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Careers Education

Welcome to Careers Education


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

Work Experience

Year 10 Work Experience 2024

The dates for this year are 10th July to 23rd July.

We are in competition with all the schools in Aylesbury and Milton Keynes to secure the best placements. It will be the responsibility of the student to find a placement. Don’t delay.  You and your parents/carers must complete your Unifrog profile by 12th April 2024. If you already have a placement lined up, please ensure that the employer information is completed on your Unifrog profile under Placements. There is a video on our to fill out your student initial form (VIDEO)

Work Experience Checklist

  1.  Complete the online Unifrog Profile (link)
  2. Find a placement. There are some recommendations on the website
  3. Contact the employer by phone or email
  4. Arrange an interview
  5. Ensure that this information is entered on Unifrog
  6. Unifrog will then send an email to your employer and then your parents
  7. Begin your Work Experience on the given date
  8. Your employer will be asked to complete the Employer Placement Feedback Form via Unifrog
  9. You will then complete a Student Placement Feedback Form via Unfrog.


What is Work Experience?

Work Experience is a vital part of a rounded education. The whole reason we go to school is to become fully functioning, positive members of society, and that in simple terms means becoming part of the workforce; paying taxes, spending your disposable income and doing this for as long as possible. You are more likely to continue to be a member of the workforce 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.

Why do Work Experience?

Work experience is one of the most valuable projects a student can undertake as the placement is well thought through. It helps you to network and this is a 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 of 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, and we have to enable it.

Get into the right frame of mind and start thinking like a job seeker!

To view companies that offer work experience use this spreadsheet (link)

Statutory Information | Provider Access

Application for Provider Access    


This document sets out the school’s arrangements for managing the access of providers to pupils at the school for the purpose of giving them information about the provider’s education or training offer. This complies with the school’s legal obligations under Section 42B of the Education Act 1997.    

Pupil entitlement

All pupils in years 7 to 13 are entitled:

  • to find out about technical education qualifications and apprenticeships opportunities, as part of a careers programme which provides information on the full range of education and training options available at each transition point
  • to hear from a range of local providers about the opportunities they offer, including technical education and apprenticeships – through options events, assemblies and group discussions and taster events
  • to understand how to make applications for the full range of academic and technical courses.    

Management of provider access requests  


A provider wishing to request access should contact Mr C. Matcham or Mrs N. Hulland

Telephone 01296 688264


Opportunities for access  

The school offers a comprehensive Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance programme and an overview of this programme can be seen in the School’s Careers Charter which can be seen on the school website.   Please speak to our Careers Advisor to identify the most suitable opportunity for you.   The school will make a suitable space available for discussions between the provider and students, as appropriate to the activity. The school will also make available ICT and other specialist equipment to support provider presentations. This will all be discussed and agreed upon in advance of the visit with the Careers Advisor or a member of their team.

Providers are welcome to leave a copy of their prospectus or other relevant course literature with the Careers Advisor so that they can be displayed in the Careers Section of the school library.  

Education Act 1997 (link)

Skills and Post-16 Education Act 2022 (link)


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

Cottesloe Careers Provision

Welcome to The Cottesloe School Careers Plan (PDF), this gives each Year Group guidance as to what Career Pathway Opportunities are planned throughout the school year; to get students thinking ahead when planning their career pathway. The plan is set for the next three years, opportunities will arise and events may be added.

We hope that there is something for every student to look forward to.

Mr Matcham | Careers Consultant

Careers Fair 2025

If you would like to exhibit at our very popular Careers Fair on 6th February 2025, you can sign up now!

Sign-up Form

Inspiration And Motivation

Vision for Work Experience and Careers at the Cottesloe School

The DFE states that the provision of 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 keywords 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 are not just 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 that, 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 are 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 to 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.


Please see our dedicated page (link)

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:

Career Pathway in Health and Social Care | Milton Keynes Council (Link) this website contains links to videos and presentations. 

Buckinghamshire Skills Hub

Careers newsletter for families | November 2023





T-Levels are a new qualification designed to give you a head start towards the future you want. They follow GCSEs and are equivalent to 3 A-Levels. The 2-year qualification of full-time study, or 3 years if studying a transition programme, brings classroom and work placement together, on a course designed with employers and businesses. For more information see the Government website (link). The (PDF) below shows what T-Levels are available.


LinkedIn for Sixth Formers

How to kick start your career online

Buckinghamshire Skill Hub shared the importance of having an LinkedIn Profile (link).


Labour Market Information (LMI)

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 a 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, the word 'yet' becomes important. | The LMI for All portal provides high-quality, reliable labour market information (LMI) to inform career decisions.

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 overview, UK Statistical bulletins | Estimates of employment, unemployment, economic inactivity and other employment-related statistics for the UK.

National Careers Service provides career information, advice and guidance. We can help you to make decisions on learning, training and work at all stages in your career.

SEND Post-16

Talkback developing a world of possibilities

Transitions work with young autistic people and other learning disabilities. So, we help make the important transitions in each stage of their life. As well as dealing with anxieties and life’s challenges. Because they can often be overwhelming.

Alternative Learning is for people who, for any reason, feel unable to study within the standard college setting. Because we understand college is not for everyone. So making provisions to ensure those who do not attend college can still develop their life skills is a key part of what we do. 

Bucks Skills Hub

Confident Futures Skills Show 2024, is now open! The Confident Futures Skills Show is a progression event that explores next steps and provides careers inspiration for students with SEND and other barriers. It breaks down obstacles and enables young people, their parents and carers, and job seekers to explore the future with a range of employers, supported internship providers, next steps education and social care providers.

Please book your free tickets on this link:

Confident Futures Skills Show 2024

Event details

Date: Tuesday 11th June 2024 

Time: 3:30 – 5:30 pm

Location: Bowls Centre, Stoke Mandeville Stadium, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP21 9PP 

Post-16 education and training

Buckinghamshire Council have a dedicated site for young people with SEND

Parental Guidance

Click on the picture above

Unifrog – The Complete Destinations Platform

In keeping with our commitment to provide students with outstanding careers guidance and tailored support when choosing their next steps after school, we will now be using Unifrog; an award-winning, online destinations platform. All students in Years 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 now have access to this website.

Unifrog is the universal destinations platform and is designed to support learners in making the most informed decisions about their futures and has a range of tools that are suitable for all year groups. Each student has their own account where they can explore all the career and next-step options available to them and find information on everything from managing their workload to writing a winning CV. Students have access to a wide variety of video and written content, and interactive quizzes and tests, including:

Section of the platform

Examples of what students can do

Suitable age range


Finding their interests, personality type, preferred work environment, and skillset.

Years 7-13

Exploring pathways

Explore careers, career sectors, subjects, sign up to free webinars, explore MOOCs and courses, and find wider reading materials.

Years 7-13

Recording what you’ve done

Record their in-class and extracurricular activities, record examples of their skills, and see the record of CEIAG events the school has added to their accounts.

Years 7-13

Searching for opportunities

Find scholarships, activities, and bursaries to support their HE journey. Find and compare degrees in the UK and overseas, live apprenticeships, and FE courses.

Years 10-13

Application materials / Making applications

Write their CV, cover letter, Personal Statement, and more. Track their applications and record their Post 16 / 18 intentions.

Years 11-13

Students access the platform by clicking a link in their welcome email, where they create a password and can begin using the platform. They sign in to Unifrog using their email address and password and they can do so from any computer, tablet, or smartphone. We would encourage you to use the platform with your child so you can support them through the process of deciding their next step.

You can also have your own Unifrog account. You’ll be able to research careers, attend webinars delivered by employers and universities to learn more about their opportunities and compare pathways so you can support your child in making an informed decision about their next steps. The sign-up code you need is: CONYparents and you can sign up here: You can also sign up to Unifrog’s parent/carer newsletter when you first sign in to get expert advice and guidance on supporting your child with their next steps.

For more information, go to or contact your child’s form tutor.


CareerMag - For Parents



Apprenticeship Opportunities with Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

NHS apprenticeships

Earn, learn and make a difference with an NHS apprenticeship. Our apprenticeships offer routes into many of the more than 350 NHS careers through a mix of on-the-job training and classroom learning. 


What you need to know about NHS apprenticeships

  • many NHS employers will pay you more than the minimum wage
  • if you are aged 16 to 18 or 19+ and in your first year of an apprenticeship, the minimum you should receive is £5.28 an hour (the National Minimum Wage for apprentices)
  • apprenticeships take between one and five years to complete 
  • anyone over the age of 16 can do one
  • over a week, you're likely to spend the equivalent of four days on work placement and one day at a training centre or college
  • you'll develop your skills, including English and maths
  • you'll gain a competence qualification (based on what you can do in the workplace) and a knowledge qualification, or a qualification combining both


Apprenticeship levels

NHS apprenticeships are available at several levels:

  • level 2 - equivalent to GCSEs 
  • level 3 - equivalent to A-levels 
  • levels 4 and 5 - equivalent to a foundation degree and above
  • levels 6 and 7 - equivalent to a full bachelor’s or Master’s degree

Entry requirements

Entry requirements will depend on the employer and the type and level of apprenticeship.

For example, you may need four or five GCSEs at grades 9-4/A-C or equivalent to do a level 3 apprenticeship. To start a level 5 or 6 apprenticeship you're likely to need A-levels, equivalent level 3 qualifications or relevant and sufficient experience.