Work Experience and Careers



At Robert Ogden School the students in P16 have the opportunity to access our Careers teacher. Access can be through 1-1 sessions or through class lessons. The career lessons help the pupils to become more confident in their knowledge of work related issues and readiness for the world of work. Careers at Robert Ogden School are tailor made to facilitate the broadening of students existing experiences and develops employability skills.

The students regularly visit and make individual and group assessments of a variety of careers work places. This gives them the opportunity to develop career education knowledge, work place skills and how to use them effectively. All students gain first hand experiences of work places where individual judgements and opinions can be formed. Students are encouraged to assess the skills required to do the jobs and match the suitability of their strengths.

Throughout the Careers curriculum, every student will also develop the skills to write a curriculum vitae, research and become more proficient with online/written application forms and also experience and learn more about the process of interviews.

Work Experience

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Work experience is one of the most important links between employers, schools and colleges. This exposure to work is a significant step in preparing young people for adult and working life by developing their personal and social skills as well as the key skills they will need for the world of work.  The Department for Education (DfE) defines work experience as  “a placement on an employer’s premises in which a student carries out a particular task or duty, or range of tasks and duties, more or less as would an employee, but with the emphasis on the learning aspects of the experience.”

Aims of Work Experience

Students will be provided with the opportunity to focus on and to improve in the following areas: Decision‐making: to make realistic, informed choices about future education opportunities and possible career pathways based on the skills, knowledge and experience gained at the placement. Self‐confidence: in mock interviews, pre‐placement interview, letters of application, writing and sending a CV where applicable, writing about occupational health in documentation, training/induction days related to job, functional communication and numeracy skills, dealing with adults and customers in their working environment and most importantly becoming more independent as they grow into a young adult. Another main aim is for students through their hard work over a set time scale is to obtain a good reference from the employer to support a future career path. Students will learn from some of the following important skills whilst on a placement:

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• Working alongside someone in a work situation
• Learning about equipment used in the workplace
• Following routines and schedules of the working day
• Following instructions in a work situation
• Using tools and equipment in the workplace
• Communicating and interacting with colleagues
• Working independently or as part of a team
• Self-assessment and keeping a record of progress
• Identifying health and safety measures and hazards in the workplace
• The routine of a normal working day or shift and being punctual
• A working environment outside the classroom
• Learning and using customer service skills with members of the public
• An unfamiliar situation involving working with people of different backgrounds and ages
• The chance to learn new skills and perhaps wear uniform and use equipment and machinery to learn work processes at first hand
• Move towards developing personal skills, qualities and interests
• Move towards developing the self-confidence and independence required in the wider world

Our pupils have had work experience with organisations such as ASDA, the National Health Service (NHS), English Heritage and Network Rail. Individual businesses such as the Boatman's Rest Inn, Elsecar Heritage Centre, Hollygrove Interiors, Homefarm Crafts, and Sandygate Care Home. 


Coffee Shop Work Experience

For many years now students and staff have worked together to run the school Coffee Shop each week. This is located in the Post 16 department kitchen with the café section next door. The coffee shop is open 2 mornings per week and the opportunities to work in it are shared on a rota basis and is offered to Key Stage 4 and 5 students who are able to cope with the work load and busy environment. The Coffee shop facilitates young people and staff from across school for break time for snacks and drinks from around 10.30 to 11.15 and then staff and visitors can purchase a meal/lunch from a set menu from 11.45am to 12.30pm. The sessions are incorporated into the curriculum and are taught by the Senior Teaching Assistant responsible for the area.
The aims of the lessons are to provide opportunities for students to participate in a realistic working environment using the catering kitchen and Coffee Shop. To provide opportunities for students to demonstrate competence in key skills of communication, numeracy, working with others, improving own learning and problem solving. To provide students with opportunities to maintain, consolidate, re-enforce, generalise and learn new knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to language, social communication/interaction, flexibility of thought, (imagination), problem solving, independence and working as part of a team.

Students will be involved in all aspects of the work that will involve the following processes:

1. Safety procedures in the workplace
2. Personal Hygiene
3. Food Hygiene
4. Use of protective clothing
5. Personal responsibilities in the work environment
6. Identification of correct equipment for tasks
7. Safe use of equipment
8. Cleaning and storing equipment
9. Prepare and cook basic food and snacks/drinks for Coffee Shop
10. Serve customers in the Coffee Shop appropriately – taking orders and obtaining payment and giving change

Some students will be involved in operating Team Enterprise. These students will also participate in:

11. Purchasing of ingredients from the local community
12. Marketing of Coffee Shop
13. Development of recipe books for sale
Once students who have completed all the work provided above to an independent level they also take part in peer tutoring where they teach the skills they have learnt to a student who has just started in the coffee shop.

Assessing Progress and SILSAF

SILSAF stands for Secondary Independent Living Skills Assessment Framework and is an assessment tool to show the progress in the development of student’s independence skills in vocational areas of the curriculum and especially work experience. We are part of a pilot scheme using the tool which was developed by Brookfields School. As well as being a way to standardise the collection of data relating to students’ progress, it can also used to set targets.  The assessment tool is currently used for Key stages 4 and 5 students and so the data can be used over 5 years to show progress using tables and graphs to show improvement over the vocational subjects and promote independence in life skills. It links to work experience and also cookery lessons.

The Work Experience Coordinator has liaised with the creators of SILSAF to alter the work experience targets to fit in the external placements our students attend and so makes it more appropriate to assess their progress.