications before the end of December each year, ensuring you have selected 4 A-Level choices (3 main and 1 reserve option)


BTEC qualifications are vocational and work-related courses, designed to accommodate the needs of employers and allow students to progress to further and higher education.

A BTEC takes a practical approach to learning, without missing any of the important theory on the subject.

If your child decides to take a BTEC course after their GCSEs, they are often the only subject they will study as they take up more guided learning hours, however lower levels require less hours and students may be required to take on further studies.

BTECs are available in many levels, but the most relevant ones available to your child are:

  • Level 3 course – equivalent to a single/double A-Level (whether it is a double or single award will be stated on the details of the course)
  • Level 2 course – equivalent to GCSE grades A*-C or 5-9
  • Level 1 course – equivalent to GCSE grades D-G or 1-4

Depending on student ability, grades achieved and previous subjects studied, this may affect which level students study at after their GCSEs.


An Apprenticeship offers a nationally recognised training scheme, which benefits both the employer and the learner.  The apprenticeship training scheme allows your child to work, earn a wage and gain a work based qualification all at the same time.

Parents and students can look at the Apprenticeship vacancies in the widget below.  Here you can find all Apprenticeship opportunities in the Leicestershire area, at all levels, that are active right now and ready to be applied for.

There are two different routes to becoming an apprentice.

1. You find an employer and work for them directly while training as an apprentice with your registered college.  This can be done through the official apprenticeship website:

Here you can browse all live apprenticeship vacancies and apply for them, or if you are an employer looking to recruit an apprentice, you can find more information on recruitment and training of young people.

2. You register your interest through PS16 for the apprenticeship course your child would like to undertake, and then the receiving college can assist in placing your child in a suitable work placement.

How to apply for post-GCSE courses

Your child will need to apply through the PS16 website.

This is a Leicestershire website and contains details of colleges and courses which students can apply through.  Leicestershire colleges have signed up to this system and use it as their main application method.

You can view guides that help the students through the application process here.

Time will be allocated during year 11 tutorial periods in college for this process to begin, but it is the responsibility of the student and parent to ensure this is submitted correctly and before the application deadline.

Important information about applying for courses

Student login and password information will be created in October, and issued for Careers Day in November.  If you would like your login details before the November date then please contact the Careers Department and it can be generated.  Students are to use this to apply for their post GCSE courses/apprenticeships.  The college will need to attach attendance data and a reference to each application and using this logon allows us to do that.  This is a legal requirement.  Students can only apply using the login the school issues them, and this will be given out

The window for applications opens in late October and closes for Countesthorpe Leysland 6th form in January each year.  This will be very similar for all colleges as they need to plan ahead based on numbers applied, staffing, timetables and funding.

Late applications could result in unsuccessful applications or course selections not being their preferred options.

Parents and students are encouraged to attend Open Evenings and Open Days to ensure they are making informed decisions about their post 16 options and establishments.  These are displayed on the College website and on the Careers notice board in college.

Review Date

Our next review of Careers Education is due in September 2022.