Image of a teacher making notes about the Gatsby benchmarks

 by Jamie Bytheway
, posted On 10 Mar '20
 Greater Manchester Higher Operations Manager

How can universities support schools to implement all of the Gatsby Benchmarks?

Employers aren’t the only people who can support you to implement the Gatsby benchmarks - universities can too! Career aspirations play a significant role in decision-making about higher education and although university outreach professionals are not careers specialists, a lot of the activity they deliver can contribute towards the benchmarks.

As the Gatsby benchmarks are prominent in statutory careers guidance, a number of universities and collaborative partnerships such as the Uni Connect programme (this is new name for NCOP) are mapping their activity to the benchmarks to help schools and colleges easily understand how outreach activities can support towards their statutory obligations.

Please see a summary below for each benchmark and how universities can support you:

1. A stable careers programme

University outreach is most effective when delivered as part of a planned programme, so ensure your Careers Leader knows what is on offer to your school or college!

2. Learning from career and labour market information

Although university outreach teams are not labour market specialists, some will be working with local organisations such as the Careers and Enterprise Company to deliver activities that reflect the local high-level skills need. An example of this would be a STEM taster day, that brings together employers and academics to highlight industry routes.

3. Addressing the needs of each pupil

Most universities deliver activity targeted at specific groups such as looked after children and care leavers, disabled students, young carers and other specific pupil groups. Some will also deliver 1-2-1 interventions such as mentoring.

Image of a checklist

4. Linking curriculum learning to careers

The government has been encouraging universities to do more to support attainmentraising in school over the last few years, therefore some universities will offer activities that directly support the national curriculum such as English and Maths tuition or teacher CPD.

5. Encounters with employers and employees

A number of university outreach activities will involve employers (usually alumni) as guest speakers to talk about their journey into employment. Some mentoring programmes will also connect learners with people in industry.

6. Experiences of workplaces

As highlighted in Benchmark 5 above, some university outreach programmes will involve employers and in a few cases, this may include visits to workplaces alongside sessions delivered in school/college and on campus.

7. Encounters with further and higher education

Everything universities do will support this benchmark. However, be aware that most universities do not have the capacity to support whole year group visits and some activities will have specific learner targeting criteria due to how the activity is funded.

8. Personal guidance

Some universities will also deliver 1-2-1 interventions such as mentoring or personal statement support.

Teachers, careers colleagues and support staff: request your FREE UniTasterDays Teachers' Guide to University brochure.

This brochure has been produced by in collaboration with HELOA - to support the university guidance that is provided in secondary schools and colleges.

Editorial has been provided by over 35 colleagues at universities and higher education institutions throughout the UK. On topics covering how to support students with their university decisions, university events, widening participation & fair access, UCAS applications (including writing school references) and more. It also includes the key student finance facts from Martin Lewis.

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