Careers Guidance

Careers team:

01206 572253

Serena Kay- Assistant Head/ Lead

Lisa Copeland- Careers Coordinator or  

Laura Eaves- Independent careers advisor 



At St Helena our aim is to prepare students for life beyond school by providing them with a range of careers-related guidance and opportunities for learning about the world of work. 

Our curriculum offers both technical and academic qualifications that link directly to opportunities post-16. 

More information can be found in the Careers Info document below.


We welcome opportunities for providers of technical qualifications and apprenticeships to offer guidance and support for our students about the range of options available to them. 

Our policy statement on Technical Qualifications and Apprenticeships can be downloaded below. If you are a provider and would be interested in arranging a session for our students to find out more about what you offer, please contact us.


We measure the success of our CEIAG programme via feedback from parents on any aspects of the CEIAG programme to the Careers Co-ordinator and Assistant Head – both of these staff attend Parents’ Evenings. Additional feedback is gathered from students annually regarding the quality of the CEIAG they receive.  Each year in the Autumn Term we confirm the number of NEET students, who have not yet accessed further education via a full-time education provision or an apprenticeship, in line with legal requirements.  

A range of careers information and resources is also available further down this page. 

Click here to view open/information events for 2019/2020 entry.

Our annual policy will be reviewed in February 2023.

Careers Info 2019-20

Technical Qualifications and Apprenticeships

Year Group Activities

Year 7

Dream Jobs – introduction to careers with students looking at what they might like to do in the future.                     


Work Related Learning - 'Careers club' and a suite of online resources are available to students.

Year 8

Job Explorer Database (JED) - introduction to investigating different careers and job opportunities.


Work Related Learning - 'Careers club' and a suite of online resources are available to students.

Year 9


Careers and Apprenticeship Day - Students can talk to colleges and businesses who offer apprenticeships and apprenticeship training, this ties in with work they will have done exploring what an apprenticeship is.


CV writing - introduction to writing their first CV.


Work Related Learning - 'Careers club' and a suite of online resources are available to students.



Year 10

CV writing - follows up from the year 9 work and completion of a full CV.

Mock interview – This takes place with the support of employers from local businesses, school Governors and members of the Rotary club.

Careers Guidance interviews available to students on request.

Work Related Learning - 'Careers club' and a suite of online resources are available to students.


Year 11

Further education providers are invited to support this year group make their final decision. Students have until Christmas to apply for their Post 16 choice.

Colchester Schools Careers Convention in October. Parents are invited to an evening session for any follow up questions.

Careers guidance interviews available to students on request.

Work Related Learning - 'Careers club' and a suite of online resources are available to students.

Further Education

Whether you have a clear career idea in mind or not, figuring out what your next steps will be after school (your ‘Post-16 options’) can be overwhelming and tricky! There are a range of different paths and options available to you- however, it is important that you are aware that all young people between the ages of 16-18 must participate in some form of education or training.


Therefore your choices after year 11 include:


Full time education: such as school, college or a sixth form. After you have completed these courses you might want to consider attending University. 

Work based learning: such as an Apprenticeship, Traineeship or Pre-apprenticeship programme

Self-employment or volunteering: along with the completion of part time study


In this section we are going to focus on Educational routes. The educational routes you might choose take straight after finishing school are called ‘Further education’ (FE) routes. This could consist of a full time college course, or a part time course which you would complete either as part of an apprenticeship/ traineeship programme or complete alongside Self-employment/ volunteering.


If you enjoy classroom learning, studying a range of different subjects and completing exams and coursework, then an academic college course at a Sixth Form College might be a suitable route for you. However, if you like the idea of focusing on one subject and enjoy a mix of practical learning (such as work experience) alongside completing coursework and minimal involvement with exams then a vocational route might be for you. Equally, if you are keen to get into the world of work, and like the idea of ‘earning while you learn’ then an apprenticeship or traineeship would be a suitable option.


Further down the line when you turn 18, you might choose to stay in education and progress down a ‘Higher Education’ (HE) route. This could involve attending university, either as part of a full time course or even a degree apprenticeship.


The websites provided on this page include lots of useful information, tips and guidance about each of these routes, to help you get a better idea on which path might be best for you.





  • Russell Group - gives some useful information on A’ level subject choice and progression to university.


  • Best course for me - a user friendly website with lots of information about A’ level and degree course choices. 


  • International Baccalaureate Facebook Page – an engaging Facebook page which providing you with an insight on what taking the International Baccalaureate as a post-16 choice would involve. Check out the wall and see what students around the world say!


  • International Baccalaureate Website – This website includes information for both students and parents on the International Baccalaureate as a post-16 choice and how it might differ from A level and BTEC qualifications.


  • My Student Events – includes lots of articles, quizzes and polls, many of which are based around Further Education routes



  • Game Plan (Kings College) - This is a free games-based website provided by Kings College London which allows 10-14 year old's explore University through games! Design your own avatar, earn points and move up the national leader board as you complete each challenge designed to equip you with everything you need to know about the future! 


  • Uni Explorer – an interactive map containing information on all aspects of University life, to give you a real feel of what it might be like to attend University



  • Which University? (YouTube) – A set of videos, providing useful information, tips and guidance to help you make a decision about whether University is right for you and if so, which one is the best to go to!


  • Which University? – This page is filled with practical advice written by careers experts, universities and current university students to help you through your choices leading up to university


Choosing your subjects
Further Education (College? University?)




  • UCAS – useful search engine which helps you to discover more about what different colleges offer in terms of courses and whether these courses would be suitable for you


  • Apply to Uni – thinking about University? Then this link will provide you with lots of useful information


Perfecting your college application


Do you feel an educational route is for you? Then you might benefit from reading the following guidelines to give yourself the best chance of getting onto the course of your choice in the college(s) you are interested in:


  • Personal Statement Guidelines – many colleges require you to complete a personal statement so it’s important that you get this right and showcase yourself in the best possible light


  • Personal Statement Example – If you feel it would help to see an example of a previous personal statement, then look at the following example for ideas of how you might structure your statement and information that you might include


  • Preparing for a College interview – once your application has been submitted, the next stage is usually a college interview – these guidelines will help you to feel prepared and ace that interview

Work Related Paths

In this section we are going to focus on Work related routes. As you will need to participate in some form of education and training until you are 18, if you are to choose a work related path it will most likely involve completing either an apprenticeship or traineeship.  Both of these routes combine practical on the job training with study. In most cases, you will work 4 days a week and have one day at college, where you will be completing a recognised qualification in the industry you are working for. This route will allow you to earn a wage, work with and learn from industry professionals as well as develop valuable job specific skills.  The key differences between apprenticeships and traineeships are as follows:


  • Apprenticeships: for an apprenticeship, it would be beneficial to have some previous work experience (this could include any work experience undertaken whilst at school, or any volunteering positions). In addition, apprenticeships have different levels; Intermediate/ level 2 (which is the equivalent to 5 GCSE passes at grades A*-C), Advanced/ level 3 (which is the equivalent to 2 A level passes), Higher/levels 4-7 (which will consist of a foundation degree or above), and Degree/level 6 & 7 (which is equivalent to a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree).


  • Traineeships: is a course with work experience that gets you ready for work or an apprenticeship. It can last up to 6 months and is suitable for individuals who have little or no work experience.


If you are interested in pursuing a work related path and feel that an apprenticeship or traineeship is not suitable for you, then it is likely that you will secure some other form of work, self-employment or a voluntary position. You will need to work in these roles for 20 hours a week or more, and complete a part time study course.


The websites provided on this page include lots of useful information, tips and guidance about each of these routes, to help you get a better idea on which path might be best for you.




  • GOV.UK -  provides lots of useful information on how to become an apprentice, includes a live vacancy board where you can search and apply for apprenticeships as well as some useful guides on apprenticeships and how to write a winning application form



  • Amazing Apprenticeships - Includes free resources, vacancies and other useful information on apprenticeships – useful for both staff/parents and students



  • AIM Apprenticeships - A company which provide some useful information on apprenticeships – they have an online CV builder, an advice centre with useful articles and blogs as well as apprenticeship vacancies in locations across the UK


  • The National Apprenticeship website ‘Get in Go far’ - an interactive website with information on apprenticeships for students, parents, teachers and employers






  • Not going to Uni - This website is the ' one stop site' for apprenticeships, gap years, distance learning and jobs, including Articles and real-time advice about what to do next, perfect for those considering an apprenticeship 






Volunteering & Part time employment


  • The St Helena School Job Hunting Guide – this comprehensive guide includes information on the best places to look for jobs, as well as the best way to approach and sell yourself to future employers.



  • ‘’ – A great place to look for local volunteering opportunities within your area of interest




  • Vinspired – look for volunteering opportunities using the UK's leading volunteering charity for 14 - 25 year olds. Vinspired helps young people to make their mark on causes that they care about, whilst learning new skills and talents along the way


  • Volunteer Essex – enables you to search for local volunteering opportunities in the Essex area which will provide you with valuable work related skills and experiences for your CV


  • National Citizen Service (NCS) – This is an exclusive opportunity open to all 16 and 17 year olds in Essex which will provide you with the opportunity to learn some fantastic new skills, meet some amazing new people and find out how you can make a real difference in your local community.



  • Centre supporting voluntary action ‘CVS’ Chelmsford - Useful website to search for volunteering opportunities in the Chelmsford area


  • TCV Conservation Volunteers - a chance to search for local volunteering opportunities within communities where your contribution could have a lasting impact on people’s health, prospects and outdoor places.   


  • ‘The Job Search Handbook’ – This document was put together by the School’s Careers Coordinator with support from other members of staff and charities (such as the Prince’s Trust). It includes a large range of websites advertising employment and volunteering opportunities within particular sectors as well as providing useful sector specific information. Please note that this document is reviewed on an annual basis and not all of the opportunities advertised on this website will be applicable for those under the age of 18.


Entrepreneurial guidance




  • The Colchester Business Enterprise Agency (COLBEA) – a non-profit organisation which is dedicated to supporting young entrepreneurs with their business ideas

Your Career Path

When it comes to thinking about what you would want to do with your life it is usually difficult to know where to start! What careers and jobs are out there in the big wide world? How can I be sure that they will they suit me? What do I need to do in order to work in a certain job/ industry?


The websites below will provide you with useful information, tips and guidance which could help you to answer these important questions, and gain a better idea about what you might like to do after finishing school

  • The Prince’s Trust – includes some simple steps to help you on the path to career happiness 



What is your dream job?


  • JED (Job Explorer Database to help you find out about 100s of jobs). Not sure what you want to do? Take the ‘Suits me’ quiz to discover and learn more about jobs that could suit your personality and interests: (Password: brzczf38)



  • The Careers Gateway - The Careers Gateway brings together thousands of useful links for finding out about careers and higher education choices:





  • My Student Events – includes ‘are you cut out to be…’ quizzes, which could help in finding out whether certain careers are for you.  In addition there are lots of useful articles and polls on this website


How can you work towards this?


  • JED (Job Explorer Database to help you find out about 100s of jobs). It includes lots of information on what certain jobs involve and useful advice and tips on how to land the job of your dreams

        (Password: brzczf38)



Employability Skills

Whatever you are planning to do when you finish school, it is really important that you start to think about what you will need to be successful in the big wide world. Of course working hard and making sure you leave school with good grades will be important, but in addition to this, it’s important to think about other skills and qualities you might need to be successful, which may not be academic. These could be a multitude of things including; for example, being able to talk about yourself confidently in a positive light, whether this be as part of an apprenticeship or college application, or even an application for part time work. It is important you are able to identify and express the great skills and qualities you possess in both a written and verbal format.


Therefore, in this section there is a range of different resources that will help you to hone these skills by providing you with tips and guidance on the following:


  • Writing a CV & Cover Letter – every time that you apply for a certain job or work related learning opportunity (such as an apprenticeship or voluntary position), you will be required to provide either a CV or cover letter (or both!). Therefore, this is a skill you will need for the rest of your life to ensure success on future endeavours so it is important that you start thinking about developing this skill sooner, rather than later. Equally, if you are pursuing an academic route such as college or university, the process of completing a CV and/or cover letter will help you to think about what you have achieved and what you can offer when completing your course applications and personal statements.


  • Application Form resources – much the same as CV’s and Cover letters, this is often something you will be required to provide when you apply for a certain job or work related learning opportunity (such as an apprenticeship or voluntary position). It will cover some of the same ground as a CV and cover letter, but will usually be structured in a different way, so it is important that you become familiar with this format and the kind of information you will need to include.·        


  • Managing your online presence - It’s a slightly scary thought, but any thoughts or opinions you put online could be there forever. According to a 2014 Jobsite Social Recruiting Survey, 93% of recruiters check a candidate’s social profiles before making a hiring decision. Therefore, it’s important to make sure your digital footprint sends the right message about who you are – no matter whose reading.·        


  • Presentation skills – developing presentation skills provides a great opportunity for you to build upon your confidence, and therefore begin to feel more comfortable in expressing to others your positive qualities and what you can offer employers and colleges/ universities’. In addition, presentations are becoming an increasingly common part of the application process when applying for jobs – employers want to test that you have good communication skills and presentations are a key way to explore this. Therefore, it’s important you work hard to develop this skill.


Barclay’s Life Skills – Is a fantastic, user friendly resource for school leavers, packed with lots of videos, activities and information which can help you with your CV’s, cover letters, applications, interviews and many more! Click on the link and create a free account to discover more:


University of Kent Careers Page – While designed for University students, this website is still a great resource as it includes a lots of information and guidance on CV’s, Cover letters, application forms, interviews and many more!


The Princes Trust – Provides top tips and videos to help you to boost your confidence and be successful

CV & Cover letter writing resources
  • CV Guidelines Booklet – The St Helena School CV Guidelines booklet includes a range of activities which can help you to identify your key strengths and skills, as well as providing guidance on the best way to include them in your CV

  • CV Template – The St Helena School CV template provides a suggested structure for you to follow when creating your CV

  • Cover Letter Guidelines – The St Helena School Cover Letter guidelines provides some useful tips and activities to help you structure and write a cover letter

Application form resources
  • Application Form Guidelines Booklet – includes information, tips and examples of things to include in each section of a typical application form (i.e. for apprenticeships)

Managing your online profile (social media)
  • Reppler (YouTube) – an interesting video that highlights just how important it is to ensure your online profile is professional – as 91% of employers are currently using social media profiles as a way of checking candidates’ suitability for roles

Presentation skills resources

Interview skills resources

  • Interview Skills Guidelines Booklet – the St Helena Interview Skills booklet includes a breakdown of the different types of interviews and what to expect, as well as some common interview questions to prepare for and the best way to answer them.


Resources for  Parents

To ensure that you are well equipped to help us, help your young people prepare themselves for their next steps after school and the wider job market as a whole, we have included a list of specific resources aimed at parents/carers, as well as a summary of all the essential ‘need to know’ information.


  • Information Factsheet for School leavers – this factsheet was put together by the Essex County Council and includes information on opportunities for young people within Essex, all the local college options for year 11 students, a summary of apprenticeships, traineeships and foundation learning as well as some useful websites to look at to find out more. In addition, the contact details for the Employability and Skills Intervention Team are included who can help by providing information, advice and guidance to parents/ carers to support the family decision making for career options and next steps.


  • Barclays Life Skills – includes a specific page for parents and carers with information on how you can help your son or daughter succeed in a job interview and prepare for the 21st century workplace


  • ‘Apply to Uni’ – has a specific advice and guidance page for parents/carers with a range of different articles helping you to prepare and support your young people to go to University  


  • Parent Adviser – A website for parents/carers with a range of different articles helping you to prepare and support your young people to go to University



  • Game Plan (Kings College) - This free website provides an exclusive advice page for parents which provides a wide range of information, expert advice and crucial hints and tips to empower you to plan ahead and guide your child to University and beyond 


Financial support post-16

Your child may be entitled to some financial support to continue in education once they leave St Helena School.

Please click here for more information on this.

The September Guarantee


The September Guarantee is a guarantee of an offer, made by the end of September, of an appropriate place in post-16 education or training for every young person completing compulsory education.


Ensuring that every young person has an offer of a place to progress onto is particularly important as it helps young people make a seamless transition into post-16 learning or employment with training.


Please click here for more information.

St Helena School

Sheepen Road, Colchester, CO3 3LE 


Phone: 01206 572253

The Sigma Trust t/a St Helena School

Walton Road, Clacton-on-Sea, CO15 6DZ

Registered Company No:  07926573

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