Careers Education and Work Related Learning

At St Joseph’s our curriculum is planned to ensure that every student has the opportunity to develop:

  • Socially, emotionally, intellectually, physically, spiritually, morally and culturally
  • Positive attitudes, healthy relationships and essential life and work skills
  • The ability to make informed choices, gaining experiences and developing responsibilities for their future

At St Joseph’s Careers Education and Work Related Learning are important for all young people, in all Pathways.

It helps students to:

  • Understand themselves and the world around them
  • Prepare for future opportunities
  • Develop the skills and self-confidence necessary to make realistic and informed decisions about their future so that they can maximise their potential
  • It is a curriculum that works towards preparing the learners for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life
  • To have a role in their community that is recognised
  • Become aspirational

At St Joseph’s it is important that students have the opportunity to:

  • Learn about work
  • Learn for work
  • Learn through work

Our careers programme is guided by The 8 Gatsby Benchmarks which help schools deliver high quality careers and enterprise provision:

  1. A stable careers programme
  2. Learning from career and labour market information
  3. Addressing the needs of each pupil
  4. Linking curriculum learning to careers
  5. Encounters with employers and employees
  6. Experiences of workplaces
  7. Encounters with further and higher education
  8. Personal guidance

Careers Education and Work Related Learning

Careers Education and Guidance is delivered through a combination of Work Preparation activities in each Pathway, Life and Living Skills through OCR and a Travel Skills Programme alongside Work Experience and Enterprise opportunities. This programme offers a wide range of experiences which enables the students at St Joseph’s Specialist Trust to understand themselves and to experience opportunities in the world of work. In turn it develops their personal skills and independency to enable a successful adulthood.

Careers Education and Work Related Learning can be found embedded within our curriculum.

Careers Education and Work Related Learning activities cover many subject areas including:

Travel Skills

Managing to use the public transport system either independently or with appropriate staff support can be a huge step for our students. Classes or individuals will go out into the community with staff members and be responsible for planning the bus route, buying their tickets, finding a place to sit, watching for the stop they need to get off at and then do the return route. In the past we have practised bus journeys to Guildford and then the safe route to walk to the student’s work place. This enabled a student to independently travel to their work placement. This is also undertaken where possible to support student’s travel options when they are transitioning into supported living.

Life and Living Skills

A huge part of this subject is about students learning to keep themselves safe, recognising safety signage and how to respond to them, understanding health and hygiene and independently following spoken, written or pictorial instructions. All these skills are necessary in Work Placements. Keeping your working area clean and tidy and using a supermarket or similar shops are also useful skills taught in this subject. Working as a team to make lunches for the class is considered as “work” and students recognise they have responsibilities within the team and without fulfilling them the lunch will not be completed. Again this is a set of skills which is needed in the workplace.

Entitlement Statements

Rights and Responsibility is covered in PSHE and Citizenship sessions. The OCR accreditation in all pathways also requires evidence of Entitlement being covered in the Entry 1 M1, Entry 2 M17 and Entry 3 M28 Rights and Responsibility units.

Both written and Makaton symbols lists of the student’s entitlements are displayed in both the Pre 14 and College areas of St Joseph’s Trust.

Click  on the links to view the Entitlement Statement for
School pathways or College pathways

Careers and Work Related Learning Sessions

All pathways work towards IPC units and OCR Accreditations “World of Work” units. These sessions are presented by the teacher or the therapist and can be class based or individualised. As part of these sessions the students are encouraged to take note of their own skills, talents and challenges. They look at their likes and dislikes, if they like to work as part of a team or alone. They practise interview techniques, look at the different types of relationships, the different types of clothes or uniforms for jobs, responsibilities and the importance of honesty and respect. They learn about safety equipment and safety clothing. Students learn what appropriate clothing to wear for an interview, for different types of jobs or circumstances. During these sessions students are given the opportunity to document evidence of their internal or external work experience and their role in the class Enterprises to demonstrate their skills, work ethic and ethos. Each student will also design their own written, pictorial or electronic Curriculum Vitae and keep it up dated. All these activities will support their OCR Accreditations and demonstrate The Gatsby Benchmarks 1, 2 and 4.

Older students and parents working alongside our SENCO may choose to transition to an alternative college and undertake joint participation in our curriculum whilst pursuing a more vocational part time course in a local college. This has been very successful with Merrist Wood, Nescott’s and Reading College illustrating our commitment to The Gatsby benchmark 7.

The work of the therapists in the areas of Speech and Language and Occupational Therapy is embedded into the Careers and Work Related Learning framework.

Therapists give the student strategies on how to politely ask for help or say that they have not fully understood. Therapists prepare students for interview by teaching interview techniques, model correct body language, eye contact and handshake. It also gives an opportunity to recognise the student’s skills, qualities and successes to share with their potential employer. Mock interviews are set up to allow students to improve and adjust to gain in confidence for the real event. All students who work in the community go through an interview process before placements. Therapists also offer the employers advice on how best to support the students from St Joseph’s whilst working alongside them.

Five Year Transition Plan

Following our 5 Year Transition Plan the Transition team undertakes a Vocational Profile with each student ready to transition from us to supported living or further education. This often informs the Work Related Learning Co-ordinator in selecting appropriate placements for the student to work towards their end goal.

The Transition team liaises with parents, students, care and teachers to plan the transition away from St Joseph’s specialist Trust in line with The Gatsby Benchmarks 3 and 8. At this time the students take part in Webinars with The National Careers Service to find out more about the opportunities they have ahead. The Transition team shares information regarding educational opportunities and supported living placements for the area the students comes from and sets up visits to these establishments to see if they fit.

The Transition team, alongside parents liaises with the local authorities and social workers to discuss the transition opportunities for each student.

5 Year Plan to Departure

Work Experience

Work Experience at St Joseph’s School is an important part of the college curriculum, as it offers our students a variety of benefits and learning opportunities.

Work Experience placements are found according to the ability of the student and appropriate staff support is given.

Work Experience and Enterprise is offered to all students, in all pathways. Many college classes prepare their own lunch once or twice a week and this is considered a team “work” placement where useful life and work skills align.

Students are placed both internally within St Joseph’s Trust’s and externally within the local community. Internal placements can be offered working alongside our Grounds, Maintenance, Domestic, Financial and Catering Teams, all of which devise a range of job tasks and build up students work skills profile. Students also run the internal post service each day. Students are asked where they would like to work and we accommodate as much as we can. We find many younger students aspire to the roles they see their older peers undertaking within our community and select that role for themselves. One to one support is given if it is needed offering optimum opportunities.

Teachers provide opportunities for students to job search and in so doing broaden their knowledge of the world of work.

All students have the opportunity to complete a Work Experience placement – with support if needed. During their placements students will be expected to complete a diary and annotate photographic evidence and on their return to school. This is then compiled for OCR evidence. They are encouraged to share their experience with their peers at the Friday Student Meeting. At the end of a work placement an assessment is completed, which many of our students use as part of their CV or to present to further colleges as evidence of their achievement.

We offer a range of External work placements within about a 7 mile radius of the school. To earn an external placement students must have had successful internal placements that have built up both their confidence but also their skills for the workplace. Students apply for Work Experience placements and have interviews to gain a post. This is done hand in hand with out Speech Therapists who guide students in good interview techniques. The placement usually runs for a year and the students attend a 2 hour slot each week working alongside their co-workers but also supervised by staff from St Joseph’s. We have placements on a farm, local cafes, local supermarkets a Pre School Nursery and the Grounds Team at a local college. We also arrange regular volunteering events for our students and we try to do this alongside mainstream schools to there is a lot of social interaction too. We currently do this at Sayer’s Croft and plan to set up another at The Garden House in Surrey. Wherever possible we organise meaningful encounters with the world of work in line with The Gatsby Benchmark 5. This may be a visiting baker talking about their job, the local fire brigade demonstrating their fire engine or a chat with the head Grounds to ask questions about his job.

Current Meaningful Encounters with the world of Work

Work Experience Placements

Typically we have around 40 work related placements. An example of a year is set out below.

10 students with external work experiences on a farm, Supermarket, nursery school, charity shop and a café.

21 have an internal work experience working with our Grounds, Maintenance, Domestic, Financial and Catering Teams. They also run the daily internal post.

6 students have been volunteering at Sayer’s Croft

5 students have been volunteering at The Garden House

3 students work in our bakery

11 students work in our internal café

6 students run CoffeeEsta our hot drinks delivery service

Enterprise opportunities

Enterprise is embedded within the college curriculum and each enterprise is run as a small business.

The students design a product or a service and research their competitors. They cost their products to ensure they make a profit. They take on the responsibility for advertising and the selling of their completed goods. Some students develop their own individual enterprises working towards selling at internal school fairs and events.

Some subjects such as Horticulture, DT Workshop and Pottery will run termly enterprises, individually designed for the pathway they are teaching. Enterprises are used as the driver of the curriculum and can be presented by the class teacher, subject teacher, therapist or Work Related Learning HLTA. They can be run by individuals, classes or pathways. Enterprises follow this model.

SELL or USE the product for its intended function or provide a SERVICE.

In 2019/20 we provided Enterprise opportunities in our bakery, in two cafés and one drinks delivery service offering students meaningful work for one day each week. This gives our students a real experience of work whilst being in our safe environment. The intention is then to offer our students external work experience using the work skills they have acquired in college.

Click on the links to the following case studies:
Joe’s Café     Panini Café     CoffeeEsta

Enterprise Fortnight  

As part of the wider school and college experience, for 2 weeks in the Spring Term all Pathways have the opportunity to take part in Enterprise Fortnight.

Students gain a great sense of achievement by taking part in an enterprise and are proud to sell their products at the conclusion of their project. Any profit is given to the class to buy something for the class or to have an experience together.

The conclusion is a presentation evening, when everyone involved is invited: students, teaching staff, ancillary, maintenance, school governors and community employers. The school invites a local businessman/woman to present each of the students with an internal certificate. The evening provides an opportunity for the students’ achievement to be recognised and celebrated and for staff, parents, employees, and further education to meet. The Enterprise products are sold during this evening and each student’s diary is on display.


Volunteering enables students to play an active role in their society. It helps to break down social barriers and offer people an opportunity to socialise with people from different social and cultural backgrounds. We have two groups of volunteers both working on environmental projects. The Sayer’s Croft group work alongside students from Tormead Independent School keeping the grounds in check throughout the year. This includes clearance of autumn leaves, bramble cutting and remaking bark chip paths. The students are learning to follow instructions from their boss, how to use garden tools safely and how to co-operate with others in the team. Similar happens at The Garden House Project but these students are also helping to make the site more sustainable and they have built woodland paths for disabled access, dug ditches, built bridges, made dead hedges and completed a stumpery to encourage new wildlife to take up residence. This helps build the students confidence but also gives them a huge sense of achievement as projects are completed. It also gives them opportunities to meet employers and work alongside their employees. These experiences help students gain OCR accreditations in all Pathways and Duke of Edinburgh Volunteering Awards.

Click on the following links to the volunteering case studies:
The Garden House     Sayer’s Croft

Work Related Learning Procedure