University Tips Blog
Image of a checklist to resemble the Gatsby Benchmarks
A headshot image of the author, Carl Mansell-Griffiths

by Carl Mansell-Griffiths

Head of Student Recruitment at Harper Adams University

posted on 1 Nov '22

A guide to the Gatsby Benchmarks and how universities can support you to achieve them

Joint author: Erin Wilson, Student Recruitment Assistant at Lancaster University

Gatsby Benchmarks define what careers provision in education should look like. Most universities have an extensive list of talks and workshops, which we spend a great deal of time developing alongside our colleagues in schools and colleges and various bodies, such as HELOA and UCAS. Most of this is created with you, and the Gatsby Benchmarks, in mind.

Therefore, as soon as you dip into the support offered by universities; you are automatically going to be meeting several benchmarks. For example, at Lancaster University, our Choosing a Course and University talk is designed to target Benchmarks 1, 2 and 7: establishing a university contact, learning about the market of higher education, and engaging with a university. Below are a few more examples of how we at universities provide support that links to the Gatsby Benchmarks.

Gatsby Benchmark 1: A stable careers programme

Dedicated contact points within universities will work with you to gain an understanding of your careers programme and how they can support you.

Gatsby Benchmark 2: Learning from careers and labour market information

Students can explore careers and labour market information through networking events and understand what to expect in an ever-evolving job market through a range of higher education organised events, such as taster days.

Gatsby Benchmark 3: Addressing the needs of each student

We know one size does not fit all, so we’re always trying to provide diverse information, as well as identifying ways to provide 1-2-1 guidance at higher education fairs and drop-in sessions.

Image of a teacher planning their careers activities

Gatsby Benchmark 4: Linking curriculum learning to careers

Universities look to connect academics, careers teams and teachers to help understand how they can develop a cohesive journey from school to career.

Gatsby Benchmark 5: Encounters with employers and employees

Universities are keen to showcase the destinations of their students. This often takes the form of alumni representation at events, and this is a great way for students to start understanding the career paths that they may explore.

Gatsby Benchmark 6: Experiences of workplaces

Many universities and their careers teams are keen to support schools in their understanding of how to approach work placements.

Gatsby Benchmarks 7: Encounters with further and higher education

Those of us working within higher education are always exploring ways to better connect with students. Whether it is the main route for them or not, we want to make sure that the options are clear and available.

Gatsby Benchmark 8: Personal guidance

You know your students well and will certainly be providing guidance where you can. However, school liaison and widening participation teams are also available and trained to speak to and support students with their queries about their next steps, be that at school, through admissions calls, or residentials and open days.

The Gatsby Benchmarks are designed to give your students the best chance in the future, whatever their plans may be. Remember, we are here to help, and we’re always looking to shape our resources and support to help you meet the needs of the curriculum, CEIAG support, and your students’ futures. Use universities to your advantage!

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