The future starts at Smith's Wood Academy

Careers at Smith’s Wood Academy

At Smith’s Wood Academy all of our students follow a progressive careers education and experience high quality Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance. We deliver a purposeful careers strategy which follows the Gatsby Benchmarks and is fit for today’s modern and technological society. It provides our students with confidence, encourages high aspirations and enable them thrive in a modern and ever evolving world.  Many opportunities are provided for students to consider their own career planning, as students have full access to impartial careers advice and guidance. 

At all stages of their school career students will have an opportunity to work with Mrs O’Donnell both in classroom activities and individual one to one interviews. Our aim is to offer all students a full package of support in order to help them make the right choices for a successful future. Smith’s Wood Academy holds a “Quality Award” for its outstanding contribution to Careers work within the Academy across all Year groups.   ‘Career Mark’   is the mark of quality for Careers Education and Guidance. 

The programme is overseen by Mrs Downing, Assistant Head Teacher and our impartial careers advisor is Mrs Amanda O’Donnell.  If you wish to support Smith’s Wood Academy with any activities or events please contact Mrs O’Donnell o0121 788 4100 at least 6 weeks prior to your proposal. 

Students and parents are welcome to contact Mrs O’Donnell at anytime to arrange a meeting or careers interview and receive impartial advice.  This may take place over TEAMs or on the phone, please contact Mrs O’Donnell directly [email protected] to make an appointment. 

The Academy has secured support during 2020/2021of an Enterprise Advisor from Balfour Beatty VINCIwho are responsible for designing and building part of the most exciting and challenging railway project in Europe: HS2. 

Our Careers Policy

Read our Careers Policy. This is due for review November 2021.

Note to Employers and Education Providers

As part of Smith’s Wood Academy’s commitment to informing our students of the full range of learning and training routes on offer to them, the Academy is happy to consider requests from training providers, Vocational education and apprenticeship providers to speak to students and will also approach these partners ourselves when planning organising key Careers events throughout the school year.

In the first instance, providers wishing to speak with students should consult our calendar of Careers events published on the school website as we would welcome their input at our main Careers events throughout the school year.

These events provide ample opportunities to speak to students and parents both individually and in groups to offer information on vocational, technical and apprenticeship routes. These are usually held in the school hall and timings, facilities and parking and registration details are emailed to exhibitors in good time before the event. Enquires about these events can made to Amanda O’Donnell  CEIAG lead ‘[email protected]

We also have a number of whole year group assembly slots which offer providers a short opportunity to quickly spread the word about their offer. These are 15 minutes slots to a whole year group of around 200 students in our main theatre which has tiered seating and a drop-down projector and speakers for sound.  This space also doubles up as an excellent stage area for small performances.  If you are a provider and would like to enquire on the availability of assembly slots please email our CEIAG lead.  For presentations that require smaller groupings we can accommodate these in the careers zone or classrooms.  ICT is available across the site and the academy readily uses Office 365.  During the pandemic, we have welcomed those companies who can wish to work remotely dialling in to classrooms using TEAMs.

If a provider is unable to attend these events or feels that their presentation needs require different circumstances or that they are hosting an event they wish to promote, in the first instance they should contact Amanda O’Donnell to request a CEIAG visitor booking form.

The CEIAG visitor booking form asks for the role of the training, vocational or apprenticeship provider you represent, the aim of the presentation, if the request is for an assembly slot, the number of students the presentation or session is designed for, the length of the talk or presentation, the target year group for the session or presentation, what display or other facilities the session would require, how many provider staff (and names of staff) that will be visiting and what support from school staff you would require on the day.

All requests should be emailed at least 6 weeks (a school half term) in advance an expected date for the planned session. All requests will be given due consideration by Smith’s Wood Academy’s CEIAG lead and Senior Leadership link and requests will be refused if:

  • they impinge on students preparation for public or internal exams
  • they clash with other school events such as visits, other speakers, well-being days, school photographs, sports days, public or internal exams, parents communication events etc
  • the school is unable to provide staff to support the presentation or talk due to previous commitments
  • rooming for the talk or event is unable to be found due to timetabling clashes

Responses to requests will come from the school CEIAG lead. For requests that are approved, we will provide clear instructions before the event on visitor parking, visitor registration, a contact member of staff and their contact details, the teaching room or school hall to be used at the session and the presentation facilities this space offers.

As part of Smith’s Wood Academy’s wider CEIAG policy, the range of Careers provision for students is reported every academic year to the school governing body and Headteacher.

If you have questions regarding this or Smith’s Wood Academy’s wider CEIAG statement document, please do not hesitate to contact our CEIAG lead at  [email protected]  

Our Careers Programme 2020/2021

Read about our careers programme here.

Measuring Our Impact

We measure the impact of our careers, guidance and support through the use of the eight Gatsby Benchmarks and the Compass Audit and Tracker.  Annually students are tracked, and a destination report sent back to the local authority. 

In 2019 we had 90.7% of our students move on to further education (increase of 6.17%) and 4.7% go on to Apprenticeships and Training.  Our NEET figure (Not in Education Employment or Training) in 2019 was 4%.

ONS website. 

Read students destination information: Destinations 2015-2019

May 2019 OFSTED report findings

The school provides a thorough and well-planned careers education programme in all years. Leaders compare their provision with national benchmarks of good practice and put in place clear plans to address any relative weaknesses. For example, leaders recognise that engaging with parents is a particular challenge at the moment. The programme has a clear aim of raising aspirations, including increasing the proportion of students who go to university when they are 18. Almost all students move to further education or training when they leave the academy at the end of Year 11.

Curriculum Vitae Guidance

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a document you create that accompanies a covering letter to a prospective employer.  It is an opportunity for you to summarise your education, skills and experience to date so that you successfully communicate your abilities to a prospective employer. 

This document should be factual and you should not repeat things that you have put in your covering letter.  You will need to make sure it contains your profile, details your education and qualifications, any work experience you have completed, achievements and references. 

To obtain references you must make sure you ask the two people you wish to be your referees in advance of putting them on your CV.   

Useful websites to support you with this are: 

www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/cvs-and-cover-letters/how-to-write-a-cv 

nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/careers-advice/cv-sections  

career-advice.jobs.ac.uk/academic/how-to-write-a-good-cv/ 

Resources

CV example

CV template

Aim Higher

Smith’s Wood Academy is proud to be working in collaboration with AimHigher West Midlands, a provider of the Uni Connect Programme formally known as NCOP (National Collaborative Outreach Programme). The programme supports a Government initiative to increase the percentage of students entering Higher Education from less advantaged backgrounds and focuses on widening participation and raising student aspirations to go into Higher Education.

AimHigher Plus has multiple partner universities and Smith’s Wood Academy is fortunate to be working closely with one of the university partners, Birmingham City University. Birmingham City University provides Smith’s Wood Academy with an Aimhigher Plus Progression Ambassador, who works in Smith’s Wood Academy two days a week to work with students from Year 9-11 and provide them with numerous opportunities to widen participation and raise levels of aspiration and challenge misconceptions about University. (COVID 19 restrictions apply at this present time) www.aimhigherwm.ac.uk

Our Aim Higher booklet will be available shortly.

Introduction to Aimhigher:

Smith’s Wood Academy is proud to be working in collaboration with AimHigher West Midlands, a provider of the Uni Connect Programme formally known as NCOP (National Collaborative Outreach Programme). The programme supports a Government initiative to increase the percentage of students entering Higher Education from less advantaged backgrounds and focuses on widening participation and raising student aspirations to go into Higher Education.

AimHigher Plus has multiple partner universities and Smith’s Wood Academy is fortunate to be working closely with one of the university partners, Birmingham City University. Birmingham City University provides Smith’s Wood Academy with an Aimhigher Plus Progression Ambassador, Miss Hardie. Miss Hardie works in Smith’s Wood Academy two days a week to work with students from Year 9-11 and provide them with numerous opportunities to widen participation and raise levels of aspiration and challenge misconceptions about University.

Aim Higher West Midlands website

What will the Aimhigher Progression Ambassador do for the school?

  • Encourage those learners with the potential to go onto Higher Education to explore it as an option.
  • Expose learners to ALL options available to them after secondary school.
  • Ensure that learners can make their own informed decisions about their future.

How will this be done?

  • Providing 1:1 mentoring sessions for selected students in Year 9 – 11.
  • Conduct assemblies on various topics regarding Higher Education as well as providing the school with guest speakers to conduct assemblies on topics like motivation and goal setting.
  • Provide tailored workshops for Year 9 – 11 such as revision workshops, work experience, insight into careers and study skills ensuring it’s informative and engaging.
  • Provide opportunities through Aimhigher Plus with residential trips and cultural capital days.
  • University Trips.
  • Subject Focus Days.

AimHigher Consent Forms

Everything that AimHigher Plus offers to students is completely FREE. All trips, activities, workshops, guest speakers, residential and mentoring sessions has no cost to the students. As the AimHigher Uni Connect programme is a government funded programme, AimHigher needs to ensure their work in schools produces results so they are able to continue to offer opportunities to the students for free.

At the start of the academic year, Year 9, 10 and 11 students will be given a consent form asking permission to be tracked on their progression through school and their journey to Further/Higher Education. Returning the consent form enables AimHigher to produce results to the government and the funding will continue.

If the consent forms are not returned, AimHigher’s future and funding may be put at risk if we cannot prove the effectiveness of our work and what we offer in schools. If you have a consent form, please bring them back, filled out to Mrs O’Donnell.

Aimhigher Booklet

Aimhigher – UniFest Application Form

Parents’ and carers’ Guide

UniFest Parents Letter

MADE Training

www.made-training.com

Smith’s Wood Academy works alongside MADE Training to provide students with motivational , exam and revision techniques & online tutorials.

online.made-training.com

The Academy has signed up to the Online courses and which provides access for the academic year (2020/21) for all of our Year 9-11 students.

Live workshops have taken place at the Academy called including Inner Winner & Rapid Revision.

MADE also work closely with our families and in the autumn term delivered workshops specifically for our parents at both Year 10 & 11 study skills evenings to support with forthcoming revision and exams.

INSPIRE

To inspire young people to focus, work hard and achieve their full potential.

EQUIP

To equip young people with the necessary thinking skills to successfully navigate their way through education and life

SUSTAIN

To support individuals and institutions in effecting positive, cultural and behavioural change

Year 10 Work Experience

Due to COVID-19 this did not take place in the summer of 2020, as guidance changes for 2021, we look to update further shortly.

Work experience is a real success at Smith’s Wood Academy.  Year 10 students participate in Work Experience for 1 week at the end of the summer term. Students secure placements with a wide range of Employers including: West Midlands Fire Service, Army, WM Housing, Solihull Council, Jaguar Landrover, Engineering, Solihull Youth Service, Primary Schools including: Smith’s Wood Primary Academy, Yorks wood, Timberly Academy, St Anthony and Kings Hurst. Birmingham Magistrates Court, Hilton Hotel, Birmingham Airport, University College Birmingham to name but a few! Employers state that Smith’s Wood Academy pupils are a real credit to the Academy and the community. The students receive fantastic feedback, which helps to build confidence, and motivate them for their Year 11 GCSE’s.



Useful Career Links

The following websites are of use to students who would like to research careers information at home:



Useful Higher Education Websites for University

Use the UCAS website to search for higher education courses at all universities and colleges nationwide. Lots of information here on how to apply



The U-Explore online allows users to learn about the world of work, the various career options available.



UKCourseFinder helps you locate your ideal university degree course. Quickly complete the study interests questionnaire, designed by Morrisby, to pin-point your interests in 150+ degree disciplines. There is also information on how to make your choice, where different subjects may lead, and help and advice on completing your UCAS form.



In association with UCAS, Centigrade matches your strongest interests & abilities with the most likely courses available. This is a chargeable service (£15).



Unistats is the official website to help you make an informed choice when deciding which university or college to apply to.



Graduate website with excellent careers information including graduate destination information ‘what do graduates do?’



Independent guide to UK universities, student life, gap years, and open days.



Information on all aspects of choosing and applying to higher education. Also includes information on graduate jobs and salaries.



Lists all the university open days to help with arranging campus visits.



The Guardian’s university league tables.



The Times’ university league tables.



Information on loans, grants and bursaries and how to apply.



Careers information for staff.