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 BM2, 5, 6, 7
Key stages

Careermag for Parents, Carers and Guardians

A great resource for your Parents Evenings and Newsletters! Careermag for Parents, Carers and Guardians is a publication with information for parents of school-aged children offering support and information on careers and qualifications. It also includes information on how to help support young people with mental health issues, managing the UCAS system, apprenticeships and in-depth features on various sectors and opportunities in them.


Gatsby BM2, 5, 6, 7
Key stages


CareermapTV is a broadcasting channel that runs across several different social media platforms and it is your ultimate destination for all things careers and education. From recorded live webinars from top employers to comedic, relatable career reels, we’ve got everything you need to inspire your students in their career journey.


Gatsby BM1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Key stages


Talentino programmes have been helping to improve career outcomes for young people with a range of learning difficulties in a mixture of settings – special schools, mainstream schools, AP, PRU, SEMH, etc.

They also provide great opportunities for learning more, through their regular newsletters, annual SEND Careers Conference, and by publishing free resources.

Gatsby BM5, 7
Key stages

FES Connect Activity

‘FES Connect’ is a national community for Post 16 careers leaders and practitioners, supporting development and sharing of best practice to ensure every learner is supported to find their next best step. 

An opportunity to share examples of what's working well across the country in careers education via online seminars, newsletters showcasing best practice and an FES Connect chat board.

Click here to register.

Gatsby BM2, 4, 5, 6, 7
Key stages

Careermag for School Leavers

Careermag for School Leavers is a termly publication with information for school-aged children offering support and information on careers and qualifications. Explore apprenticeships, T Levels, work experience and university options including interview prep and student life. Navigate your options with confidence. If you're an educator use this resource to ignite discussions and guide your students.


Gatsby BM5, 7
Key stages

Spotlight Talks & Videos on Careers – WorldSkills UK

Shining a light on skills for today and the exciting challenges of tomorrow. With a focus on technical education, apprenticeships and skills, this resource seeks to support students with the early steps of career development planning. Working with industry leaders, WorldSkills UK brings you high-quality on-demand video content which will excite your students.

Gatsby BM2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Key stages

Passport to Retail

Developed by Inspiring WorcestershirePassport to Retail has been designed with the student’s progression at the forefront. This brilliant project will take students on a tour around the Retail industry, learning about key areas from customer services to stock rotation to build their knowledge and skill in preparation for the workplace.

Gatsby BM2, 3, 5
Key stages

Panjango Trumps

Panjango Trumps is the fun way to explore the world of work! 

Our unique twist on the classic Top Trumps game pits 50 different careers against each other in a battle of stats.

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