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The Programme

Career Academies offer:

  • a powerful curriculum for 16-19 year olds that blurs the differentiation between academic and vocational pathways

  • a three A level equivalent programme, with business studies at its core, which integrates with other business-related courses
  • a unique package, accredited within the National Qualifications Framework and supported by some of the biggest names in British business
  • an extensively field tested model to improve retention and motivation, and help young people achieve their full potential.

 Students benefit from:

  • one-to-one mentoring by business professionals who provide support and advice on coursework and life skills throughout the two years of the course

  • a six-week paid internship during the summer, to practise what they have learned and develop additional business competencies
  • participation in employer-led seminars, work-site visits, practice interviews and CV development sessions.

Linking academic study with employment in this way increases students’ focus and commitment and develops self-esteem.  Career Academies give students the opportunity to broaden the number of genuine choices they have about their future education and career pathways.  In 2003, 85% of Career Academy students graduated with offers from universities.

Students voluntarily enter Career Academies; they apply to the programme and are accepted with parental knowledge and support.  A typical Career Academy student may fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • A modest academic foundation
  • A fragmented, disappointing or non-traditional educational experience 
  • A background which is underrepresented in further and higher education
  • Lack confidence or self esteem in the academic world

Career Academies educate cohorts of students in small, self-contained groups within a larger school or college.  The group stay together for two years so students get effective support and advice from their teachers, and build a strong peer network.  While Career Academies vary in size, they usually have one to three classes of students in each year group; 40 to 50 students in all.  Classes are usually timetabled back-to-back in the daily schedule.  Career Academy activities take place within the regular school or college day, with the exception of internships, mentoring activities and visits to universities.

Teachers from different subjects work together as a Career Academy team, with one member serving as the Academy Coordinator.  The Coordinator, in particular, needs release time and requires strong organisational and interpersonal skills, and interest and experience in the Career Academy theme.  Team members have shared planning time and share such tasks as student recruitment and selection, academy promotion and curriculum development.  Academy teams participate in professional development activities to implement effectively the Career Academy model and keep up to speed with the changing world of business.

 Read about the programme's history.

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