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Click below for information surrounding the many aspects of careers advice and guidance at Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School

If you would like to give feedback, or feel you could help with our careers programme in terms of opportunities such as work experience, or in being a guest speaker with respect to your own career experiences, please do not hesitate to contact us at

The Gatsby Benchmarks

All schools have been given sole responsibility for their careers programme. This is based on the Gatsby benchmarks and will be evaluated on a regular basis based on these benchmarks. Under guidance from the Department for Education all schools should be working towards these benchmarks and should be fully implemented by 2020.

For further reading on these benchmarks please see links below:


If you have a particular interest in subjects or a certain career in mind then studying at Cardinal Heenan Sixth Form could be the option for you. When considering your A-Levels it is important to note there will be entry grade requirements you need to achieve at GCSE.

It is also a good idea to look at your potential future career ideas and map them out looking at potential subject requirements, particularly if you are considering university post-18.  For example, to study engineering at degree level, Maths will be an essential A-Level alongside at least one other science-based subject.  Medicine will require you to study Chemistry and Biology at A-Level and one from either Physics or Maths.

Have an idea of your future ideal career(s) and where you would like to be in ten years’ time and work backwards. Consider qualifications and experience you would need to gain to make that transition possible.

For more information on A-Level subject combinations and facilitating subjects please see the link below which is guidance from the Russell Group Universities on entry requirements.

BTECs and other Applied General Qualifications

These qualifications are equivalent to either one, two or three A-Levels and can be taken as an alternative to gain entry to Higher Education (i.e. university), equivalent to similar UCAS points as regular A-Levels.  They take two years to complete and are vocational qualifications intended to develop work-related skills. You will generally need four GCSEs at grade four or above to gain entry to these courses. You can study subjects such as construction, engineering, criminology, psychology, ICT, media, music and drama.  Cardinal Heenan Sixth Form is constantly developing its own programme of such courses.

Further Education Colleges

If you are interested in a particular career it may be beneficial for you to apply to college to gain experience and qualifications post-16 before applying for an apprenticeship or employment. Colleges will offer a variety of courses both practical and vocational. It is important to consider all the options and apply for the programme that is best suited to you both in terms of entry requirements and your career aspirations.

At college you be able to choose from a whole selection of careers such as construction including bricklaying, plumbing, joinery, painting and decorating and all other types of tool trades. If you are interested in becoming a chef or barber, for example, a good place to start would be a local college.

For further information on local FE Colleges please visit links below;

Studio Schools / UTCs

Studio schools and University Technical Colleges are types of secondary schools for students between the ages of 14-19. They have a maximum capacity of 300 students and they give students the opportunity to develop practical skills in workplace environments combined with traditional academic and vocational courses of study.

Students can apply for a place at these schools aged 14 (Year 10) and aged 16 (Year 11). For local studio schools and university technical colleges please see links below;

Labour Markets / Local Economy

Understanding the labour market and particularly that of the local environment can help identify potential career pathways and employment opportunities of the future. Understanding what skills employers will be looking for and the potential skill gaps of the future can help a student plot their future career pathway.


Apprentices earn a wage and work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills, whilst studying for a nationally recognised qualification with a training provider or local college. Apprenticeships can be complete in one year or some will last for a total of four years. Apprenticeships are designed with the help of the employers in the industry, so they offer a structured programme that takes you through the skills you need.


Apprenticeships are increasingly recognised as the gold standard for work-based training.

  1. Intermediate Level Apprenticeships
  2. Advanced Level Apprenticeships
  3. Higher Apprenticeships


The current minimum wage rate for an apprentice is £3.70 per hour. This rate applies to apprentices under 19 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year.

Applying for an Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships are open to all age groups above 16 years-old whether you are just leaving school, have been working for years or are seeking to start a new career. There may be different entry requirements depending on the Apprenticeship and the industry sector. However competition for places with employers can be fierce, so you will need to show that you are committed, and aware of your responsibilities to both yourself and the company who would employ you.

All apprenticeships will be advertised @

You will need to register on the site and search for apprenticeships using keywords, job roles and location. If you see any of interest you need to apply on line and you can apply for up to 10 vacancies at any one time. On the site you will complete an application and you will need to complete this to the best of your ability as this may be sent straight to employers. Some vacancies may direct you direct to the employers website to follow their application process.

For other helpful websites please see links below;

Work Experience

Ideally work experience happens in the last two weeks of the school year for Year 10s. Towards the end of Year 9 they are encouraged by form tutors to find a self- placement. They do this by networking among family and friends, their placement should be informed by the previous Industry day, their options, their academic strengths and by the work done on careers during PSHE. The form tutor facilitates this process and the school supports with contacts from previous years. When they confirm a place details are provided and the school makes contact. The details are forwarded to Compact who carry out the H&S visit and then conform its suitability.

There will be a percentage of pupils who will not be successful and they will be offered placements organised by Compact. These placements are limited in scope and won’t necessarily match the pupils intended career path.

Previous to their placements the Year 10s will receive an induction talk from Compact on H&S in the workplace. The pupils are given various forms to be filled in or to be given to the employer as well as a work placement diary to be filled in daily during the two weeks.

The feedback from pupils is always positive and the impact is strong in terms of clarifying future pathways, motivating their future study, providing weekend or summer work and future employment.

Industry Day

Industry day takes place every year on the Friday before February half term (12th February 2016). As soon as they begin in September both Year 8 and Year 11 students are made aware of this. The month of November is scheduled in PSHE to present the career booklets to the pupils and help them take a broad perspective and become aware of the many possibilities that are open to them. The form tutor facilitates this process and makes sure that the pupil is exploring pathways that are realisable and correspond to his academic abilities.

After running this event for years we have a bank of loyal providers across all the professions and trades and without their goodwill the formative impact of this event would be lost. From this day links are established which are often developed and result in future employment. These providers often commit a year ahead and that confirmation is given ideally before Christmas. At the end of the event the providers are issued with certificates to acknowledge their contributions.

By the end of November the pupil should have arrived at three options that he wishes to explore further during Industry day. For Year 8 pupils this process is married to their choice of options to ensure that the subjects they choose are consonant with their current understanding of their future career paths. Letters are then sent  to enlist the input of parents and ensure their involvement and support. The choices on the returned letters are then inputted on spreadsheets and providers are informed of numbers for each workshop.

Recognising the enhanced importance of this event for school leavers a letter is sent which includes their previous Year 8 choices and curriculum vitae and personal statements are requested for their mock job interviews which take place straight after the Industry Day. The hope is that they will experience this as a coming together of the career work throughout their years at school leading to a clear and hopeful direction in life.

On the day approximately 50 career paths are provided on a workshop basis and the feedback from pupils is always positive. Many of the providers are school alumni and there is a real atmosphere of mutual celebration of school success. 

Provider Access Policy

Cardinal Heenan High School: Provider Access Policy

This policy statement 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 8-13 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 Paul Pomford, Careers Leader.
Telephone: 0151 235 1430 Email:

Opportunities for access
A number of events, integrated into the school careers programme, will offer providers an opportunity to come into school to speak to pupils and/or their parents/carers.

Premises and facilities
The school will make the main hall, classrooms or private meeting rooms available for discussions between the provider and students, as appropriate to the activity. The school will also make available AV and other specialist equipment to support provider presentations. This will all be discussed and agreed in advance of the visit with the Careers Leader or a member of their team.

Providers are welcome to leave a copy of their prospectus or other relevant course literature which will be available for pupils in the school library. Pupils have access to the library during lunchtimes and after school.