The future starts at Smith's Wood Academy

Smith’s Wood Academy has its own experienced Careers Advisor,  Mrs O’Donnell is qualified to Level 6 in Managing and Leading in CEIAG and is a member of the Careers Development Institution.

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 pupils 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.

Careers Advisor Amanda O’Donnell

Email: [email protected]

Call: 0121 788 4100 Extn: 4736

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. Our careers information is due for review in July 2019.

Read students destination information: Destinations 2015 to 2018

  • Cambridge University in collaboration with Smith’s Wood Academy

    Work with Year 7,8,9,10 & 11. Raising levels of aspirations within Smith’s Wood Academy.

    One hour workshops provided for each year group including:

    • To give an introduction to studying at Top Universities
    • To get students thinking about their future, qualifications and A Level choices
    • To challenge some of the myths students may have about University

    Anna McGlinchy from Cambridge University September 2017.

     “Thank you for hosting Frances and I at Smith’s Wood Academy last week – we had an extremely positive visit, we hope to work with you in the forth coming years”.

  • Medical Mavericks

    Medical Mavericks provide Year 7, 8,9,10 & 11 with an insight into medical careers.  The Medic Man, also known as Tom, takes part in and undergoes surgical procedures so that he can share the experience with students and staff in Schools and during his lectures at Universities across the country. Tom demonstrated how to take your heart rate with an ECG (Echo Cardiograph) and a student also had his heart trace taken. Tom discussed careers in the NHS, not just the obvious ones but also the ones that are often behind the scenes and not thought about.

    Students really enjoy it and parents contacted the Academy to say how much the students got from it. One parent stated ‘ Can I just give you some feedback from my son in Year 10.  He really enjoyed the Medic Man and found interesting, I felt like I had been at the presentation after he’d finished talking about it, Thank you’.

  • Inspiring the future

    Smith’s Wood Academy works alongside ‘inspiring the future’ to provide inspirational careers information & guidance to its students. Working in conjunction with local businessmen and women to raise aspirations for the students. Alan Lewis, local ICT Business Manager spent a morning with Year 9 ICT students talking about the different roles linked to ICT and how important ICT will be in shaping the future of all our lives from the cultivation of vegetables to social media and how we will do jobs in the future.

  • Careers Zone

    Offsite Careers opportunities

    Below is a small selection of the Careers events students have the chance to be involved in at Smith’s Wood Academy.

    • Girls into Engineering at Jaguar Landrover. Three lucky girls spend a week at JLR finding out about engineering and the jobs linked to the manufacturing and production industry.
    • STEM Ambassadors working with students in Science & Math’s
    • Forensic Scientists at South & City College. 15 students spend and afternoon finding out about Forensic science, and the college courses available.
    • GIRLS only one week work experience residential at Swynnerton Army Barracks.
    • Science Christmas Lectures at Birmingham University for Year 7
    • Women in Math’s at Wolverhampton University
    • Big Bang Fair at the NEC
    • Math’s & Careers at Wolverhampton Race Course
    • Travel, Tourism & Aviation insight days at UCB
    • Waiters week at UCB, Hospitability Students can apply.
    • Chef Academy & Young Waiters Academy at UCB. Saturday school.
    • Rock Assembly at Wembley SSE Arena, Careers Fair and Pop Concert! 30 students attended
    • Army & Navy Assemblies &Personal Development Days
    • My Green Future for Year 9 looking at Careers in the sustainable energy sector.
  • Year 7 Careers Project

    “I Have A Dream” students look into the future producing a careers project covering a dream for their future job, their community and the World.

  • Year 8 WOW Day World of Work

    A range of employers participate in a wonderful day to introduce our students to the World of Work. Interested in participating?  Please contact MRS O’DONNELL   [email protected] We would love to hear from you.

  • Year 9 Introduction to Career Planning Websites
    • Wellbeing Days
    • Lion Heart Challenge
    • Group interviews
    • 1:1 interventions
    • University visits
    • College visits.
  • Year 10 Employability & Work Experience
    • Skills Show at the NEC
    • Group interventions
    • 1:1 interventions
    • University visits
    • College visits.
  • Year 11 Transition into Further Education, Apprenticeships or Employment
    • 1:1 interventions
    • Record of Achievement
    • CV writing
    • Career Fayre
    • University visits
    • College visits
    • Apprenticeship support.
  • Special Educational Needs

    Pupils benefit from Careers advice information and guidance from Year 9 onwards.  ‘Careers Trips’ such as the Botanical Gardens to find out about Eco systems and Horticulture. College talk and tours and support for parents.

  • Interactive I touch screen

    The Upper School Virtual Learning Centre is resourced with careers information, 30 computers & an Interactive I touch screen for use with students. It is available for student use at some break and lunch times & before & after School.

    Career interviews take place in the Careers Zone.  All Year 11 students receive a 1:1 careers guidance interview with Mrs. O’Donnell starting in the Autumn term.

  • Parents Evenings

    Mrs O’Donnell is present at all events for parents to talk to.

  • Forth coming Careers events 2017/2018



    • 27th September 2017 – Cambridge University Year 9, 10 & 11.
    • 18h October 2017 – Maths & English Focus day at Edgbaston Cricket Ground. Year 10
    • 3rd November 2017 – Year 11 Apprenticeship Assembly
    • 17th November 2017 – Skills Show at the NEC. Year 10.
    • December 2017- TBC
    • January 2018 – Year 11 Careers Fayre
    • January 2018 – Year 7 Cambridge University
    • February 2018 – Year 11 Apprenticeship workshops
    • March 2018 – National Careers week w/c 6 March 2018
    • March 2018 – Big Bang Fair at the NEC.
    • April 2018 – TBC
    • May 2018 – TBC
    • June 2018 – ‘Waiters Week’ @ UCB Year 10
    • July 2018 Unifest
    • July 2018 – Rock Assembly @ Wembley
  • AIM HIGHER West Midlands 2017/18

    Smith’s Wood Academy works in coloration with Aimhigher West Midlands to provide students in Year 8 to Year 13 with opportunities to widen participation raise levels of aspiration and challenge misconceptions about University.  Graduate Mentors work with our students, they provide subject focus days, University & College visits and much more. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Universities from around the West midlands.

  • Life Ready

    Employability and Enterprise

    Smith’s Wood Academy has collaborated with the Life Ready Programme (Solihull) that provides a framework designed to develop independent, life ready young adults.  The programme is based on evidence from the Gatsby Foundation and the Confederation of British Industry.

    The shared vision of the Life Ready Solihull Programme is that ‘students leaving Smith’s Wood Academy will have the skills, knowledge and dynamism to reach their full career potential, to meet the needs of employers and to contribute to the economic growth of the borough’.

    We have a linked Enterprise Advisor from WM Housing – Claire Hardwick with works with the Academy to ensure we have real links with Employers in the Local Community.

  • Work Experience at Smith’s Wood Academy

    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.

  • Unifest

    20 students secured placements at our partner Universities in 2017, including Birmingham University, Worcester University and Aston University. This gives our students a real insight into University life as they get the chance to be part of University life for 2/3 days, attending lectures and staying in Halls of residence.

Careers Internet sites

The following websites are of use to pupils 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.