Parents-Careers Guidance

Welcome to Millom School’s careers information for parents and carers. This section of the website has been specifically designed to provide you with the key information we feel you need to support your child in making informed choices about their future. We want our pupils to choose progression routes that are suited to their skills and talents and that will lead to confident youngsters entering the modern workplace equipped with the knowledge and skills for success. We recognise that parents and carers play a vital role in supporting children making such important choices. We hope you find this useful and are happy to take feedback about the information we are making accessible to you.

FAQs for parents – click on the questions to find out more.

Parents’ guide to careers in engineering

How can I support my child with their career and progression aspirations?

Key Stage 3
• Help your child evaluate their talents, aptitudes, strengths and weaknesses
• Help your child discover their passion and motivate them to pursue it
• Encourage your child to talk to family members and friends about their career choices and ask questions about employment and the workplace
• Encourage them to take part in school trips and visits e.g. Conway, ski trip, curriculum day tips
• Encourage them to take up the Duke of Edinburgh Award
• Encourage them to go beyond their comfort zone in Activity Week or take up a new hobby
• Encourage them to keep a log of activities and reflect on their skill development
• Discuss future progression with your child during the Year 9 Options process and attend the Options Evening for parents
• Encourage your child to start thinking about potential routes for progression when they reach the end of Year 11 e.g. 6th form, college, apprenticeship
• Encourage your child to develop good learning habits to support them achieving the best qualifications possible for them
• Help your child value equality and diversity and help them to challenge and question stereotypical views
• Encourage your child to explore BBC Bitesize Careers
Key Stage 4
• Encourage your child to apply to attend University of Cumbria summer schools for Year 10 pupils
• Assist them with finding work experience placements in Year 10
• Take your child to visit a range of post-16 education providers e.g, school sixth forms, colleges, training providers
• Encourage your child to apply for the National Citizen Scheme in Year 11
• Ask your child about their Inspira personalised progression plan, during Year 11 (some pupils start having one-to-one appointments during Years 9 and 10)
• Discuss future progression with your child during the Year 11 Options process and attend the 6th Form Information Evening
• Encourage your child to research typical interview questions and get them to practice their answers
• Ask your child about how they are developing their CV
• Talk to your child about life skills such as paying bills, taxes, national insurance, mortgages etc
• Encourage your child to take the career planner or job match quiz on the Prospects website, or the I Could website (links provided in the ‘other useful information’ section below)
Key Stage 5
• Encourage your child to apply for academic master classes e.g. those offered by the University of Cumbria and summer schools e.g. those offered by the Sutton Trust
• Proof read their personal statement for university or apprenticeship applications
• Take them to university open days, UCAS fairs, careers fairs and training provider open events
• Encourage them to attend school trips and events
• Encourage them to apply for Dream Placement
• Ask your child about their Inspira personalised progression plan
• Assist them with finding work experience placements in Year 12
• Encourage them to complete higher level academic research outside their normal hours of study e.g. by completing a MOOC (massive open online course) or by using the AccessEd resources

What should I avoid doing when offering careers guidance to my child?

✓ Don’t dictate your child’s decision or misguide your child into choosing a career of your choice
✓ Don’t allow other people to give your child impartial or biased advice and guidance
✓ Try not to burden your child with unrealistic expectations
✓ Try not to lose patience with your child
✓ Don’t try to impose views or ideas that existed when you were at school
✓ Don’t answer your child’s query if you’re not sure of the right answer; it’s ok to take time, research the facts and seek professional help

What kind of careers adviser are you?

Use the following link to see if you fit into one of four styles and get some tips on how to change things:

Top tips for parents from industry experts

Who are the key partners working with school in delivering careers education, information, advice and guidance?

→Cumbria Careers Hub

Millom School are
excited to be a partner in of one the first national pilot Careers Hubs working with the Careers and Enterprise Company, the Cumbria
LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and a number of schools across the county.
We are working closely with the Furness cluster of schools and businesses
including the Furness Education and Skills Partnership (FESP) and the Furness
Education Consortium (FEC). This collaboration intends to improve the access of
pupils across Cumbria to high quality careers education, information, advice
and guidance by improving provision and working towards the eight benchmarks of
good careers guidance, as identified by Sir John Holman’s report for the Gatsby
Foundation in 2013 which have been adopted by the Department for Education in
their statutory careers guidance updated in 2018. This partnership involves
support from an Enterprise Coordinator who helps to link schools with employers
and businesses and an Enterprise Adviser, a current employer who comes into
school to help evaluate and improve the school’s careers strategy.

→Hello Future

Hello Future is part of the Cumbria Collaborative Outreach
Programme involving a partnership of local universities, colleges, schools and
employers with the objective of improving the access of young people to higher
education. This project is government funded and some of the work specifically
focuses on young people within targeted areas, where there has been a lower
than average progression rate to university and who are likely to achieve five
or more GCSEs at grades 4-9 including maths and English. For Millom School, the
specific target ward is Holborn. However, many students in school from Year 9
to Year 13 benefit from the work of the Hello Future team who offer year group
assemblies, workshops, small group mentoring and one-to-one sessions. Hello
Future support us with taking groups of pupils to visit universities and
delivering important information on the labour market, progression pathways and
applications to university, as well as coaching target pupils to have ‘growth
mindset’ and develop resilience and confidence.

→National Citizen Service

NCS is an experience
for young people to challenge and empower them. It is a four-phase programme
involving a 5-day adventure residential, a week of independent living where
students learn life skills from local business leaders and charities, a
community project and lastly a celebration event upon successful completion. It
costs as little as £50 per student and there are ways to reduce this cost,
depending on family income. We recommend that students apply to do the NCS
programme in the summer after completion of Year 11. It is a fantastic way to
develop their CV and employers rate it highly. It is likely that successful
completion of the NCS programme would give students a competitive edge when
applying for apprenticeships, jobs, college and university courses. Students
who don’t apply during Year 11 can apply during Year 12, as long as they’re
under 18 during the residential parts of the programme, they can apply!

Inspira are the leading
organisation in the North West for personal development and career management.
Millom School work with Inspira to provide students with access to impartial
careers advice and guidance from a Level 6 trained careers adviser. Inspira
also deliver careers education and information through year group assemblies
and smaller group workshops. Part of this is delivered through the Personal
Development curriculum. Inspira also help us track the destinations of our
students when they leave school in Year 11 or Year 13. All pupils in Years 11,
12 and 13 will have at least one personal careers appointment within a
particular academic year. This involves discussing progression pathways and
career intentions. The student will receive an individual progression plan,
which is emailed to them, as well as getting access to specific information
about level 3 programmes of study and employment with training opportunities.
Many students will access two or more individual careers appointments with the
same adviser. Students who have an education and health care plan (EHCP) will
access regular appointments from Year 9 onwards. Students who are identified by
Millom School as at risk of NEET (not in education or employment with training)
will also access regular appointments. Millom School has also made the
commitment to support students who have been on Free School Meals at any point
during the last six years. These students may be given priority appointments
during Year 10 with follow up appointments in Year 11.


Dream Placement is a scheme
offered to students in Cumbria by the Centre for Leadership Performance.
Students apply on the CforLP website and we advise them to apply during Year
12. There is a rigorous selection process and students may be invited to attend
a selection event and a formal interview. However, if they are successful they
get to spend a week working with a CEO or director of a company, finding out
about all aspects of employment in their chosen industry and working life.
Students can receive support for their application via their form tutor,
director of learning for KS5 or within personal development lessons. Dream
Placement is more than a work experience placement, it can be a life changing
experience as a student of ours, Katherine Armstrong, found out when her Dream
Placement employer created a special job opportunity for her as they were so
impressed by her motivation and enthusiasm. Katherine is now working in the
transports and logistics sector of Cyclife UK. 


What are Gatsby benchmarks?

In 2013 the Gatsby Foundation commissioned Sir John Holman to carry out a lengthy international
study to identify the best practice defining ‘good career guidance’ for young
people. This report identified eight benchmarks for this good practice. The
Department for Education have recently included this within their statutory
guidance for schools, meaning that schools have to show progress towards
meeting these benchmarks by 2020. You can find more information about the
benchmarks and the school’s progress towards meeting them in the Millom School
Careers Strategy. The eight benchmarks are:
1. A school must have a stable career programme
2. Pupils should learn from career and labour market information
3. The needs of each pupil should be addressed
4. Curriculum learning should be linked to careers
5. Pupils should have varied encounters with employers and employees
6. Pupils should have experience of the workplace
7. Pupils should have encounters with further and higher education
8. Pupils should experience personal guidance  

How do I access labour market information to help my child make decisions about their future?

Whilst pupils will receive up
to date labour market information through assemblies, guest speakers, workshops
and personal development lessons, it is often difficult for parents to access
this information. The website is a good place to start, but LMI
can feel like a bit of a minefield! Watch out for parent and pupil friendly
presentations coming soon, which attempt to make this information more
accessible. Hello Future are working with the Cumbria LEP and FESP to provide
this information to schools. To keep you up to date with local business
and enterprise opportunities we recommend that you sign up to receive free
copies of the In Cumbria magazine:

Where can I find information to support my child with applying to university?
The website is a good place to
start. Here you can find information about applying via UCAS (Universities and
Colleges Admissions Service), information about fees, access open day events
and research league tables.

Most students upon leaving 6th
form or college will opt for an undergraduate degree course at Bachelor’s
level. These are usually 3 years, but some courses offer a sandwich year, a
year abroad or an industrial placement year, taking their total length to 4
years. Some undergraduate degrees are 4 years because they automatically have
progression to a Master’s level course. However, most students apply for a
Bachelor’s undergraduate degree and then have the option to pursue a
postgraduate degree (Master’s or PhD) after that, or enter employment or a
graduate training programme.

It is a misconception that
students must have A level qualifications to apply for university. Most
universities, including Russell Group universities (24 leading UK
universities), will accept a mixture of A level and vocational qualifications
(e.g. BTECs or Cambridge Technicals) for most courses. Some universities will
accept vocational qualifications on their own. Some universities (e.g. Oxford
and Cambridge) and some courses (e.g. medicine, veterinary and dentistry) do
not accept vocational qualifications as alternatives to A levels so it is
important that students check this during the Year 11 options process.

The UCAS website has a most
useful search tool where students can easily find information about
undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at UK universities. This will list key
information about the course, about the university and tell you the entry
requirements. Students may, however, find their Unifrog account to be a more
user-friendly platform. This website allows them to highlight preferences,
filter university searches based on particular criteria, compare courses and
save their choices. It also allows school staff to interact with their choices
so teachers can check that progression pathways are appropriate and realistic.

Students will apply to
university via the UCAS website at the start of Year 13. The deadline is
generally the following January, however, Millom School strongly recommend that
applications are submitted by the end of the November, so that offers can be received
earlier. Students need to pay for their application, which is currently £24.
They submit 5 choices. They need to provide personal and academic information
and they will also submit a personal statement up to 4000 characters in length
(including spaces). Millom School provide a personalised reference for each
student, which gives predicted grades for each subject, a comment about the
student’s skill set and ability in that subject and an overall comment about
character and aspirations. References and personal statements are quality
assured by members of the school’s senior leadership team. As students write
only one personal statement and receive only one reference, we recommend that
the student’s 5 choices are suitably similar, otherwise it would be difficult
to justify reasons for applying. For example, a student should not apply for a
law degree and a nursing degree on the same application, as the subjects and
skills are too different, therefore it is likely that the application would not
pass the university admissions teams and be rejected.

Students of Millom School can access
information about university in the following ways:

• Assemblies and talks by higher education providers
• Small group workshops e.g. those delivered by the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge
• A huge range of paper prospectuses accessible via the School Library
• Opportunities to attend events such as careers fairs, SkillsFest, UCAS HE exhibition
• Trips to universities
• Applying for master classes and summer schools
• Attending open days
• Personal development lessons
• Through the curriculum where class teachers link lessons to higher education options
• Discussions with the Inspira careers adviser
• Discussions with form tutor and the director of learning for KS5
• Year 11 options talks and interviews
• Hello Future workshops and mentoring
• Accessing higher level learning materials such as projects and reading lists devised by university staff
• Accessing the Unifrog search platform
• Accessing the UCAS website
• Support for UCAS applications and personal statements
• Support for interviews

Parents and carers may
have some concerns about the costs of supporting a student through university.
Tuition fees, university accommodation and general living costs can put a
strain on the family income, and for some families worry about financial
impacts may put off a student from applying to higher education. The Guardian
recently published an article about some of the misconceptions prospective
undergraduates have about student loans:
This government website has
information about student loans in England and how to apply for them: but the Universities and Colleges
Admissions Service (UCAS) also has helpful information about student finance The Student Loans Company may also provide further
Where can I find information to support my child with applying for an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a
way of working whilst studying and learning new skills. They are an ideal
option for students who want to earn as they learn and who know the type of
career pathway they wish to follow. There are no fees for apprenticeships, as
the training costs are met by the employer and the government. For this reason,
they are an attractive alternative to higher education for some students. There
are different types of apprenticeships, each type has different entry criteria
and may have age limitations:

• Intermediate apprenticeships (Level 2, broadly equivalent to 5 GCSE level passes, suitable for students aged 16)
• Advanced apprenticeships (Level 3, broadly equivalent to 2 A level passes, suitable for students aged 16, 17 or 18)
• Higher apprenticeships (Level 4 and beyond)
• Degree level apprenticeships (Levels 5-7)

Entry criteria for
intermediate apprenticeships vary but most employers ask for 2 or more GCSEs.
If a student does not have maths or English GCSE, then they are required to
re-sit these qualifications alongside the apprenticeship. Entry criteria for
advanced apprenticeships also vary but most employers require 5 or more GCSEs
at grades 4-9, including maths and English. Some pupils are successful with
applying for advanced apprenticeships at 16. Some pupils complete Level 3 study
at 6th form or college first and then apply for an advanced
apprenticeship at the age of 18 upon successful completion of their Level 3
qualifications. Higher apprenticeships usually involve the apprentice
completing a foundation degree or Higher National Diploma (HND) so the entry
criteria for these apprenticeships are usually higher and employers expect
successful candidates to have Level 3 qualifications. Therefore most students
who apply for these apprenticeships are aged 18 or over. Degree apprenticeships
are similar to higher apprenticeships but allow the candidate to progress onto
achieving a full Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, equivalent to study at higher
education level, but often the employer pays the tuition fees at least in part
if not in full.

Apprenticeships are
available in many sectors of industry, offered by large and small companies.
Students may apply for apprenticeships directly with a company, via a training
provider (for example Gen 2, Taylor Made Training) or through an FE college
like Furness College, the Lakes College or Kendal College. Apprenticeships are
competitive and the selection process may be understandably rigorous. Students
usually have to submit an application form and attend a formal interview, but
they may also be invited to attend a selection day where they have to complete
a variety of tasks including team activities. Some students are also required
to take some form of psychometric test.

For students applying for apprenticeships, Millom School recommends the following:

• Research the employer thoroughly
• Understand the terms and conditions of the employment including pay, holidays, sick leave
• Check whether or not successful completion of the apprenticeship leads to full time employment with the company
• Check the level of apprenticeship and associated entry criteria
• Check the apprenticeship is supported by an approved training provider
• Check opportunities to re-sit GCSE maths and English if the qualification have not been achieved at grade 4+
• Check the level of apprenticeship and progression route, for example, does the advanced apprenticeship allow automatic progression to the degree apprenticeship?
• Ensure deadlines for applications are met
• Have a teacher check the application and personal statement
• Apply for alternatives in case applications are unsuccessful
• Take opportunities offered by school (and outside of school) to improve the CV, as apprenticeships are highly competitive and candidates need to stand out

The Amazing Apprenticeships website regularly displays ‘parent packs’ on their website
detailing opportunities and information aimed at parents and carers. You will
find a link to the March 2019 parent pack under ‘useful websites for parents’.

Students of Millom School can access
information about apprenticeships in the following ways:

• Assemblies and talks by employers and training providers
• Opportunities to attend events such as careers fairs, SkillsFest and Copeland Skills Fair
• Attending training provider open days
• Personal development lessons
• Through the curriculum where class teachers link lessons to apprenticeship options
• Discussions with the Inspira careers adviser
• Discussions with form tutor and the director of learning for KS5
• Year 11 options talks and interviews
• Hello Future workshops and mentoring
• Accessing the Unifrog search platform, which includes apprenticeship vacancies
• Support for applications and personal statements
• Support for interviews


I’ve heard about T Levels. What are they and can my child study them?

T Levels are new technical courses for 16 year olds that are coming in September 2020. Pupils who started Year 10 in September 2018 will be the first cohort able to study them. They are 2-year courses that are equivalent to 3 A Levels that are specifically designed to prepare students for work and meet the needs of UK industries. So a student would study a single T Level. They are not designed to be taken alongside A Levels or equivalent vocational qualifications but rather are a choice for students instead of these more traditional programmes of study. T Levels offer students a mixture of learning in the classroom and work experience of approximately 45 days duration. They will be based on the same standards as apprenticeships, have been designed by employers are have been approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. The first T Level courses available will be in: digital production, design and development; design, surveying and planning; and education. There are some providers in the North West of England who will be offering T Levels in September 2020, however, there are currently no providers in Cumbria. A list of providers can be accessed through the website found in the section ‘useful websites for parents’.  
I’m confused about UTCs and Studio Schools. How are they different and what does this mean for my child?

University Technical Colleges (UTCs) and Studio Schools are both types of free school, meaning that they’re funded by the government but aren’t run by the local council and don’t have to follow the national curriculum. Generally, these are schools for 14-19 year olds, so students in Year 9 can opt to pursue Key Stage 4 options at a different school. Pupils in UTCs specialise in subjects like engineering and construction and learn about subjects like business and IT alongside. Pupils may study a range of academic and practical subjects leading to gaining a technical qualification. The curriculum is designed by the university and employers who also provide work experience. The nearest UTC to Millom is the Energy Coast UTC near Workington. Studio Schools are small schools that teach mainstream qualifications through project-based learning. Students may work with employers and a personal coach and follow a curriculum designed to allow them to pursue employment or further education. The nearest Studio School to Millom is the Queen Elizabeth Studio School in Kirby Lonsdale, which is for students aged 14-18.  

I’m a parent, but I’m also an employer and I’m keen to get involved. How do I find more information?

Please visit the
careers page and click on the employer link. Here you will find suggestions for how you can contribute to careers education, information, advice and guidance at Millom School. We would value your input and look forward to hearing from you.

Useful websites for parents

Access a careers magazine aimed at parents ‘careermag’ released three times a year, filled with useful information. Subscribe for free using the following link:
Download a free Aspire guide for parents outlining Post-18 choices for students. Register using the following link:
Watch the vlog series ‘Clueless Mum’, the first episode of which can be found here:
Find out more about the Holman report for the Gatsby foundation and the 8 Gatsby benchmarks:
Here you will find information about the 24 leading UK universities:

The Times Higher Education Essential Guide is useful for giving information about the university application process:

This link will take you to the latest DfE careers statutory guidance for schools:
Apprenticeship parent pack:
Information about apprenticeships:
Gen 2 training provider:
Information about T-levels:
Information about University Technical Colleges:

Useful websites for students
Explore BBC Bitesize:
Career planner tool:
To explore careers:
To learn more about the future of careers in retail:
Ask questions of healthcare professionals:
Apply for NCS:
Webchat or speak to a careers adviser:
Find an apprenticeship:

Websites of our partners

National Careers Service