Careers Leader

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All young people deserve good career guidance for success beyond school. Our programme gives middle and senior leaders the careers expertise to deliver it.

  • Evidence towards the Quality in Careers Award
  • Progress towards all eight Gatsby Career Benchmarks
  • Free, targeted training and support
  • Strategic whole-school focus
  • Expert training delivered in a flexible way
  • Networking support with other schools and businesses
12 months, July 2020 to July 2021.
Free to eligible schools.
We're making some changes due to COVID-19
Open for new applications as usual

Boost careers education across your school and accelerate towards the Gatsby Benchmarks.


Evidence towards the Quality in Careers Award

Gather proof that your school meets the national quality assessment criteria needed to gain the Quality in Careers Standard.

Progress towards all eight Gatsby Career Benchmarks

By the end of 2020 your school should meet the Gatsby Career Benchmarks, which were developed to define world-class careers education. During our 12-month programme, your careers leader will design and start to implement an improvement strategy that’ll ensure your whole school progresses towards them.

Free personalised training and support

One-to-one training from an expert Teach First facilitator who’ll help you to get what you and your school need. Plus opportunities to learn from those who have been on the programme and others currently taking it.

A long-term, whole-school strategy for careers provision

Working together we’ll build the foundations for long-term improvement at your school. We’ll do this by supporting you as a careers leader to evaluate your current provision and create an improvement strategy. We’ll train you to confidently prepare other teachers in your school to deliver careers learning. In this way we can ensure that the programme’s impact extends beyond the professional development of individual careers leaders.

Expert training delivered in a flexible way

We want our programme to benefit all young people and all teachers, so we designed it to accommodate all levels of careers leader experience and school need.

Our modules combine personalised face-to-face support, online learning and half-termly local training days delivered in small groups. Each one has been developed in collaboration with experts from different sectors.

What’s more they cover a range of themes, from embedding careers in the curriculum to developing partnerships with employers.

Networking support with other schools and businesses

We believe in building successful partnerships. Our training connects careers leaders with a local and national network of careers leaders in more than 150 schools, all working to give young people the best chance of fulfilling their potential. We’ll share expertise and prepare you to build lasting partnerships with employers, who’ll add real value to the curriculum through information, advice and guidance.

Teacher helping pupil
Pupils at a Teach First partner school
Portrait of Verity Hadden
The programme has meant that more pupils are going out and looking for work experience. They’re asking more questions about the kind of careers they want to pursue.
Verity Hadden,
Careers Leader
St. George's Catholic School


Who is the programme for?

The Careers Leader programme is aimed at middle or senior school leaders who are accountable for their school’s careers provision. Key skills required for the Career Leader role include leadership, management, coordination and networking. The programme is open to careers leaders working in eligible schools across England. See the “Application” tab for more information on whether your school is eligible. The programme is not currently available in Wales. You must have the backing of a member of the Senior Leadership Team/Head who will act as your School Sponsor.

Is there a cost?

No, it’s free, but all participating schools must release their allocated Career Leader from timetabled lessons to meet the expectations of the programme. Fully-funded places are available for 2020/2021 in secondary schools across England, where not enough young people are progressing into further education or employment.

What do we need from your school?

Identify a middle or senior leader to take part in our programme and lead on improving careers provision in your school. They’ll need the time to:

  • attend one day of training and one meeting with your Teach First expert trainer each half term
  • complete work online before and after that training
  • develop a strategy for the whole school and share data with us on how you’re meeting the Gatsby benchmarks (see below)

Careers Leaders are responsible for making sure schools meet the Gatsby Benchmarks - eight benchmarks of good practice, including making sure pupils have access to personal guidance and encounters with employers.

What are the training commitments?

Careers leaders must be able to commit to the programme requirements:

  • Attending face-to-face training (one day per half-term), or sending a replacement if this is not possible
  • Completing online learning (approximately 3 hours in advance of face-to-face meetings, with additional post-work)
  • Meeting once per term with your regional Teach First expert trainer
  • Producing a whole school careers strategy by the end of the programme

Senior Leadership Team members must attend a minimum of two out of three termly meetings and the final face-to-face module.

How is the programme structured?

Over 12 months, each careers leader will design, implement and evaluate a whole-school improvement strategy that ensures progress towards all eight Gatsby Career Benchmarks; a statutory requirement by 2020.

The programme is tailored to meet the needs of each school and provides a foundation for long-term improvement through blended learning modules including half-termly local training days, online resources and personalised support.

Our support

As a Careers Leader, you and your school will have our support every step of the way. This includes:

  • Support to evaluate your current careers provision and where you can improve it most.
  • High quality training based on the latest research. This covers topics such as: building partnerships with business, embedding careers into the curriculum, improving information, advice and guidance and measuring impact.
  • One-to-one time with a dedicated, regional Teach First careers expert.
  • Access to a local and national network of careers leaders all aiming to give children the best chance of success beyond school.
  • Materials to help all teachers provide careers-related learning and opportunities to their pupils.

Whole-school strategic focus

Access to materials that equip all staff to support careers-related learning and opportunities that have a proven impact on pupils. Careers leaders are supported to evaluate current provision and develop a school careers strategy. By working with a senior leader sponsor and providing guidance on how to equip all staff to deliver career-related learning, we ensure the programme impact extends beyond the careers leader’s professional development.

Learning modules

Face-to-face and online modules designed to develop career leadership skills and sector expertise. Modules are developed in collaboration with sector experts and cover a diverse range of themes from embedding careers in the curriculum to developing external partnerships. Training is delivered in small local groups.

School-to-school networking

Connect with a local and national network of over 150 schools and careers leaders prioritising improvements in careers and employability.

Thanks to the programme, every pupil knows there’s a careers team embedded in the Trust and who to go to for guidance
James Livermore,
Careers Leader
Harewood College
Teacher using whiteboard at Mulberry School
Portrait of Verity Hadden
The programme has meant that more pupils are going out and looking for work experience. They’re asking more questions about the kind of careers they want to pursue.
Verity Hadden,
Careers Leader
St. George's Catholic School


Eligible schools

Our programme is aimed at schools where not enough young people progress to further education or employment.

We calculate which schools are eligible using the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) and Achieving Excellence Areas (AEA), a measure which identifies parts of the country where children persistently under-perform.

Based on these scoring systems, eligible schools should fall under one of these categories:

  • An IDACI of 40 or greater (this means 40% of pupils are living in low-income homes)
  • An IDACI of 35 to 40 and an AEA score of 4 to 6
  • An IDACI of 30 to 35 and an AEA of 5 or 6
  • An IDACI of 25 to 30 and an AEA score of 6

There is some flexibility in these criteria. Please get in touch to find out more.

This eligibility is subject to change for entry to our 2020/21 programme.

Currently our programme is available in all areas of England. It is not currently available in Wales.

How to apply

Applications for the programme starting in July 2020 are now open.  Spaces are limited, so apply online as soon as you can.

Your application is most likely to be successful if you:

The application form should only take 10-15 minutes to complete. You can download some short guidance here.

If you have any questions about your application, please contact: 

For extra support with careers at your school, download our free Post-school progression toolkit. Designed for teachers, it will help you share valuable information about post-16 and post-18 options with your pupils at all key stages and phases.

Teachers sitting down at teacher development conference
teachers at desk
Portrait of Verity Hadden
The programme has meant that more pupils are going out and looking for work experience. They’re asking more questions about the kind of careers they want to pursue.
Verity Hadden,
Careers Leader
St. George's Catholic School


The situation

We know more needs to be done to support the poorest young people’s careers. Those from low income backgrounds:

A high-quality approach to careers and employability learning has been linked to improved attainment.

One careers study also found that students that had more contact with the world of work were more motivated towards getting higher GCSE grades.

That’s why it’s now a requirement that all schools have a dedicated careers leader (download PDF) - Someone who has to make sure their school provides an excellent careers programme that meets the Gatsby Career Benchmarks. From 2020, schools will be required to provide pupils with at least seven meaningful encounters with employers while at school.

The issues

Opportunities to learn about careers aren’t equally spread across the country. Young people from low income backgrounds are far less likely to have friends and family who can guide them on how to get into higher paid professions, or provide experience in them. As the world of work rapidly changes these connections become even more important. Schools need to fill that gap.

But finding the time and resources to build careers expertise is another matter, especially in areas where schools are already stretched to breaking point. Although many do an amazing job in difficult circumstances, we want to create a system in which every child can fulfil their ambition.

The outcomes

Great careers leaders make a huge difference to young people’s futures. We’ve seen it. Their chances of success rocket when careers are an integral part of the curriculum. When they learn what skills they need and are given real-life experience of the workplace.

Research shows this kind of provision not only gives young people a leg up on the careers ladder, it makes them even more engaged at school (download PDF). Our Careers Leader Programme will train you to develop and deliver it.

The results speak for themselves. Schools that have partnered with us have:

  • developed a careers strategy with a detailed action plan targeting all staff and pupils.
  • 100% of careers leaders reporting improvements in expertise and resources.
  • made substantial progress towards meeting the Gatsby Career Benchmarks.


Teacher and pupils at Beaumont Leys school
The training has helped us to design and evaluate a careers programme for each year group.
Alice Coates,
Careers Leader
Appleton Academy
Portrait of Verity Hadden
The programme has meant that more pupils are going out and looking for work experience. They’re asking more questions about the kind of careers they want to pursue.
Verity Hadden,
Careers Leader
St. George's Catholic School

Take your school leadership skills to the next level with an accredited National Professional Qualification in Senior Leadership (NPQSL).

Senior Leader

Applications closing soon
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