Traditional Work Placements - can you offer support?

Bristol WORKS is committed to ensuring that the city is able to offer meaningful experiences of work to its young people. Whilst the WORKS framework has been designed to demonstrate that there are many ways that employers can engage with this, WORKS also recognises that there is still great value in traditional work placements and is keen to help share opportunities across the city.

Offering a short term work placements from 1-5 days provides great opportunities for learners to experience a wide range of entry level roles under staff supervision. Traditional placements are valuable opportunities for learners, giving them insight into a particular career and the chance to start building networks.

Read about how Bristol Museums shaped their traditional placements on a blog created by one of the young people that took part in their programme. Integrating this into their outcomes by the end of the week offered the young people a chance to give voice to their experiences and share them online.


Are you an employer that can offer support?

 Year 10 students across Bristol have started looking for experience of work placements. If you are an employer who is interested in offering a young person a traditional week long placement,  please email to register your interest. The WORKS webpage provides guidance notes in the 'Traditional Placements' section and there is also a short video about how GENECO developed their offer to meet the their needs and the needs of the young people.  

Smart Futures Programme.

The EY Foundation’s Smart Futures is a ten month programme for Year 12 students that is now running in 16 locations across the UK during the 2018 summer holidays. Starting with a paid work experience placement of three weeks, Smart Futures recruits will gain a variety of transferable skills that will give them a head start in their career. The programme aims to make the young people involved more employable by helping them to get a job after school or go onto higher education.

The initiative aims to offer quality experiences to young people that might find it difficult to access them otherwise. To be eligible to apply students must:

  • Be in Year 12 in a state school
  • Have accessed free school meals within the last 6 years
  • Be studying towards 3 A Levels or their equivalent
  • Be willing to complete online tests and an application form

In order to harness and develop talent across all sectors, and diversify its offer from traditional industries such as as accountancy, law and finance, the programme aims to cater for young people studying any range of subjects.


The Structure of the Work Experience

During the first two weeks of the programme, the young people take part in sessions and workshops that cover a wide range of topics to help make them more employable, and widen their understanding of the working world. These sessions cover topics such as:

  • How to network effectively and build positive relationships
  • Communication styles in the workplace
  • How to be an effective team leader
  • Dragon's Den
  • CV reviews, interview practice and job application techniques

In the third week, the young people spend time working on real-life client projects within various organisations, offering them exposure to tangible experiences of the working world.


Additional Benefits and Experiences

All Smart Futures recruits will have a mentor throughout the 10 month experience. Their mentor will support and advise the young people on one of the biggest career choices they will make: their first step into working life.

Smart Futures recruits will also be invited to a series of alumni events throughout their final school year, offering them networking opportunities and a chance to gain advice from peers.

On successful completion of the programme, students will also benefit from gaining a Level 2 CMI (Chartered Management Institution) qualification in Team Leading. This is an adult management qualification setting students apart from their peers.

For more information about Smart Futures, download their brochure or visit their website. Ready to apply? Find out how by visiting the applications page.

Envision’s Community-Apprentice Programme at Colston’s Girls' School

Envision is a charity that aims to develop young people’s employability by empowering them to tackle real-life social problems.

The Project

Envision works with schools across Bristol to deliver an inter-school competition called - ‘The Community-Apprentice’. Loosely based on the TV series ‘The Apprentice’, teams must develop and, more crucially, demonstrate personal qualities whilst competing to make the biggest positive impact on social problems.    

 Since September, two teams of young people from Colston’s Girls’ School have been working hard to develop their team working, communication and creativity skills whilst planning a social action project of their choosing. The groups have had to learn to compromise with one another as they agreed on the issue that they wanted to tackle for their project. One of the teams, Team Aspire, became motivated to support young people in their choice of careers. They felt it important to educate their peers about the full range of options available to them and going beyond what are thought of ‘traditional’ routes. Over the past few months they’ve been hard at work developing ideas to make a positive difference and turning them into an action-plan.

 Envision’s role is to support the teams in developing key competencies along the way. In the run up to the Christmas break the young people focused on developing their SMART goals; exploring the why, how, and whats of their projects; whilst becoming pitch perfect for the all-important Pitching Challenge.



Competition activity

The team took part in the first inter-school challenge on Wednesday 13th December at Future Inns Hotel in Bristol. For this Pitching Challenge they were asked to present their creative project plans to a panel and ask for an investment of up to £100 for turning their ideas into reality.

 Team Aspire were awarded the maximum investment amount. The young people were thrilled to have this expression of belief in what they were doing. They also got some great feedback from the judges on things they can do to make their projects even better.


So where are the teams now?

Team Aspire want to ensure that young people are given all the information necessary when making important decisions about their future career path. They are concerned that non-traditional career routes and qualifications are not given the coverage that they deserve, and that parents and society too often force young people down paths that don’t resonate with their own interests and ambitions. As a result of an offer made to them by one of the dragons at the Pitching Challenge, they spent a day at a creative media training provider called boomsatsuma. While there, they shot and edited a short film; designed a logo and website; and created a set of leaflets that will be used to support their message. With this opportunity, they were able to start making their project a reality and are one step closer to making the difference they want to see in the world.  


You can watch the video them made below.

For more information about Envision and how you might get involved in the work they do, click here.

Case Study: Mojo Active’s Cory Harrison

Mojo Active is one of Bristol’s best-equipped outdoor activity centres, located in 150 acres of private fields and woodland in Almondsbury. From its humble beginnings as a venue for birthday parties and bootcamp fitness sessions, it is now able to offer education programmes and often works with young people from challenging backgrounds.

The Mojo Active facilities and instructors provide a positive and developmental environment for young people to thrive. They pride themselves on using the outdoors as a medium to explore, enhance and make the groups they work with understand a variety of personal and team attributes. They attributes include respect, personal awareness, a sense of belonging, social cohesion, leadership, trust, and communication, along with many others. Many of the soft skills we often hear employers talk about. 

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Cory Harrison has been one of Mojo Active’s great success stories. Cory is the perfect ambassador for how an individual can flourish and succeed with a good work ethic, respect, loyalty and commitment despite being faced with adversity and challenging personal circumstances.

Cory has been with Mojo Active since he left school three years ago. The team decided to take him on due to the personal qualities he displayed whilst attending an early morning Rowing Academy that Mojo Active ran. The academy ran three mornings a week and Cory attended nearly every single session that was provided. He was always on time, if not early, and he was continuously eager to help set up the equipment. One morning, whilst Cory was nearing the end of Year 11, he didn’t turn up. This was very unusual and it became apparent that Cory actually had a job before rowing and on this particular occasion, he had been delayed as his bike was stolen.

The team at Mojo Active were taken aback by the realisation that Cory was not only an incredibly vigilant and determined member of the Rowing Academy but he was actually completing a shift of work before attending, further demonstrating his commitment. When Cory turned up late that morning and was extremely apologetic, Mark Johnson, Operations Manager, was stunned by his commitment, work ethic and respect, stating “I thought that this boy deserves a huge amount of respect and a chance”.

A few months later Cory was nearing the end of his final school year and Mark decided to take him aside and have a discussion with him about what he was intended to do next. Cory disclosed that he had been advised by his school and his family to apply for a Level One Mechanics course. Mark was shocked. In his view, Cory was a young person with massive potential - six GCSEs at Grade C and above - and he was being encouraged to leave school and start a course that was a level much lower than he was capable of.  

It was at this point that Mark felt that he had to intervene.  Researching the national apprenticeship scheme, he found out that Mojo Active could take him on, provide quality training for him and pay him subsidised by the government. Mark offered Cory the opportunity and he accepted; both Mojo Active and Cory have never looked back. The feeling at Mojo Active is that Cory has proven himself to be an outstanding member of the team. He has achieved and grown so quickly over the past three years that Mark, and the other members of the team, say that he has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside.

Without this guidance, support and advice, Cory may not have been exposed to alternative progression routes and an apprenticeship that has led to a job he loves. For more information about apprenticeships, you can check out the page or you can find out more at 'Get in Go Far'. 


EDF STEMworks Sessions Begin at City Academy

Yesterday, 58 Year 8 students from City Academy were thrilled to be part of a STEMworks day supported by EDF Hinkley Point C.

As science is a core subject, City Academy and Bristol WORKS sought to develop a programme of immersive science-based workshops that could offer young people at City Academy an insight into the principles of engineering, and the various job opportunities at EDF’s Hinkley Point C.

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The students started by learning about nuclear power and the various plants around the UK. Having completed preparatory work in lessons leading up to the session, the students avidly answered questions about the work EDF does, and how nuclear energy is created and used.

STEMworks, who were running the workshop, later explored the variety of job opportunities that Hinkley Point C is set to create. With the majority of students assuming that the workforce would mainly be made up of scientists in radiation suits, they were intrigued to hear that the opportunities are so diverse.

The exciting workshop culminated in students working in teams to build a carriage to safely launch eggs across the room. Carefully selecting materials and ensuring they kept costs down, the teams worked together to design carriages that would travel as far as possible but keep the structure and integrity of the egg in tact.


With two further Year 8 sessions to come, and more with Year 9 throughout February and March, City Academy students have a lot more Bristol WORKS excitement in store.  

Cabot Learning Federation’s ‘Raising Aspirations’ Event is Back

CLF’s annual ‘Raising Aspirations’ event is fast approaching and with the Government’s new careers strategy placing more importance on students’ access to employment opportunities than ever before, this year it is set to have a big impact. 

“Good career guidance is critical if young people are to raise their aspirations and capitalise on the opportunities available to them.” Sir John Holman


CLF’s goal is threefold. As well as aiming to raise students' aspirations, they aim to raise their awareness of the opportunities open to them, and to illustrate that the routes are often linked. They believe that with the challenges young people face in a changing and complex world, there is a need for quality careers information, advice and guidance (CIAG).

‘Raising Aspirations’, taking place on the 5th and 6th of February 2018, is an event that brings together professionals from industry and education to offer inspiring talks, engaging activities and exciting workshops for young people. Their aim is to offer young people real experience of industry so they can walk away from the event feeling more informed, more confident, and knowing that they have better choices.

‘Raising Aspirations’ is primarily for schools in East Central Bristol who join together for one exciting event. The Year 9 students, on the brink of making important choices regarding their GCSE options, gather to gain inspirational Careers Information Advice and Guidance. In particular, the event aims to promote and celebrate the wealth of opportunities and career entry routes for students as they start to think about their own individual pathways.

There are four main areas of focus:

  • Higher Education: local Universities delivering information about courses and qualifications.
  • Local businesses: giving practical advice on routes into employment/careers.
  • Further education and training providers: offering information and advice.
  • Employability skills - including information on Apprenticeships/Traineeships.

Are you an organisation that would like to be involved? Click here to find out more. Or, you can download the event flyer here. 

Be a Governor with Bristol Learning City

With business skills you could be a school governor. 

Learning City has launched a recruitment campaign inviting the Bristol business community to help fill around 200 school governor and trustee vacancies by September 2018.

Schools can benefit from the many skills businesses and their employees can bring to governing bodies. The benefits to businesses and their employees come from the learning that board members bring back to the workplace: increased confidence; decision-making and communication abilities, plus leadership and management skills.

We’ve created a new, online matching process that matches potential governors to Bristol schools, as well as an introduction for employees, explaining the easy application process and what to expect of the role:

The message from schools and Mayor Marvin Rees is that good governance can raise outcomes and life chances for young people across the city. Employers can add more Bristol business skills to the good work being done on school boards today.

Visit Bristol Learning City for further information on Learning and skills.

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Bristol WORKS supports Future Quest Mentoring Scheme at City Academy

As part of the Future Quest mentoring scheme, Bristol WORKS is collaborating with teachers at City Academy to provide professional group mentoring opportunities for students.

Yasmin Curtis and Kerry Boucher, both recent graduates currently working as Paediatric Nurses at Bristol Children’s Hospital, visited the school yesterday to discuss their pathways into nursing and the challenges they overcame along the way.

Having both gained places on Filton College’s access course, before embarking on their three year degree in Children’s Nursing at UWE, Yasmin and Kerry were able to offer insight into the challenges and successes of their time in Further and Higher Education. Listening attentively, the students asked questions and sought advice about how to make positive choices and where to get support.


Future Quest, led by UWE Bristol and funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), is all about encouraging young people to get into Higher Education, where participation is lower than expected. By working collaboratively with HE providers, schools, colleges, employers and partners, Future Quest aims to offer students opportunities to learn about educational pathways, university and the development of skills to make successful choices and progression.

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With regular mentoring sessions scheduled until March, the students at City Academy will have the opportunity to listen to the stories of professionals from a cross section of industry. That’s where Bristol WORKS comes in. Collaborating with staff at the school, WORKS is now providing access to professionals from the creative and digital sector, retail and optometry. The broader their experiences, the more informed they will be.

Ashton Park School's Careers Fair is Bigger than Ever.

On Wednesday 24th of January, Ashton Park School are hosting their annual Careers Fair and this year, for the first time, they’ve decided to invite other Bristol schools.

With the success of last year’s event, the school are excited at the new prospect of expanding their reach and being inclusive. Last year the event saw over 70 exhibitors from a cross section of industry. These included: HE and FE organisations, apprenticeship providers, individual companies and the uniformed services. With the success of this event still in mind, the school are looking to make the event even broader this year.

Due to the interest already shown by new organisations, Ashton Park are hoping to increase their numbers to more than 80 exhibitors. The aim is to give their students a more comprehensive insight into various career pathways as they believe that choice is key to student success.

In addition to the organisations and their exhibitions, the fair will also feature a series of mini presentations. These will predominantly be for parents and they’ll cover a variety of topics including: apprenticeships, engineering, construction, business  and finance , health and social care, ICT and media, and hospitality.

For more information contact

National Career Guidance Show Comes to Bristol in March

Following on from a series of successful skills events across the country, The National Career Guidance Show South is visiting Bristol’s Ashton Gate Stadium on 22nd of March 2018.

The National Career Guidance Show South is a new event added to the popular series which already sees over 2,000 careers advisers, coaches, teachers, practitioners and other professionals benefit from free CPD and networking opportunities with hundreds of employers, universities and other organisations who can support the work of career professionals.

Prospects Group, the organisation behind the skills events,  provide tailored education, employment, training and care products and services for people at all stages of life. With extensive experience in all of these areas, the event promises to have a brilliant line-up and develop CPD opportunities in an informal setting to careers advisers, learning and development managers, teachers and practitioners working across all sectors.

With the government launching their new careers strategy earlier this month, now is the perfect time to book spaces to ensure you stay up-to-date with all the latest developments in the world of careers.