Gatsby Benchmark 6


What good looks like

Every student should have first-hand experiences of the workplace through work visits, work shadowing and/or work experience to help their exploration of career opportunities, and expand their networks.


  • By the age of 16, every pupil should have had at least one experience of a workplace, additional to any part-time jobs they may have.
  • By the age of 18, or before the end of their study programme, every student should have had at least one experience of a workplace, additional to any part-time jobs they may have


Why this matters

  • Experiences of the workplace can create social capital for young people with more limited networks
  • Experiences of the workplace give students the opportunity to develop essential skills
  • 8.2 per cent of people aged 16-64 in the UK today (3.4 million people in total) have never had a paid job (besides casual and holiday work). Never ever report 2020, Resolution Foundation

“People who are literate and numerate have greater chances of success in employment and in life, but what we are increasingly understanding is that essential skills are also critical to these life chances.”

(Sir John Holman)

Careers Leaders:

Getting started with BM6

  • 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 experiences of the workplace.
  • Gatsby Benchmark 6 describes experiences of workplaces as: “work visits, work shadowing and/or work experience”. It is important to approach this Benchmark with the understanding that work experience is not synonymous with experiences of the workplace. Remember that there is no blue print for age/key stage and format for experiences of the workplace. They should be planned for impact and implemented around what students need to know, understand and be able to do linked to a high level aim for the experience.
  • Use the BM6 Careers Leader Guide to set learning aims and outcomes for experiences of work and reflect on most appropriate implementation type and time for your students based on their needs and aligned to school priorities.
  • For further resources check out this page Reimagining Experiences of the Workplace.


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

Experiences of workplaces allow students to have first-hand experiences of the workplace through online or face to face work visits, work shadowing and/or work experience to help their exploration of career opportunities, and to expand networks. Experiences of the workplace could and should reflect the fastchanging nature of work, including remote working. The Gatsby Benchmarks hold the same level of relevance in an online world and continue to work as a framework for quality careers guidance. All experiences of workplaces should sit within a progressive careers programme that have clear learning outcomes and that supports positive student outcomes.

To include an activity under Benchmark 6, it must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Learning outcomes are defined, based on the age and needs of students
  • Student meets a range of people from the workplace
  • There is extensive two-way interaction between the student and employees
  • Student must perform a task or produce a piece of work relevant to that workplace and receive feedback on it from the employer.


  • The current context allows us to re-evaluate and take a fresh look at the aims and value of experiences of work.
  • Consider school/college priorities and key learning outcomes to shape the aims, content and format of any experiences of work.
  • Schools, special schools and colleges were already exploring innovative alternatives to the traditional model of 1- or 2-week placements, including blended approaches.
  • Experiences and encounters can also teach young people about digital skills, teamwork and communication in an online environment which has increasing relevance for workplaces.


1. Identify relevant learning outcomes and aims for any experience of work and consider opportunities for implementation to deliver in those learning outcomes.

2. Consider how learning at school/home can be blended with structured experiences of work (online or face to face) to ensure that students access meaningful experiences of the workplace.

3. Whether face-to-face or online, work with employer partners to incorporate skills development that is up-to-date and relevant to the fast-changing world of work.

4. Consider developing workplace skills such as joining online meetings, independent working (e.g. research) and online professional etiquette to meet the changing requirements of the workplace.

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, 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. 

Gatsby BM3, 5, 6
Key stages

Careers Education Framework

National charity Ambitious about Autism has produced autism-specific resources to help careers leaders and professionals deliver effective careers education programmes for autistic young people. 

The Careers Education Framework has free, easy-to-follow online resources to support autistic young people in mainstream and specialist educational settings successfully transition into adulthood and employment.

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

Making it Meaningful: Benchmark 7

This resource supports Careers Leaders to embed encounters with providers of all routes available to students at key transitions within a progressive careers programme.

The following guiding principles will support an approach to Benchmark 7 and to Provider Access Legislation, whilst being aligned to Benchmarks 1 and 3 including setting aims, planning meaningful delivery and impact evaluation of activity.

To accompany this resource, watch the film to hear from educators, providers and young people about the impact these principles can have in a range of settings.

Gatsby BM2, 5, 6, 7, 8
Key stages

Immerse Education

Immerse Education offers two week programmes in academic subject development with tutors from the University of Oxford and Cambridge. These take place as a residential programme in July and August, with accommodation provided at the universities, and a full programme of support academic and social activities.

There are also options to take part virtually, with an Online Academic Insights programme that runs for two weeks in December, April and throughout July and August. Although this is a fee-paying programme, we have bursaries available, and offer scholarships based on an essay competition open to all students aged 13-18.

Was this helpful?