When pupils arrive at Dauntsey's they begin a planned careers guidance programme reflecting the fact that choosing a career is a process and not an event.
Careers counselling begins in the Third Form with discussion about I/GCSE options and develops over the following years with advice and guidance on A Level courses, work experience, university applications and personal statements. Alternatives to university such as apprenticeships and the increasingly popular Gap Years are also considered.
At all stages and at any time pupils and parents are welcome to discuss ideas and career plans with the School's Careers Adviser, James O'Hanlon.
In the Fourth Form pupils have timetabled careers lessons in which they are introduced to the idea of career planning and implementation. In a series of seminars they are encouraged to consider the skills required by employers, the desirability of work experience, the critical nature of choosing A Levels, the pros and cons of taking a gap year and the basic processes involved in university entrance. They are also given instruction on writing CVs and covering letters and preparing for interview.
In the Fifth Form, pupils take the COA Preview Careers questionnaire supported by a series of psychometric tests called the Cambridge Profile. Following an individual report and an interview with a visiting COA Careers Adviser, they are encouraged to research careers and to discuss their initial plans with their Tutor prior to making A Level choices. This is the first critical step in choosing their career.
In the Sixth Form, in addition to advice on university applications, pupils benefit from a programme of careers events designed to help them explore their options in more depth and to meet people already working in the field that interests them.
We are fortunate to have a network of contacts across a wide range of industries, drawn from the community, Old Dauntseians and existing parents. They are very generous with their time and keen to share their knowledge and the journey they have taken to reach their career goals. This is enormously beneficial for the pupils to hear.
A particular highlight is an evening based on the speed-dating format where pupils have multiple mini-meetings with a wide range of professionals.
However, all career events that we run include an aspect of networking where pupils are encouraged to 'work the room' and recognise the importance of building contacts and being able to open up opportunities.
Visits are also arranged to specific career fairs and workshops as well as university open days.
There are currently over 130 universities in the UK offering in excess of 50,000 courses, making the selection of a suitable course seem daunting. However, all pupils are guided in their selection of a suitable university course through the following structured programme:
In the Spring term of their Lower Sixth year all are registered on the Unifrog system. A report is produced for each pupil giving a selection of courses and universities to consider and research further. In addition the search engine allows a review of certain international universities, apprenticeships and MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses).
All members of the Lower Sixth attend three days of Post Dauntsey’s Planning Events organised by the Careers Department in the second-half of the Spring and Summer Term. This includes an event for both parents and pupils held on a Saturday morning.
All pupils are encouraged to consult House staff, teachers and the Senior Careers Adviser at any time about their ideas and plans. Pupils are also strongly recommended to visit their final choices of university either at an official Open Day or by arrangement.
My role as careers advisor focuses on getting to know the pupils, their strengths and weaknesses and guiding them towards the best opportunities available here and beyond school.Head of careers, James O'hanlon