Gatsby Benchmark 5


What good looks like 

Every student should have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace. This can be through a range of enrichment activities including visiting speakers, mentoring and enterprise schemes, and should include students’ own part time employment where it exists.


  • Every year, from the age of 11, pupils should participate in at least one meaningful encounter* with an employer.
  • Every year, alongside their study programme, students in colleges should participate in at least two meaningful encounters with an employer. At least one encounter should be delivered through their curriculum area.
  • Colleges should record and take account of students’ own part time employment and the influence this has had on their development.


*A ‘meaningful encounter’ is one in which the student has the opportunity to learn about what work is like or what it takes to be successful in the workplace. 


Why this matters


“Links have been demonstrated between young people’s engagement with the world of work through career talks and their GCSE attainment.” Motivated to achieve: How encounters with the world of work can change attitudes and improve academic achievement – Education and Employers


“a young person who has four or more meaningful encounters with an employer is 86% less likely to be unemployed or not in education or training and can earn up to 22% more during their career” Motivated to achieve: How encounters with the world of work can change attitudes and improve academic achievement – Education and Employers


Careers Leaders:

Getting started with BM5

  • Be clear about priority careers knowledge, understanding and application based on student needs and school priorities. Use this to shape and communicate planned intent for all employer encounters.
  • Set clear learning aims and outcomes for all employer encounters by following the Making it Meaningful Checklist.
  • Refer to the LLEP Employer Engagement Guide and seek support from your Enterprise Co-ordinator in building long-lasting relationships with local businesses who can support you in the delivery of meaningful employer encounters.
  • Use the resource and support featured in the My Learning My Future and My Skills My Future Guides to encourage curriculum staff to use employer encounters which highlight the relevance of subjects and specific learning to engage students and support progress.


All Careers Leaders require Outstanding training


For further support with Benchmark 1 register for our fully funded Careers Leader training 


Download our Training Catalogue which includes all the information you need and a helpful comparison guide on the 11 high-quality Training Providers we work with. Here you will be able to choose the right course to suit you and your development, so that you can embed a successful careers programme in your school/college. 


Once you have chosen the right course and Training Provider for you, you are all set to register!


Register today

Careers in Context: Can Do Approaches 

To include an activity under Benchmark 5, it must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Learning outcomes are defined, based on the age and needs of students
  • The encounter involves two-way interaction between students and employers/employees
  • There is evidence that the student actively participated



Maximise the value of employer encounters by setting clear learning aims linked to school priorities for all employer encounters

Practical resource and support:

  1. Consider using this template Proposal’ document to make a case to SLT for time, resource, support for careers guidance
  2. Connect with providers who can support you in facilitating bespoke employer encounters to respond to the specific needs of your cohorts and region
  3. Apply the principles of the Making it Meaningful checklist to planning for all employer encounters

Education Leaders and Governors:

Education Leaders and Governors: For further information on each Benchmark, to support you in your role, please see the Education Leader, Secondary and College Governor Guides

Gatsby BM4, 5, 7
Key stages

My Learning My Future: Maths

My Learning, My Future is a suite of resources that has been developed in partnership with The Careers and Enterprise Company and Skills Builder to help you speak confidently about careers related to your subject as well as the various pathways and skills needed by employers.

Gatsby BM1, 3, 5, 7
Key stages


globalbridge is a revolutionary digital learner profile platform built by teachers, empowering young people to showcase their full potential beyond exam grades, and connect with future career and education opportunities.

Gatsby BM2, 4, 5
Key stages

Step into the NHS

These resources allow students to explore a wide range of careers and help them better understand there is an NHS career for them, no matter their interests and skills.

Gatsby BM5, 6
Key stages

Resource 6: Guidance on choosing and planning an activity

This is the sixth resource in our Supporting Employers: Working with Young People with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) collection.

This resource takes you through some tips on choosing and planning activity when working with young people with SEND. It also contains useful checklists for when you choose your activity to support its implementation. 

Gatsby BM5, 6
Key stages

Resource 4: Tips for effective communication

This is the fourth resource in our Supporting Employers: Working with Young People with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) collection.

This resource contains tips on how to ensure effective communication when working with Schools, Special Schools and Colleges.  It also looks at some questions you might want to ask to enable you to build an effective relationship. 

Gatsby BM2, 3, 5, 6, 7
Key stages


Springpod is a free careers platform offering a whole host of exciting and impactful opportunities from virtual work experience to university experiences alongside useful advice and information related to career pathways. 

Was this helpful?