Seeking out our talents and following our dreams

Preparing our students for future success

Our Careers Team comprises

  • Amber Colquhoun, Lead
  • Sam White, Careers Advisor
  • Your child's tutor


Or call 01455 283263 and ask for Miss Colquhoun

The Careers Programme

The careers programme at Thomas Estley stretches across your time with us and is designed to excite and engage whilst equipping you with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed beyond your GCSEs. 

Also see our dedicated TECCCareers Community and Alumni microsite at

Some of the career-related activities you will take part in include:


  • Introduction to what is a skill, a quality, an achievement
  • Group sessions to introduce who is   their career adviser and build their toolkit for success
  • Develop the recording of achievements
  • Enrichment trips and visits
  • The Big Quiz and University Challenge
  • Community and Enterprise Module


  • Parent info sessions at Parents Information Evening – meet the Careers Adviser
  • Options: what are they and what do   they mean to me?
  • Bespoke self-esteem group programmes targeted at identified students to build self-efficacy
  • The Skills Show Trip, Birmingham NEC
  • University tasters / enrichment trips   / workshops
  • Coventry University Campus Visit for The Big Quiz and University Challenge
  • STEM related Module


  • Groups sessions delivered by Careers Adviser
  • Group sessions with a Careers Adviser for targeted students
  • Investigate job profiles, entry route   ways using on line career tools
  • Enhance careers skills; identify your   support network, requesting help, negotiations, decision making, questioning and research skills
  • How to make effective decisions
  • STEM club
  • University tasters / visits
  • SSAT Leadership project
  • Subject Specialisms
  • Work experience (take your   son/daughter to work day)


  • 1:1 / Group session with a Careers Adviser with target setting and action review
  • UCAS Progress introductions, search and favourite
  • How to make effective post-16 choices using a combination of ideas to plan and develop a career footprint
  • Portfolio creation, where students record learning, achievements
  • The Skills Show for targeted students
  • Resilience Module
  • University workshops / visits


  • 1:1 with a Careers Adviser to explore   progress in school, post-16 choices, readiness for transition, decision   making, coping skills with target setting and action review
  • Post-16 Parents information and   guidance evening
  • PS16 training
  • PS16 Surgeries afterschool
  • Apprenticeship workshops
  • My Future Module - a dedicated week of self –awareness; post-16 choices and PS16 preparation
  • Options Fair
  • Post-16 and Careers assemblies including guest speakers
  • Access to external options fairs
  • Mock Interviews with Employers
  • University workshops / visits
  • Advisors on-site on results day

Positive Steps 16 (PS16)

PS16  provides information and advice to students, parents and teachers about different opportunities, post-16 education and training. You can search for and apply to a range of courses, including A-levels, Apprenticeships, Traineeships, and supported internships. It is the online application system for post-16 learning. It is a central interface where you can manage and track your applications to post-16 providers.

Knowing what to do can be tough so PS16  have lots of information and advice available on to help you get started. There are lots of videos and support pages for students and parents. Students can find career ideas, and find out what their post-16 options are.

Each student has a username and password. DO NOT self-register - it is vital that students use the account that has been set up by Thomas Estley to enable us to support you in the process. If you have lost/forgotten your login username or password, please email Miss Colquhoun (Careers Lead) on who will be able to reset this for you.

PS16 Mentors – Each Year 11 student will be allocated a PS16 Mentor, normally their tutor, who will support and offer guidance to enable them to complete PS16 effectively. They will also write a reference.

Reaching out for opportunities


Supporting you in getting to know and understand the value you bring to post-16 learning and the work place is at the forefront of our careers provision. An understanding of post-16 pathways and qualifications will help you to make the decisions and choices about what learning pathway is best fit for you. 

It is essential that students continue to commit to their studies throughout their time at Thomas Estley to achieve their full academic potential, but it is equally important that you secure the most appropriate training, apprenticeship or college placement for your post-16 learning pathway.


A-levels are subject-based qualifications that can lead to university, further study, training, or work. You can normally study three or more A-levels over two years. They are usually assessed by a series of examinations.

What grades do I need to take A-levels?

You normally need:

  • at least five GCSEs at grades 5-9 (some providers may vary)
  • at least grade 6 in the specific subject(s) you want to study
  • However, the specific requirements needed to study A-levels will vary across schools and colleges. It’s important to check what you will need with the school or college you are looking to study at.

Who are they for?

If you’re thinking about going to university, most higher education courses require specific A-levels or combinations of A-levels (or alternative level 3 qualifications).

If you’re not sure what career or job you want to do, studying a selection of A-levels can be a good way of keeping your options open.

Choosing A-level subjects

The most important criteria for choosing A-levels subjects are:

  • Looking at what you are likely to enjoy and be good at. If you enjoy a subject or have ability in it already, you are more likely to do well.
  • Are there any particular subjects and/or grades you may need? If you have a particular career, job, or further study in mind, you may need to choose specific A-levels in order to meet entry requirements.
  • How open you want to keep your future study and career choices?

Useful link to find out more:

Vocational courses

Vocational courses are described as a more hands-on approach to learning. Vocational qualifications offer practical learning programmes that relate to specific job roles or employment sectors. 

There are many different types of vocational qualifications in a wide range of subjects at all levels, from Entry Level right up to Level 8.

Vocational qualifications include:

  • Vocational subjects that are related to a broad employment area such as business, engineering, IT, health and social care
  • Practical Vocational Courses (often now called technical or professional programmes) that lead to specific jobs such as hairdressing, plumbing, or engineering.
  • Apprenticeships where a student is based with an employer where they will be trained for a job role and get paid as they learn

Where can vocational qualifications lead?

Vocational qualifications have been designed in partnership with employers, universities and professional or trade organisations – this means that you can develop the skills that employers want. You can also acquire the knowledge needed to progress to a higher level – such as a degree level course. Often employers encourage their employees to gain vocational qualifications whilst at work.

Vocational qualification levels can be compared to other qualifications. Entry Level qualifications build confidence and help people prepare for further learning and work. Level 2 qualifications are the equivalent of GCSE grades grades 9 to 4 in the new GCSE grading system and Level 3 qualifications are equivalent to A levels. Level 4 and 5 are equivalent to a Foundation Degree and Level 6 equivalent to an honours degree

BTECS and NVQs are vocational courses. A BTEC Extended Diploma is the equivalent to 3 x A-levels.


Apprenticeships are a valid choice after Year 11 and 13 for many students. We therefore will allow access to a wide range of apprenticeship and training providers so that you are fully informed of the full range or opportunities available.

All students interested in apprenticeship will need to let Miss Colquhoun, Careers Lead, or Sam White, our careers adviser know as we will be delivering sessions to help you become work ready. In these sessions we will support you to; create your CV, research vacancies, build your professional network, complete effective applications and prepare for interviews. 

Students will be notified of these sessions and letters will be sent home via ParentMail. Attendance is strongly encouraged. The first sessions commence on Thursday 2nd November.

Useful links:

National Apprenticeship Service

For  students to search vacancies and creating an account

Find out more about apprenticeships

For increasing knowledge and understanding for UCAS mentors

Leicester City Council

For vacancies and links to the Apprenticeship Hub - a broker for young people

IT Apprenticeships


Plumbing/ Electrical


Security Service

Helpful labour market information

What do you think of our careers provision? We are always striving to provide our students with opportunities to develop well-rounded individuals who are prepared for life after Thomas Estley Community College. We value all feedback or suggestions from students, parents, staff, governors, employers/employees and would love to hear from you. Get in touch at .

Making a positive difference

How the school measures and assesses the impact of the careers programme on pupils

Published data: The Department for Education publishes a range of data on pupil destinations at 16, including NEET data. We will compare our data to local and national schools. The data for our first cohort has not been officially published yet, but our own data shows that 96% of our students have successfully engaged in continued education post-16, including sixth forms, vocational courses and apprenticeships.

Gatsby Career Benchmarks & Compass Tracker: Our Careers Programme is framed by the Gatsby Career Benchmarks to ensure the CEIAG Provision we provide our students, and continue to develop, is world class. We use the Compass Tracker annually to identify areas to improve our provision further.

External Review: In April 2018, a whole school Peer Challenge Review recognised the strengths of the developing careers education programme and opportunities available to all students. In the report the assessor stated ‘The school’s arrangements for CEIAG are similarly strong and there are opportunities in all year groups to learn about the world of work and future options. Pupils benefit from good quality independent advice in order to make informed choices about their futures.’

Evaluating activities: We evaluate the success of each activity and event by asking our students/staff for feedback on the impact it has had on them. Stakeholder voice is taken into consideration when assessing and monitoring the impact of the careers programme on our students and changes are made where necessary.