A school and college
guide to working
with universities to
support your Gatsby
Please note: this blog is using content provided by Grace Sheldon, whilst working with Greater Manchester Higher. It was used in the UniTasterDays Teachers' Guide to University brochure.
Since the Gatsby Benchmarks came to
prominence in the government’s statutory careers
guidance, they’ve become increasingly important
in shaping school and college relationships with
Many universities and collaborative partnerships
(such as the Uni Connect programme) map their
outreach provision to the Gatsby Benchmarks so
schools/colleges can easily see how activities
support their CEIAG priorities.
Benchmark 7 is the ‘bread and butter’ and yes, institutions
can organise campus visits (with restrictions) but
they can support with so much more!
Below is a very brief summary of how universities
can provide support across ALL 8 of the
Gatsby Benchmark 1. A stable careers programme
University outreach is most effective when
delivered as part of a progressive programme.
Careers Leaders should work closely with local
outreach staff to plan a package of activity that
helps deliver their strategic careers plan.
Gatsby Benchmark 2. Learning from career and labour market
Whilst university outreach teams are not labour
market specialists, many 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 would be a
STEM taster day, that brings together employers
and academics to highlight industry routes.
Gatsby Benchmark 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. If specific
student needs are discussed in advance, outreach
staff can tailor support appropriately.
Gatsby Benchmark 4. Linking curriculum learning to careers
The government has been encouraging
universities to do more to support attainment
raising 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.
Gatsby Benchmark 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
Gatsby Benchmark 6. Experiences of workplaces
Some university outreach programmes may
include visits to workplaces alongside sessions
delivered in school/college and on campus.
Gatsby Benchmark 7. Encounters with further and higher education
Universities offer talks, visits and taster sessions
that support all elements of Benchmark 7. These
activities are most effective when delivered as
part of a whole school strategic plan. Targeting
those students that will most benefit from the
activities is also important. 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.
Gatsby Benchmark 8. Personal guidance
Some universities will also deliver 1-2-1
interventions such as mentoring or personal
Finally - A top tip:
The key to making the most of what
universities can offer is effective planning
and collaborative working. Discuss both your
school/college priorities and those of the
university/collaborative network, then work
together to create a plan that works for both!
This is more likely to result in sustainable
impact than a one off request.