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Student Career Pathways

Welcome to Student Career Pathways


Mr Matcham is our Careers Lead. If you need to get in touch with him, email

We are proud that we were awarded 8/8 on the Gatsby Benchmark.

Gatsby Benchmark - The Cottesloe School

Careers Intent

Networking is a vital component of the modern and increasingly competitive world. Never has the adage ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’ been more pertinent, so the core of our philosophy is to help students to form valuable networks, which we hope will become a lifelong practice. 

At the end of July, all Year 10 students have a two week Work Experience. To help with this I have a network of five staff each with specific experience outside of the school environment who help and support the programme. You will also find in these pages details of our ‘Gold Star placements; employers who we highly recommend along with a list of our Partnership Employers, companies who have teamed up with us to offer apprenticeships to our students when they become available. In these pages, you will find all the admin and guidance needed to complete a successful Work Experience.

Throughout their time in Sixth Form students are expected to undertake Work Experience. Unlike Year 10 there is no set time of the year for this and no set duration, it can be in a block or preferably a variety of short placements spread over the two years. Sixth formers are also expected to work shadow and to be part of a regular enrichment programme, usually involving an hour or two a week with various local employers such as child care providers, the local primary school and care home. We have also networked with Loughborough University so that students can visit during the Autumn term. Students can also ‘student shadow’ undergraduates for a day at a number of participating organisations.

Online networking consists mainly of receiving regular updates from COA Limited who provide an update on developments within the career sectors from across the internet. We also make an annual pilgrimage to the Skills Show at NEC Birmingham. Another opportunity for Networking is the National Apprenticeship Show which we will be attending in March, and don’t forget our own Careers Fair.

The final source of Networking is through the universities and colleges that annually send us their details of open days. Independent Careers advice is essential for all students, and we are fortunate enough to be able to offer this in house. One of our aims at Careers@Cottesloe is to use careers advice to motivate and sometimes regenerate enthusiasm in students who have become disinterested and disengaged because they have no specific goals to work towards. Improved progress data is often indicative of the importance of this intervention. We measure the school's effectiveness through analysis of Destinations Data and by comparing our performance in relation to the Gatsby Benchmarks with other schools (Nationally). We currently have 7 of the 8 benchmarks and are 80% compliant with the 8th. Benchmarks are reviewed every half term.
We work on a three-year cycle and are obliged to keep information for this period of time. The next formal review is in 2024.

The major benefit to a school of this system is that there is little disruption to learning compared to students having to go off-site for this service. Our service is free, but you will also find on these pages contacts and costings for services that you can access independently.

We have a careers library located in C Block which is home to our famous Careers Tree where you can find the often astonishing and sometimes torturous paths your teachers have taken to get where they are now. This can be used for either inspiration or gossip. A job is temporary, a career is a lifelong journey of learning. Networking enables all students to become more confident, more empowered and responsible particularly concerning their career choices. If you are still reading this, congratulations, we have successfully networked.

Clive Matcham
QCF Dip. Careers Guidance. RCDP

Work Experience

Year 10 Work Experience 2023

The dates for this year are 10th July to 21st July.

We are in competition with all the schools in Aylesbury and Milton Keynes to secure the best placements. Don’t delay. Work Experience application forms are now available to download. See guidance notes to help complete the form.

What's with Work Experience?

Work Experience is a vital part of a rounded education. Let’s face it the whole reason we go to school is to become a fully functioning, positive member of society, and that in simple terms means becoming part of the work force; to pay taxes, to spend your disposable income and to do this for as long as possible. The technicalities of this are explained in this document. All things being equal you are more likely to continue to be member of the work force and therefore contribute to social cohesion, if you are happy at work. So finding the right job is really important and work experience can help you do that. To help you find out what works for you all Year 10 students are strongly advised to take up a two week work experience programme during the final part of the summer term.

So Why do Work Experience?

As I stated earlier I think work experience is one of the most valuable projects a student can undertake, so long as the placement is well thought through, and not just a two week holiday. Why? Well it helps you to network and this is key aspect of job hunting, it is not uncommon for a student to be offered an apprenticeship on the back of a successful work experience.  It can also confirm that your choice of career is sound or alternatively if the placement doesn’t go well, force you to reassess your options.
When applying for work, apprenticeships, college, sixth form or university your chance of acceptance is increased significantly if you have relevant work experience on your CV and personal statement. Most good nursing courses for example will expect a minimum of six weeks experience in public services as entry criteria, most of which would probably be voluntary. So you can get two of those weeks out of the way in Year 10.
The whole process of finding work, applying for work. Filling in forms and perhaps even being interviewed is an essential life skill, as indeed is the resilience you acquire by applying for work, being unsuccessful and having to try again; and again if necessary. Finding work is competitive and this is a good time to find this out for yourself.
And yes, providing work experience is a statutory requirement for all schools: you have to do it, we have to enable it.
So, get into the right frame of mind, start thinking like a job seeker, engage with StartProfile, download the work experience application form, check the recommended placements (PDF) list, make some calls, be prepared to be disappointed, keep trying and find a placement that will really help you in the future.

Parental Guidance

This section is for parents seeking to help their children on the next stage of their journey.


CareerMag - For Parents



What is an Apprenticeship?

Earn while you learn. An apprenticeship is a paid period of training that allows you to learn a particular skill or set of skills and can last between one and four years. 


What are my options?
Apprenticeships can be undertaken in a huge number of different sectors and industries, from agriculture to Zoo Keeping. Don’t expect to be paid a fortune, rates differ from apprenticeship to apprenticeship, so it’s best to shop around. One thing to remember is that your pay will go up in line with the skills you develop, so providers will invest in you. 

There are three levels of apprenticeships:

  • apprenticeships
  • advanced apprenticeships
  • higher apprenticeships

How much will I get paid?
You’re guaranteed a minimum wage of £3.90 per hour, a typical Dental Nurse Apprenticeship will pay on average at least twice this amount. Whilst you are earning between £4,940 and £13,000 a year your university friends are almost certainly acquiring a similar amount of debt particularly when you consider that university fees cost up to £9,000 per year. 

Careers and Future Finding Tools

Post 16


Writing a CV

Health Careers

Local Government Careers

Her Majesty's Government Communications Centre (HMGCC)

  • Design and deliver communication systems and provide technical solutions that protect national security at home and overseas, now and for the future.  They offer apprenticeships 

Women and STEM

Football Careers

Careers in Fashion

Health and Social Care

Milton Keynes Council now offers Degree Apprenticeships in partnership with The Open University for Social Work and Occupational Therapy.

Anyone can apply for these positions, however, having been involved in supporting with interviews last year I can advise that typically those who start working for the council as SW or OT Assistants are successful in application and selection as they have the desirable work experience and knowledge.

Assistant roles are available at various points during the year.

Interviews for the degree apprenticeships were advertised in early September, the shortlisting process concluded at the end of October and Interviews are taking place in early November (this is the usual timeline each year).

Recruitment has only just started again, however, there are slowly more jobs becoming available as the weeks go by.

All job posts, including Assistant and Apprenticeship roles, are posted on the council website as they become available:

Health and Social Care | Work Experience Contacts (PDF)

Milton Keynes Council | Careers in Health and Social Care (PDF)

Career Pathway in Health and Social Care (PDF)


  • This is Social Work at Milton Keynes Council Campaign

  • Milton Keynes Council Recruitment Campaign

  • Billy Shipp (Social Worker) 

  • Anita Bandy (Day Service Manager)

Inspiration And Motivation

My vision for Work Experience and Careers at the Cottesloe School

"Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life" Confucius 

The DFE states that the provision Work Experience and Careers guidance will be given, as of April 2014, higher priority in subsequent inspections. It specifies what schools ‘must’ provide and what they have a ‘duty’ to provide. The differentiation between these two key words will determine whether a school is designated as ‘requires improvement’ or ‘good’. As I share the school’s determination to be considered ‘good’ or better, my vision for Work Experience and Careers is to provide a service that embraces both statutory requirements and exemplary practice.

My personal ethos is that Work Experience and Careers advice is not just a necessary preparation for the post 16 future but is vital to inspire and motivate students to raise their academic attainment in the present. On this website you will find an index which, when all the individual elements are combined, represent my vision for Inspiration and Motivation at The Cottesloe School.

Careers guidance interviews at Key Stage 4 are a means by which I can provide targeted interventions for students struggling to reach the necessary academic levels required to access education at post 16 or apprenticeships. Currently, a substantial number of Year 10 students participate in Work Experience; those who do not take up this option are given the opportunity in Year 12. My aim is to achieve 100% participation within the next two years. I currently have a large portfolio of businesses that already have the necessary clearance to take on Work Experience students. For inspiration look at our recommended and Gold Star placements on this site.

I have formed a small team of colleagues whose expertise and knowledge is vital not only in helping students to find placements but in supporting them during their Work Experience.
In my opinion there are two major contributing factors in raising academic attainment: high quality teaching, and inspired and motivated students. A coordinated careers provision has an important role in the latter. Therefore, raised attainment at Key Stage 4 and 5 and the increased number of students attending our Sixth Form and then progressing to universities, apprenticeships and employment, is both my ambition and my success criteria.

Labour Market Information

Labour Market Information (LMI) tells you about the workplace, or labour market. LMI describes the condition of the labour market, past and present, as well as future projections. The word future here is important.
Let’s say that you want to be a builder, at the moment the building industry is robust in this area, but what is the forecast for the future, particularly when you will be qualified and looking for a job?
Getting a job and making a career is a strategic process. If you are tied to certain geographic area then getting a job in your chosen field of interest might be problematic if that industry is in decline or even doesn’t have a footprint in that area yet. Now the word yet becomes important.
Because LMI will tell you if this footprint is imminent or unlikely ever to exist. This gives you powerful knowledge to inform your career choices and where you might end up living.
StartProfile not only helps you to find a career but will also tell you whether the employment opportunities in your chosen geographical area are strong or weak.

Labour Market Information by region (January - March 2020)
The National Careers Service e-Pack