Building Roots and Wings at Castle Mead Academy

Castle Mead Academy wants you to have a successful future!  You will be given lots of support to develop key employability skills as well as knowledge and understanding of the broad range of options available to you when you leave Castle Mead Academy.  We offer advice and guidance throughout your time with us and also ensure that you have access to information around the world of work at all stages of your educational journey. We will inspire you to be ambitious and develop the skills and confidence to make well-informed decisions in preparation for the next phase of your education, training and place within the world of work.

Learning in each year has a key focus

Year 7 – Awareness
“How is what I am learning in school now preparing me for the wide range of future pathways and careers available to me?”

Year 8 – Explore
“As I learn more about the world of work and the labour market, what aspirations do I have for my own careers journey?”

Year 9 – Consider
“How can I prepare to make informed decisions about my future?”

Year 10 – Experience
“How can I develop my employability skills further and articulate what I have to offer to potential employers and post 16 providers?”

Year 11 – Decide
“Which post 16 pathway am I going to take and how do I prepare myself for success at this next stage in my careers journey?”

Throughout each term, you will build upon your knowledge and experiences through a specific careers curriculum, learning within PSHE and Citizenship lessons, links throughout the curriculum, inspirational activities including assemblies, visiting speakers, workshops and trips and impartial advice and guidance.

How to access support

You will find lots of useful information within the careers pages of the Castle Mead Academy website.  If you have a generic careers related enquiry, please email [email protected]

The Castle Mead Academy careers team:

  • Mrs Walker, Careers Leader –  You can contact Mrs Walker, via [email protected] 
  • Miss Robertson, Assistant Careers Leader – You can contact Miss Robertson, via [email protected]
  • Mr Flanagan  Independent Careers Advisor – You can usually find him in 006 on Mondays.

Your form tutor, pastoral team and subject teachers are all here to help you too. Family and friends can also be great additional sources of support.

Post 16 pathways when you leave Castle Mead Academy

It is compulsory for young people to be in education or training until the age of 18.  There are plenty of different routes to go down when you turn 16, whether that’s going to college to do A levels or a vocational course like a T level, or starting to earn while learning as an apprentice. You can choose:

  • a full-time course at a college studying for A levels, a T level or a vocational course
  • learning while you earn on an apprenticeship, traineeship or study programme
  • spending 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training.

The DfE Skills for Careers website sets out the different routes open to you and supports you exploring your next steps.

Four main post 16 pathways

A levels – Advanced level qualifications (known as A levels) are subject-based qualifications that can lead to university, further study, an apprenticeship or work. You usually study A levels over two years and most students choose three subjects to study. A levels are usually assessed by a series of examinations.

Apprenticeships – An apprenticeship is a paid job where the employee learns and gains valuable experiences. Alongside on-the-job training, apprentices spend at least 20% of their working hours completing classroom-based learning with a college, university or training provider which leads to a nationally recognised qualification.

Vocational Technical Qualifications (eg BTECs or Cambridge Nationals/Technicals) – BTEC stands for the Business and Technology Education Council. BTECs are specialist work-related qualifications. BTECs are designed for young people interested in a particular sector or industry.  They combine practical learning with subject and theory content. There are over 2,000 BTEC qualifications across 16 sectors – they are available from entry level through to professional qualifications at level 7 (equivalent to postgraduate study).

T levels – T levels are new two-year courses equivalent to three A levels. They launched in September 2020 to students in England.  Leading businesses and employers helped design T Levels to help to ensure that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work. T-Levels offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience; this will include a 45-day work placement, so T levels will be more suited to students who know what occupation or industry they want to move into. What are T Levels video – GOV.UK (

Supported internship (if you have an EHCP) – A supported internship is an unpaid work-based study programme.  An internship can help you to make the transition from education to the workplace, while gaining the skills you need.

A highlight of the CMA scholar journey is the opportunity to participate in a one-week work experience placement in year 10.  Work experience provides a taste of the working world, and an opportunity for you to develop and improve essential transferable employability skills such as communication, time management, teamwork, resilience, confidence and problem solving.  Research shows that employers look for prospective employees to have completed work experience. Visit the work experience page for more information.

At the start of year 11, you will receive your log in details to access Positive Steps @16 (PS16).  PS16 is an online prospectus and application system for young people to apply to school sixth forms, colleges and training providers. Anyone can browse the prospectus to find out more about courses and opportunities, but to make an application you will need your log in details. Visit the PS16 page for more information.

Become an apprentice (
Find out how to become an apprentice, what apprenticeships are available, which employers offer them and information about starting your apprenticeship.
Find an apprenticeship (
Search and apply for an apprenticeship in England by key word, location etc and find out more about the opportunities available to you.
Amazing Apprenticeships
Learn more about the benefits of apprenticeships and tackle misconceptions 

Useful documents

  • National Careers Service – Explore careers – Choose from over 800 career profiles to discover what a job involves.
  • BBC Bitesize Careers – Information about jobs, sectors, careers, study options and skills.
  • Prospects – Find out about jobs sectors and jobs roles.
  • Start – Explore careers, find out about jobs sectors, jobs roles, study and course options.
  • icould – Watch over 1000 videos of people talking about their careers – explaining their job role, career path, and how different factors have shaped their direction.
  • Leicester Employment Hub – Find out about vacancies with employers committed to employing people who have additional needs and/or a disability.
  • LLEP World of Work – Watch videos about key local industries.

Labour Market Information (LMI) describes the world of work – including descriptions of different careers, their entry routes, salaries paid, skills and qualifications needed, the types of sectors that are growing and the skills that are in demand. LMI helps to demystify the jobs market. Having access to accurate and up-to-date information, will enable you to make informed choices and to plan appropriately. LMI is a very powerful tool when planning and researching your career ideas.

Find out more on our Labour Market Information (LMI) page.

Download the LLEP young persons ‘World of Work’ guide LLEP World of Work Leicestershire

The websites below all contain information and advice about starting your own business.