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West Suffolk College Career Education And Guidance Strategy

Vision And Values

We are committed to implementing a Careers Programme that puts the students and their success at the heart, preparing them for their future and inspiring individual excellence.  We believe that the Careers Strategy is vital in contributing to the future of our students and adhering to the College’s vision and mission which strives for outstanding education and student fulfilment.

West Suffolk College is built on three pillars:

  • Connections
  • Credentials
  • Character Strengths

We aim for all students to gain not just the right qualifications and the best grades, but also the connections with businesses and character strengths they need to succeed.

Our students can expect support in making excellent connections with employers in order to maximise their future opportunities.

West Suffolk College has identified 8 character strengths; resilience, optimism, curiosity, ambition, ownership, respect, self-control and confidence, which foster a culture in which we are preparing our students to live as independent thinkers confident in their choices and actions, and ready for the workplace.

In a world that is fast paced and ever changing, it is our responsibility to ensure that our students are prepared and well informed so that they can make decisions that are not based on assumptions and stereotypes.  We believe that high quality careers guidance, access to quality LMI and encounters with employers is key in achieving this.

Statutory Requirements

The College’s Careers strategy is in line with the Department for Education Careers Strategy and Careers Guidance for Further Education and Sixth Form Colleges by ensuring students have engaging and inspirational careers education, information and guidance through access to employers and other providers.  It also outlines the College’s role in supporting the student’s ability to progress effectively within learning and the labour market.  We will ensure that students have access to a range of opportunities and that they receive an excellent Careers Programme with embedded advice and guidance delivered by appropriately skilled staff.

The Careers Guidance for Further Education Colleges sets out its expectations for Colleges.  West Suffolk College will work towards these requirements and expectations and will be guided by the Gatsby Benchmarks to develop and enhance its Careers provision.

Student Entitlement

Every student is entitled to a high-quality careers programme as part of their overall education from pre-entry through to progression students preparing for life after College. We put emphasis on the fact that the student journey at West Suffolk College consists of both a qualification and preparation for the work environment.

We aim to raise the aspirations of the students and to give them the information and the strength of character to aim higher.

We will ensure all students have:

  • Access to independent and impartial career guidance delivered by a Level 6 qualified career development professional who upholds the professional standards of the Career Development Institute.
  • Access to an inspirational Careers Programme that challenges stereotypes and promotes equality of opportunity
  • Access to information and advice about all progression pathways including Further Education courses, Higher Education courses, Apprenticeships, work based qualifications and progression into employment.
  • Encounters with Higher Education Institutions
  • A programme of events to allow students the opportunity to explore a variety of progression options
  • Knowledge of the relevance of STEM subjects for a wide range of future career paths
  • An increase in support and activities to engage and aid progression for SEND students
  • Access to IAG to assist with destination decisions and advice
  • Access to up to date relevant LMI
  • multiple meaningful opportunities to interact with employers and learn about the skills they need to develop in order to be successful
  • Access to live job opportunities
  • specific progression/ employability which embed employability and LMI information holistically within their programme
  • Extensive employer links and curriculum staff who are keen to encourage as much employer led content as possible both onsite and out in the workplace

It is our intention that all students and students social, physical, emotional and academic needs will be taken into consideration to ensure that everyone is able to take advantage of career related opportunities.

We recognise the important role that parents have in their child’s career development.  The College has a programme of events to allow students and their parents the opportunity to explore a variety of progression options including Open Events, Progression Evenings, Apprenticeship and Job Fairs, and Open Events.

West Suffolk College are committed to creating new and developing existing links with employers, HE, local learning providers and apprenticeship providers which inform decisions on future courses and content, giving the students access to up to date vocational content to enhance and inform their future decisions.

Student Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Investigate careers and opportunities in learning, work and apprenticeships and how these meet local and national priorities;
  • Access appropriate information, resources, help and guidance;
  • Understand changes in education pathways and the impact these have on future progression
  • Analyse opportunities in work, training and further and higher education;
  • Understand the full range of options available to them from various sources of information
  • Develop their character strengths to be able to show employers and universities that they have the strength of character to stand out from the rest and live as independent thinkers, confident in their own choices and actions
  • Through meaningful encounters with employers, gain an understanding of the workplace to further raise their aspirations
  • Through work experience and workplace visits, develop their exploration or career opportunities and expand their networks

Student Progression

Students will be able to:

  • Make and implement Progression Plans
  • Decide on their next step in their career’s development using action planning, reviewing and setting targets
  • Manage transition
  • Search for appropriate opportunities and develop networks
  • Prepare for work, Further or Higher Education through written application and selection at interview


West Suffolk College recognises the importance of putting in place effective arrangements for the management, delivery and implementation of the Careers programme. 

  • Providing leadership and coordination of a high-quality careers programme
  • To provide quality assurance and ensure continuous improvement
  • To track and monitor the above through a variety of mediums, such as Compass, feedback, Matrix, Quality in Careers Standard
  • Day-to-day coordination and management of specified Gatsby Benchmarks
  • Operational coordination of specified Gatsby Benchmarks

The Careers programme is a College KPI and therefore monitored and reviewed by Senior Management and Governors as per the agreed KPI schedule.

The College’s careers programme consists of LMI, Career Planning and Progression targets differentiated by level.

Staff Development

All staff are expected to contribute to the career learning and development of students in their different roles.  To meet the training needs that arise from this, we will ensure that personal development opportunities are discussed on a termly basis and appropriate training is identified and offered.

Quality Assurance

West Suffolk College evaluate the impact and success of the career’s strategy through a range of performance measures:

  • Analysis of intended destination data at key stages of the Student Journey
  • Student feedback 1:1 and feedback in group sessions
  • Matrix accreditation and annual Continuous Improvement Checks
  • Regular self-evaluation using Compass Evaluation Tool to monitor achievement of Gatsby Benchmarks, with Careers Enterprise Company
  • Self-Assessment Report
  • Quality Improvement Plan
  • Spotlights
  • Annual review process

Careers Strategy: Responding to changing governmental priorities and careers strategy

Gatsby: Good Career Guidance

Careers and Enterprise Company

Quality in Careers

Matrix Standard

careers guidance gatsby 1