Students get lessons on how to take next steps from education into the real world

Beacon Academy in Crowborough recently hosted a special UCAS and careers day for the school’s sixth formers that saw a number of local businesses leading sessions and giving students lots of practical advice. The Times finds out more about the event…


Beacon Academy Sixth Form students preparing to progress into the world of work and higher education gained valuable insight from training providers, Beacon alumni and local employers at a special UCAS and Careers Day for Year 13 students earlier this month.

As part of the structured work-related learning programme at Beacon Academy, this event provided students preparing to progress to university, apprenticeships or employment the opportunity to take part in a number of practical, interactive sessions designed to support them with taking their next steps.

All students applying to university or to study an Art Foundation diploma attended an in-depth presentation looking at all aspects of student finance. Topics included how and when to apply for maintenance and tuition fee loans, to advice about budgeting and finding the right accommodation. These students then received further guidance and support from Sixth Form staff to complete their UCAS applications, write personal statements and prepare for entry interviews. Those applying for Art Foundation courses received specialist support with their portfolios and personal statements.

As in previous years, all Year 13 students engaged in a session designed to introduce them to the field of financial services and the importance of financial planning and budgeting. Matthew Ketley and Beacon alumnus, Andrew Brady, of local independent financial advisors, Prosperity IFA, led teams of students in a game of ‘Discover Fortunes’, encouraging students to practise their problem-solving skills while learning about different financial profiles and risk categories.

Those students who are considering apprenticeships attended an engaging and informative talk led by two former Beacon Academy students – Max Skinner, who left Sixth Form in 2020 to pursue an Accountancy Apprenticeship with PWC and fellow 2020 leaver, Louise Pettit, who is currently undertaking a Paralegal Apprenticeship with Cripps LLP and attended with Paralegal Manager (Legal Director), Fiona Chamberlain.

Careers Advisor and Assistant Head of Year 12, Mr Gary Williams, said: “Apprenticeships are becoming an increasingly attractive option for students and can offer an appealing route to employment linked with a degree .

“In recent years, a growing proportion of our students have progressed to prestigious apprenticeships both within the local area and further afield, and [into] a wide range of industries, including Construction, Sports Education and Finance.”

Students applying for apprenticeships prepared CVs and took part in mock interviews conducted by local employers. Nine members of the Crowborough Chamber of Commerce attended to conduct mock interviews with students and were able to provide constructive feedback.

Mr Charles Howarth, Assistant Headteacher at Beacon Academy Sixth Form, extended his thanks to the wide range of external visitors that contributed to the event’s success. He said: “We are really pleased with the way that the UCAS and Careers Day has developed over the past three years.

“We value all of the different kinds of progression that our students seek and so getting a good mixture of employment, apprenticeship and university support on this day has been really important to us. The positive responses from our students and our visitors suggest that we are getting this right.”

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