Higher Education and Careers 

As pupils progress through the school, we aim to ensure that careers advice and guidance is provided at key points, enabling pupils to make sensible and informed decisions regarding subject options and career and higher education choices. Advice is offered on a variety of career-related issues, including university and other higher education courses, apprenticeships and school-leaver schemes, subject and option choices, gap years and placements in industry. 

The Careers Department is located on the lower floor of the library building. The fully-resourced careers library is open throughout the school day and, as we have the benefit of a dedicated Head of Careers resource, students are welcome to drop in for an informal discussion anytime between 8.00 am to 4.00 pm, Mondays to Thursdays. Activities embedded within the PSHE/Key Skills curriculum alongside a series of extra-curricular careers talks, workshops and conferences form the basis of the school’s careers education, information, advice, and guidance (CEIAG) programme. This aims to help students know and understand:

  • Their abilities, strengths, and preferences

  • What the world of work is like and what employers want

  • What employability skills are and how they can develop them

  • How the world of work is changing 

  • Different routes into learning, training, and development

Fourth Forms (Years 7 and 8)

During Fourth Forms (Years 7 and 8) careers activities, delivered within the PSHE programme, ensure pupils develop an understanding of their personality and characteristics identifying key employability skills and qualities. Outside the classroom they have the opportunity to start exploring the variety of career paths available through the annual ‘Step Into the NHS’ competition and, during the summer term in Year 8, they are given the chance to gain an initial insight into business with the immensely fun ‘Chocolate Challenge’ workshop. 

News from the Fourth Forms

Removes (Years 9 and 10)

During Lower Remove and Upper Remove (Years 9 and 10) we use a series of initiatives to encourage careers exploration. The Career Investigator software package, introduced to Lower Remove students during the Autumn term, results in a comprehensive, personalised report offering a range of career families that may be of interest. The report is used as the basis of a workbook activity led by careers staff to ensure students understand how their abilities, interests, and strengths related to the identified roles and to demonstrate how various online and paper-based careers resources can be used effectively for individual follow up work. 
As Lower Remove students look towards choosing their GCSE options they are offered the opportunity to sign up to Morrisby Online. This careers and guidance package offers a comprehensive service that can be used to support decisions at key transition points throughout secondary, further and higher education. 
Throughout Lower Remove and Upper Remove students are encouraged to attend bi-weekly careers talks. To inspire them further we offer Upper Remove students the opportunity to take part in a careers speed dating event. Our inaugural event during the summer term last year enabled 130 students, split into small groups, to find out all about the varied and interesting careers of 20 returning Old Vigornian’s. A fantastic event that now forms part of our annual careers calendar. 

News from Upper and Lower Remove

Fifth Form (Year 11)

During the Fifth Form (Year Eleven) the Morrisby Online service enables students to take control of their own career planning choices. A series of online psychometric assessments completed in September resulted in a detailed profile that students, staff, and parents are encouraged to review thoroughly before a 1:1 guidance interview with an independent career professional. This approach ensures students and parents are provided with the advice and guidance they need to make informed subject and career choices. 

Sixth Form

During Sixth Form the emphasis is on exploring the range of pathways available after A levels and building an awareness of those relevant to career goals. With 90% of students moving on to university there is a strong Higher Education component within the programme.

A full programme of workshops, talks and discussions are organised by the Head of Careers and the Head of Sixth Form, relating to the different aspects of the application procedure to universities in the UK and abroad. This includes plenary sessions focussing on the applications procedure to university and the financial awareness required, an Open Day visit for all Lower Sixth students and a presentation to parents about all aspects of Higher Education.

Oxford and Cambridge applications

All prospective candidates should consult the Oxford or Cambridge websites or the undergraduate prospectuses available in the Higher Education and Careers Library. A number of talks and presentations for potential Oxbridge candidates take place throughout the year, which all interested pupils are welcome to attend. 

Entry involves conditional offers based on the UCAS Application Form which must be submitted internally by 5 October, an interview and in some subjects additional aptitude tests and submitted written work. Interviews are held during the first three weeks in December and there is no flexibility in the timings. The dates are published in advance in the prospectus and on the website.
Both Oxford and Cambridge require candidates to take aptitude tests for almost all courses. Oxford has had this requirement for a number of years, whereas Cambridge has recently introduced aptitude tests for applicants for 2017 entry. These are generally held on the first Wednesday in November. 

There are special arrangements for Organ, Choral and Instrumental awards. The application forms are available online and prospective candidates must consult the music department in order to complete their application forms by the earlier deadline.

Medicine applications

Medicine is an extremely competitive degree course. An early UCAS application is essential and there is an internal deadline of 5 October for submission of the UCAS form. Applicants are allowed a maximum of four choices to study Medicine, but may include another course for their fifth application.Applicants are often called for interview and will face searching questions about their motivation, their work at school and their personal interests.

In 2004 the BioMedical Admission Test (BMAT) was introduced for applicants for Medicine and Veterinary Science at some institutions including Oxford and Cambridge. The test is administered by Cambridge Assessment and further information is available on their website. In 2006 the UK Clinical Aptitude Test was introduced for applicants to Medical and Dental School. Further information is available on their website.

The British Medical Association produces advice and guidance covering all stages of medical education, including undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education. Medschools online provides invaluable information on the application process and the requirements of each medical school.

Workshops for potential Medical Applicants

At present, there are many organisations offering one or two-day workshops for potential medical applicants. These workshops generally include information on the medical profession and also sessions on the application process. The following are links to some of these organisations:

Work Experience

All Lower Sixth students are encouraged to undertake a week of work experience, the range of placements has recently included Microsoft, GKN Aerospace, Qinetiq Group and Sanctuary. Other students have helped in local primary and special needs schools, shadowed in law firms, hospitals, and veterinary practices, repaired dry stone walls and rescued swans. The department enjoys a challenge and does its best to accommodate even the more unusual requests: aspiring bullfighters, astronauts, and herpetologists have all been to see us. Students are encouraged to find work experience out of the Worcester area and placements have been arranged by the MFL Department in France and Germany. London placements have also become increasingly popular.

Conferences and Careers Talks

In recent years, we have arranged Healthcare Conferences, Law Days, a Media Day, an Engineering Conference, a Modern Language Conference, an English Conference, a Finance Day, a Women in Leadership Conference and a Property Conference. These conferences are always popular and draw students from Fifth and Sixth Form. 
A Lower Sixth form Business Conference is held at the end of the year; students are taken through a series of challenges and workshops, led by representatives from local businesses and companies. A Careers Networking event has also recently been added to the school calendar during the summer term to provide the opportunity to practice essential networking skills while learning about a wide range of careers. 
The Department also arranges a number of before-school and lunchtime careers talks given by people working in various professions. Recent talks have included forensic science, accountancy, finance, medical research, architecture, law, journalism, as well as Headstart, the Year in Industry scheme and other Gap Year programmes. Students in Removes, Fifth and Sixth Form are invited to attend.

Gap Year

Increasing numbers of former students undertake a gap year before beginning undergraduate study. Experience tells us that most admissions tutors look positively on applicants who have spent a worthwhile year involved in work experience and volunteering. It provides opportunities to develop self-reliance, confidence, and independence as well as new skills. We provide resources on funding, safety issues, and organisations offering placements.

Interview Practice 

A regular feature is an evening in November when members of the Upper Sixth have the opportunity to experience a practice one-to-one interview with parents or friends of the school with expertise in particular areas. 

Parent and OV Support

Parents and OV’s provide a wonderful resource and we are always excited to hear from anyone who would like to share their expertise with students.

Please contact Mrs Hannah Riddell, Head of Careers, if you feel you would like to support any of the various events mentioned above.