Thomas Estley Community College

Careers and Post 16 pathways

Career Curriculum at Thomas Estley Community College

Practical application – how do we deliver an exciting and engaging careers programme at Thomas Estley Community College?

Year Group

Careers, Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG)   enhancement


Year 7
  •   Introduction to what is a skill, a quality, an achievement
  •   Group sessions to introduce who is   their career adviser and build their toolkit for success
  •   Develop the recording of achievements
  •   Enrichment trips and visits
  •   The Big Quiz and University Challenge
  •   Enterprise Module
Year 8
  •   Parent info sessions at Parents   Evening – meet the Careers Adviser
  •   Options: what are they and what do   they mean to me?
  •   Bespoke self-esteem group programmes   targeted at identified students to build self-efficacy
  •   The Skills Show Trip, Birmingham NEC
  •   University tasters / enrichment trips   / workshops
  •   Coventry University Campus Visit for The   Big Quiz and University Challenge
  •   STEM related Module
Year 9
  •   Groups sessions delivered by Careers   Adviser
  •   Group sessions with a Careers Adviser   for targeted students
  •   Investigate job profiles, entry route   ways using on line career tools
  •   Enhance careers skills; identify your   support network, requesting help, negotiations, decision making, questioning   and research skills
  •   How to make effective decisions
  •   STEM club
  •   University tasters / visits
  •   SSAT Leadership project
  •   Subject Specialisms
  •   Work experience (Take your   son/daughter to work day)
Year 10
  •   1:1 / Group   session with a Careers Adviser with target setting and action review
  •   UCAS   Progress introductions, search and favourite
  •   How to make   effective post-16 choices using a combination of ideas to plan and develop a   career footprint
  •   Portfolio creation,   where students record learning, achievements
  •   The Skills   Show for targeted students
  •   Resilience   Module
  •   University   workshops / visits
Year 11
  •   1:1 with a Careers Adviser to explore   progress in school, post-16 choices, readiness for transition, decision   making, coping skills with target setting and action review
  •   Post-16 Parents information and   guidance evening
  •   UCAS Progress training
  •   UCAS Progress Surgeries afterschool
  •   Apprenticeship workshops
  •   My Future Module- a dedicated week of   self –awareness; post-16 choices and UCAS Progress preparation
  •   Access to Options Fairs
  •   Mock Interviews with Employers
  •   University   workshops / visits


 UCAS Progress provides information and advice to students, parents and teachers about different opportunities, post-16 education and training. You can search for and apply to a range of courses, including A-levels, Apprenticeships, Traineeships, and supported internships. It is the online application system for post-16 learning. It is a central interface where you can manage and track your applications to post-16 providers.

Knowing what to do can be tough so UCAS Progress have lots of information and advice available on to help you get started. There are lots of videos and support pages for students and parents. Students can find career ideas, take the Buzz quiz, and find out what all their post-16 options are.

Each student has a username and password. Students MUST NOT self-register. It is vital that students use the account that has been set up by Thomas Estley to enable us to support you in the process. If your son/daughter has lost/forgotten their login username or password, please email Amber Colquhoun (Careers Lead) at who will be able to reset this for you.

UCAS Mentors – Each Year 11 student has been allocated a UCAS Mentor, highly likely their tutor, who will support and offer guidance to enable them to complete UCAS Progress effectively. They will also write a reference.

Parent support– How you can help…

  • Check in with your child regularly to check progress.  Sit together and log-on and let them show you the process.  Be a research buddy and explore together the range of learning and training opportunities and navigate through it together.
  • Support them to draft their personal statement:

•     Describe skills and personal achievements, things they are proud of

•     Describe any work experience or development of independence where you have learned new skills

•     How would they describe themselves in positive way and what value would they bring to the college/ 6th form/ apprenticeship?

•     Why are they applying for the course what especially interests them about it?

•     What do they have to offer – Why do they think they are suitable for the course(s)?

•     Describe long-term career aspirations if they have any

  • When there applications go live check daily with them if they have received any messages from the post-16 providers they have submitted an application to.

qualifications and levels

Post-16 Pathways

Supporting you and your child in getting to know and understand the value they bring to post-16 learning and the work place is at the forefront of our careers provision. An understanding of post-16 pathways and qualifications will help your child to make the decisions and choices about what learning pathway is best fit for them. It is essential that students continue to commit to their studies throughout their time at Thomas Estley to achieve their full academic potential, but it is equally important that they secure the most appropriate training, apprenticeship or college placement for their post-16 learning pathway.

post 16 pathways

We access many sources of information through professional networks, internet digital based resources, collaborative partnerships complimented by experienced staff who are passionate about your child’s future. There is no such thing as the best pathway and working together we can support your child to choose the best pathway for them.


A-levels are subject-based qualifications that can lead to university, further study, training, or work. You can normally study three or more A-levels over two years. They are usually assessed by a series of examinations.

 What grades do I need to take A-levels?

You normally need:

  • at least five GCSEs at      grades A* to C (New GCSE Grades 4-9)
  • at least grade B in the      specific subject(s) you want to study

However, the specific requirements needed to study A-levels will vary across schools and colleges. It’s important to check what you will need with the school or college you are looking to study at.

Who are they for?

If you’re thinking about going to university, most higher education courses require specific A-levels or combinations of A-levels (or alternative level 3 qualifications).

If you’re not sure what career or job you want to do, studying a selection of A-levels can be a good way of keeping your options open.

Choosing A-level subjects

The most important criteria for choosing A-levels subjects are:

  • Looking at what you are likely to enjoy and be good at. If you enjoy a subject or have ability in      it already, you are more likely to do well.
  • Are there any particular subjects and/or grades you may need? If you have a particular career, job,      or further study in mind, you may need to choose specific A-levels in      order to meet entry requirements.
  • How open you want to keep your future study and career choices?

 Useful link to find out more:


Vocational courses are described as a more hands-on approach to learning. Vocational qualifications offer practical learning programmes that relate to specific job roles or employment sectors. There are many different types of vocational qualifications in a wide range of subjects at all levels, from Entry Level right up to Level 8.

Vocational qualifications include:

  • Vocational subjects that are related to a broad      employment area such as business, engineering, IT, health and social care
  • Practical Vocational Courses (often now called      technical or professional programmes) that lead to specific jobs such as      hairdressing, plumbing, or engineering.
  • Apprenticeships where a student is based with an      employer where they will be trained for a job role and get paid as they      learn

Where can vocational qualifications lead?

Vocational qualifications have been designed in partnership with employers, universities and professional or trade organisations – this means that you can develop the skills that employers want. You can also acquire the knowledge needed to progress to a higher level – such as a degree level course. Often employers encourage their employees to gain vocational qualifications whilst at work.

Vocational qualification levels can be compared to other qualifications. Entry Level qualifications build confidence and help people prepare for further learning and work. Level 2 qualifications are the equivalent of GCSE grades A* to C (grades 9 to 4 in the new GCSE grading system*) and Level 3 qualifications are equivalent to A levels. Level 4 and 5 are equivalent to a Foundation Degree and Level 6 equivalent to an honours degree

BTECS and NVQs are vocational courses.  A BTEC Extended Diploma is the equivalent to 3 x A-levels.

(Refer to diagrams above regarding levels and grades)

Apprenticeships are a valid choice after Year 11 and 13 for many students.  We therefore will allow access to a wide range of apprenticeship and training providers so that our students are fully informed of the full range or opportunities available to them.

All students interested in apprenticeship will need to let Miss Colquhoun, Careers Lead, or the careers adviser know as we will be delivering sessions to help them become work ready. In these sessions we will support them to; create their CV, research vacancies, build their professional network, complete effective applications and prepare for interviews. Students will be notified of these sessions and letters will be sent home via ParentMail. Attendance is strongly encouraged. The first sessions commence on Thursday 2nd November.

 Useful links

National Apprenticeship Service

For  students to search vacancies and creating an account

Find out more about apprenticeships

For increasing knowledge and understanding for UCAS mentors

Leicester City Council :

For vacancies and links to the Apprenticeship Hub a broker for young people

IT Apprenticeships:


Plumbing/ Electrical


Security Service:

Helpful labour market information

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