We have become the first college in the borough to achieve all eight of the Gatsby benchmarks after successfully embedding a programme of career education and guidance that is known and understood by pupils, parents, teachers, governors and employers.
In doing so, this will ensure our students are prepared for their next steps and future careers.
The Gatsby Benchmarks are a framework of 8 guidelines that define the best careers provision in secondary schools and colleges.
Recognition of this achievement was confirmed in our recent compass audit and is proof that the College has excelled in meeting the criteria set out in the benchmarks.
The Department for Education (DfE) outlined in their 2017 ‘Careers Strategy: Making the most of everyone’s skills and talents’ that every school and college should work towards the achievement of the 8 benchmarks of good career guidance, developed by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, to set a standard of excellence.
The benchmarks include: creating a stable careers programme, learning from career and labour market information, addressing the needs of each pupil and experiencing workplaces.
Benchmark 5: Encounters with Employers and Employees, for example indicates that every pupil should have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace. This can be through a range of enrichment activities including visiting speakers, employer masterclasses, industry visits, mentoring and enterprise schemes.
We work with a wide range of employers and have partnerships including Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, Sellafield Ltd. Wigan Council, Army, Royal Navy and RAF, HSBC, Alcedo Care, Rolls Royce, Atkins, Keepmoat and the North West Ambulance Service.
The College also has placement programmes in place with Wigan Council, Nippon Electric Glass, Waterfields Bakery and Kraft Heinz.
College Principal, Anna Dawe also champions careers at a Greater Manchester level and we are one of the lead colleges as part of the Bridge GM Careers Hub.
Karl Grimes, Bridge GM Careers Lead said: “Careers Education is not seen as a nice to have at Wigan & Leigh College, it is a must have and this is driven from the Principal.
"They have a team of dedicated professionals working in innovative ways to engage young people in thinking about their future aspirations. The commitment of the College’s Careers Leader to working collaboratively as part of the Greater Manchester Careers Hub is to be commended."
”Emma Bailie, Enterprise Co-ordinator for Bridge GM Careers Hub said: “I have been so impressed with the ‘can do’ attitude from every member of the Wigan & Leigh College team.
“Careers education is truly at the heart of everything the College does. They have taken the Gatsby Benchmarks, and challenged themselves to achieve them as quickly as possible while still improving the quality of provision for their students.”