Careers Leader

A woman looking to camera while holding a stack of exercise books..

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
  • Build leadership skills with strategic, whole-school impact
  • Expert training delivered in a flexible way
  • Networking support with other schools and businesses
September 2021 to July 2022

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


Download Careers Leader flyer

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 (QiCS).

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.  

Free personalised training and support

One-to-one training from a Teach First Careers Expert 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.

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 1-1 support, online learning and training days. 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.

Progress towards all eight Gatsby Career Benchmarks

The programme spans the academic year from late September to July, during which your careers leaders will meet the Gatsby Career Benchmarks, which were developed to define world-class careers education.  During our programme, your careers leader will design and start to implement an improvement strategy that’ll ensure your whole school progresses towards them.

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 160 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.

While on the programme, Careers Leaders will also get the opportunity to engage with some of the UK’s top companies and increase access to business for their students. See the feedback from previous Careers Leaders on this aspect of the programme.

When I started the Careers Leadership Programme,  I realised how much more there was to learn about effective careers provision.
Alanna Jones,
Assistant Vice Principal at Hillside High School
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


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 - Someone who has to make sure their school provides an excellent careers programme that meets the Gatsby Career Benchmarks. From 2020, schools are 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. 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.
  • received support on existing career provision that is in place in order to make rapid improvement towards Quality in Careers Standard (QiCS).

Despite the disruption of COVID-19, the overall school completion was high at 94%. Careers leaders reported changes in their confidence in their role and 100% of programme embers rated the programme as good or very good.  

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


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:

  • commit to five days out of your school timetable for training and developing your understanding of best practice. In light of COVID-19, programme delivery will adhere to official advice and restrictions.
  • work with their dedicated Teach First Careers Expert throughout the year
  • complete online learning
  • attend four virtual seminars
  • develop a strategy for the whole school, implement in-year improvements to careers provision and share data with us on how you are meeting the Gatsby Benchmarks

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. Please be aware that programme delivery will adhere to official guidance and restrictions when necessary:

  • Attending 3 face-to-face training sessions, or sending a replacement if this is not possible. Training days locations will depend on the final cohort and will take place in a city with good transport links such as Leeds, London or Birmingham.
  • Taking 2 days to visit schools in other contexts
  • Attending virtual seminars of 1- 1.5 hours in length during the school term
  • Meeting your Teach First Careers Expert virtually at key points throughout the year

How is the programme structured?

Throughout the academic year, each careers leader will develop a whole-school improvement strategy. They will implement and evaluate an in-year project, which will be a part of embedding their strategy and delivering immediate impact. This allows Careers Leaders to progress towards towards all eight Gatsby Career Benchmarks and the Quality in Careers Standard (QiCS).

The programme is tailored to meet the needs of each school and provides a foundation for long-term improvement through blended learning modules including in-person training, online learning 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
  • year-round access to one-to-one time with a dedicated Teach First Careers Expert
  • collaboration with a local network of careers leaders all aiming to give children the best chance of success beyond school
  • access to a national careers leader community where you can exchange ideas, resources and news
  • expertise on leadership and management to help develop a whole school approach to careers related learning
  • a monthly bulletin filled with updates and  resources while you are on the course

Ambassador Regional Representatives Committee (ARRC) & Members (ARRMs)

Career Leaders will access the support offered by the Ambassador Regional Representative Committee (ARRC).  Utilising existing careers leader ambassadors, support is offered in writing and implementing careers strategies through regional representatives. Initially, there are two regional representatives who will use their local knowledge to offer support in implementing strategy design, information on local funding streams and webinars to build network connections.  

Whole-school strategic focus

Careers leaders are supported to evaluate current provision and develop a school careers strategy. By establishing 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

Our modules develop careers leadership skills and sector expertise. Modules are developed in collaboration with sector experts and cover a diverse range of themes such as implementation and project management, embedding careers in the curriculum to developing external partnerships.

Careers leaders can pick which modules they need to focus on in order to develop their strategies.

School-to-school networking

Connect with a local and national network of over 160 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


No fees for your school

Our Careers Leader programme is fully-funded, which means it’s free for secondary schools across England.

However, all participating schools will be required to release their allocated careers leader from timetabled lessons to meet the expectations of the programme. The exact requirements and schedule for the programme will be finalised closer to the programme start date, so please get in touch to find out more.

We have been a Careers and Enterprise Company-approved provider of Careers Leader training since 2017. Some schools may be eligible for a funding bursary to complete their training - further details for 2021-22 are expected from the Careers and Enterprise Company in Spring 2021.

seated female teacher looking at camera smiling
Impact Report Uxbridge classroom
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


Working with us

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

To identify schools that will benefit most from working with us, we use the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) and Achieving Excellence Areas (AEA), a measure that recognises parts of the country where children consistently underperform.

This focuses on schools that have either:

  • an IDACI of 40 or greater (40% of pupils live in the three most deprived deciles)
  • an IDACI of 35 to 40 and an AEA score of 4 to 6
  • an IDACI of 30 to 35 and an AEA score of 5 or 6
  • an IDACI of 25 to 30 and an AEA score of 6

If you’re not sure, or if you think your school would benefit from our support but doesn’t quite meet these criteria, get in touch as we have some flexibility. Our team can talk this through with you.

Being a Careers Leader

The Careers Leader programme is aimed at middle or senior school leaders who are accountable for their school’s careers provision. It’s open to any middle or senior leader – not just those who have trained with us previously.

For individuals who are interested in taking part, the key skills required for the Careers Leader role include leadership, management, coordination and networking. You must have the backing of a member of the Senior Leadership Team / Headteacher who will act as your School Sponsor.

Download our Careers Leader flyer to share information with colleagues at your school.

How to apply

Applications are now open. We have a maximum number of places on the programme starting in September 2021, so advise applying early to secure your place.

Apply now

Your application is most likely to be successful if you:

  • apply early
  • are in most need of support

The application form should only take 10-15 minutes to complete. You can find help for your application below:

Application guidance

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

Note that we have important updates to the Careers Leader programme due to COVID-19.

Further support

For extra support with careers at your school, download our free post-school success 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.

We have also hosted talks recorded by volunteers from the UK’s leading businesses. They share insights about their company, their roles and their own career paths:

Watch now

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

Watch our virtual careers talks

Work experience

Our Work Experience Programme connects pupils from disadvantaged communities to lifechanging opportunities - in some of the country’s best known companies.

Two secondary school girls give each other a piggyback
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