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Careers & Employability

Information for Parents and Students

Our careers programme

Great Western Academy recognises the importance of careers education and work-related learning. We want young people to have every opportunity to fulfil their future career aspirations. Therefore, we believe it is crucial that students make informed decisions about their next steps, whether at 16 or after Sixth Form at 18.

Preparing students for the world of work and helping with their employability is a key priority.  We talk frequently about the importance of academic qualifications in getting students ‘to the door’ of potential employers or higher education providers, and we also talk about the importance of enterprise skills in helping to get ‘through the door’.  Ultimately, our vision is for learners to leave GWA with humble confidence, ready to lead successful lives.

GWA is committed to providing a planned programme of careers education, information, advice and guidance for all students in Years 7-13.  This includes personal guidance, careers focussed PSHE and Successful Lives tutor lessons, curriculum opportunities, work experience, visits to Colleges and Universities, talks by employers, apprenticeship providers and Universities, careers fairs, employability workshops and other career related events.

You can download a copy of our careers programme here

Further useful information for students, parents and teachers can be found here

Our careers programme is reviewed and published in September each year.

Use of Labour Market Information

At GWA, we utilise Labour Market information to ensure students are planning careers that not only suit their interests, skills and passions but that are also needed in today's changing careers landscape. Students are taught about LMI when making their GCSE choices in Year 9 and information is regularly shared throughout Year 10 and 11 to allow students to make informed choices about their futures. You can read the most recent LMI for Swindon and Wiltshire here

Meeting the Gatsby Benchmarks

The Gatsby Benchmarks are a framework of 8 guidelines defining the best careers provision in schools and colleges. They form part of the new statutory guidance relating to careers education, issued by the DfE in 2018. Great Western Academy are part of the Swindon and Wiltshire Careers Hub; formed to enable schools to share best practise and ensure that we meet the benchmarks.


Great Western Academy endeavours to:

  • Provide a stable careers programme: we begin exploring futures and careers in year 7 with a structured ‘successful lives’ PSHE programme and focus on enterprise skills which are monitored and reported upon.  Students track their progress in 6 skills areas against 15 ‘skillsbuilder steps’ as they develop crucial employability skills 

  • Learn from career and labour market information: Our careers lead in school has the responsibility of ensuring national and local career information is brought into the school and disseminated amongst staff, students and parents as appropriate

  • Address the needs of each pupil: Our Individual Learning Plans for every pupil include focus on ‘future aspirations’ and enable staff to support, guide, develop and advise the ambitions, knowledge, skills and understanding of individual students in a way tailored to their requirements

  • Link curriculum learning to careers: Where appropriate, lessons at GWA feature references to the enterprise skills so valued by employers.  In addition, we have a thrust to provide students with real world problems through enquiry-based learning.  Each subject area assesses student progress in at least one of their 6 key enterprise skills in each year group, offering guidance on how students can further develop these skills

  • Encounters with employers and employees: GWA has developed links with local employers so that students can experience a range of visiting speakers and can take part in ‘challenge’ activities as part of our extra-curricular programme as well as through curriculum specific visits.  We are supported by the Careers and Enterprise company and work in partnership with

  • Experiences of workplaces:  We aim for every student to visit a place of employment in support of curriculum aims during key stages 3 and 4.  In addition, we provide numerous opportunities for students to visit employers and to receive visits in school from employers

  • Encounters with further and higher education: Our 6th form provision enables lower school students the opportunity to explore academic post-16 provision.  Students will have the opportunity to visit a place of higher education during key stage 4 and 5 and are given access to FE and Apprenticeship providers

  • Personal guidance: Our tutoring programme allows for individual guidance from tutors who are trained in signposting students to further support.  At key stages 4 and 5, students will have access to a trained Careers Information and Guidance lead.

Links with local authorities

A destinations survey is completed by all Year 11 and 13 in the second half of the academic year to track and monitor their next steps. The survey is used to identify Year 11 students at risk of becoming Not in Education, (NEET) who then receive intensive targeted support from the Schools Careers Advisor. If necessary, students at risk of NEET may be referred to Wiltshire’s Integrated Youth Service.

Through our independent advice, we inform students of all options available to them at different stages of their education. You can view our full Provider Access Statement here. Great Western Academy encourages employers and training providers interested in working with our students to contact David Clarke, Vice Principal and Careers lead: or 01793 209700.

Information for Employers

If you are an employer looking to engage with our careers and employability programme, we would love to hear from you. We have a range of opportunities throughout the year for you to support and inspire our students. Please contact our Careers Advisor, Jessica Pieri at

We would like to thank all the employer partners who have supported our careers programme over the last few years. This includes Dyson, Network Rail, NHS, Wiltshire Police, Catalent, Red Seven Marketing, C4S Recruitment, Microsoft, Recyling Technologies and many more! We would not be able to inspire and educate our students about the range of jobs available to them without your supoprt.

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