From education to employment

Why Derby schools are leading the way when it comes to careers advice in secondary schools

SCHOOLS across the UK have been told to up their game when it comes to careers advice – or risk being hit with legal direction from the government.

The Department for Education has published a consultation, which ends on July 25th, setting out details on how new legal careers advice will be enforced. It will come into effect from January 2023 and stipulates when and how often schools should provide encounters with ‘at least six encounters with a provider of approved technical education qualifications or apprenticeships’,

Schools have until September to put a plan into place with those that don’t comply faced with the possibility of losing out on government careers funding.

For Da Vinci Academy – which was praised for its ‘impartial careers advice and guidance’ during an Ofsted inspection last year – putting this plan into place won’t be a problem.

E4E began in 2014 and is led by Arshad Iqbal (far right). Their work with schools in Derby including Da Vinci Academy, Allestree Woodlands and Derby Moor Academy has helped impress Ofsted inspectors in recent years. Picture: Penguin PR.

Headteacher Katie Roberts, who led the secondary school – part of the L.E.A.D. Academy Trust – to its first-ever ‘good’ Ofsted rating, said: “Careers is a part of our vision as a school and what we do beyond that. The fundamental role of any school is to prepare young people for work, to ensure that they’re enthusiastic about it; to motivate and inspire.”

E4E is a Derby City Council-backed careers initiative that was set up in 2014. Led by manager Arshad Iqbal, it provides CV writing workshops, mock interviews, mentoring and ‘Dragons Den’ style Enterprise Challenge Day, where pupils pitch a project to business leaders who volunteer for the session.

Da Vinci Academy have fully embraced the service provided by E4E.

Katie, who spent 20 years working in corporate before venturing into education, added: “This is the first year that Year 10s, at this stage, have completed a CV or almost completed a personal statement that sets them up for the year.

“That is thanks to E4E and the support team we have here at Da Vinci Academy. The impact is that, as a school, we can stand up and say that we have made an impact on the students. Having employers in our school lifts them, inspires them.”

Da Vinci Academy have a fully-committed careers team that included deputy headteacher Gemma Tyers and Kim Bradshaw. Arshad added: “I first met with Katie in August 2021, when she shared her thoughts and development plans for Da Vinci Academy students, and where E4E could support these plans.

Da Vinci Academy – part of the L.E.A.D. Academy Trust – have been working with E4E. Picture: Penguin PR.

“This not only included helping to raise aspirations of the students, but also helping to boost their self-confidence and knowledge of careers and opportunities Post-16. That has been at the heart of everything we have done at Da Vinci Academy and, this year in particular, we have focused our attentions on the more traditional work we do – the careers assemblies and mock interviews with Year 10 pupils.

“Beyond these activities, I am pleased to say we have a growing partnership with Da Vinci and have been able to leverage support for them through, for example, school parents evenings and our Laptops for Students initiative, where we donated a substantial amount of laptops to those who didn’t have access to one at home.”

Other schools in the city who have benefitted from E4E’s expertise include Allestree Woodlands, which was also praised by government inspectors for its ‘high-quality careers education programme that prepares pupils well for their next steps’, and Derby Moor Spencer Academy.

Andrew Kilgour, careers lead at Derby Moor, said: “Careers education in schools has changed so much, particularly over the last five years. There has been huge transformations in schools using the Gatsby Benchmark – eight markers that provide a clear framework for organising the careers provision in schools and colleges – and the bar is now raised.

“We work closely with E4E as an organisation and participate in their CV Workshops and large-scale events such as mock interviews. For schools to organise something like mock interviews, it can be hugely time consuming; E4E have a huge pool of volunteers from various sectors – global organisations such as Rolls-Royce and Lubrizol who have a presence here in Derby – that we can tap into.

“These sessions are hugely inspiring for young people and the flexibility offered by E4E is also a bonus. During lockdown, activities continued virtually which was great for continuity in school.”


For further information please contact Kerry Ganly at Penguin PR on 07734 723951 or email [email protected] 

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