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Primary World of Work Activities

Careers and work-related learning activities for primary aged pupils to learn about the world around them and the possibilities for their future.


Head Teachers / School Leaders, Local Authorities, School Teachers

Aimed at

KS1, KS2


Careers & Aspirations, Empowering Young People

Why was the project needed?

Not many primary schools delivered careers or world of work sessions regularly and some schools found it hard to recruit employer volunteers to participate in sessions. There is a wealth of evidence that the earlier children and young people are exposed to different types of careers, the more likely they are to have broader aspirations for their future selves and are less likely to avoid certain career routes based on stereotypes. In areas where children have fewer successful role models, their ambitions are likely to be narrower and based on who they know.

What happened and what was the impact?

We created an approved list of World of Work (WOW) providers allowing primary schools to choose Opportunity Area (OA) funded sessions each term. This was offered to all primary schools with assemblies, curriculum based full and half day sessions and employer enterprise workshops.  Over 1,900 primary school students participated in sessions and all had at least one encounter with an employer volunteer. 

The Norwich Opportunity Area (NOA) commissioned a range of local and national providers of WOW programmes, offers were then shared with schools to sign up to their chosen provider and chosen activity. Providers sourced and supported employer volunteers to participate in sessions in local schools. 

Sessions were delivered in schools either off timetable with whole year groups, or with individual classes or student groups. Most sessions included a pupil survey afterwards to capture feedback from participants, as well as routes to capture feedback from teachers involved. 

Examples of external local providers who created WOW events are Camouflaged Learning and Curious Spark. Camouflaged Learning were commissioned to work with primary schools to audit existing approaches to parental engagement, test out new sessions for parents and children to participate in together to explore careers, aspirations and ideas about the future and then run CPD sessions for school staff to plan how to incorporate new or different approaches within their school in future.  

Curious Spark created ‘WOW Catton Grove!’ a community initiative funded by the NOA and the Catton Grove Big Lottery Fund. The aim of the project was to provide young people, parents and their extended community with an extensive awareness, knowledge and ownership of the ‘world of work’ within their neighbourhood and beyond. It aimed to build confidence between adults and children to enable regular conversations about the world of work and feel well equipped to support each other to think about the future. The project worked with families of Catton Grove Primary School who became the WOW Catton Grove Experts exploring their community’s past and present and finding ‘world of work’ solutions for their futures. 

Please see the case studies on these projects for more details: Parent Engagement with Careers and Aspirations World of Work – Catton Grove

What did and didn't work?

Sessions to introduce children to careers and aspirations at primary age are well received by pupils and teachers. Through these activities, pupil’s awareness of different sorts of jobs increases, stereotypes are reduced and pupil’s confidence and teamwork skills improve, as well as their ability to link skills for the future with learning at school. Feedback from teachers and pupils was extremely positive. For the majority of schools this type of activity was new and not already delivered through the school. 

Some schools struggled to plan and embed activities into the school curriculum throughout the year and, in some cases, volunteers dropped out of sessions at the last moment. We agreed to plan a “Futures Week” into the school year when all primary schools could access activities during the summer term and collectively recruit a large number of employer volunteers via an annual campaign. Unfortunately, this was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

How did you measure success?

All the activities included engaging with an employer – 1,900 encounters for pupils. Based on surveys after the sessions, pupil’s awareness of different sorts of jobs increased (99% of pupils learnt about a new job they didn’t know about), stereotypes were reduced and pupil’s confidence and teamwork skills had improved. 88% of pupils said they had learnt how their skills could be used at work and 97% said they learnt how what they learn in school links to future jobs (see the case studies you can access on this page for more details on how the success of individual careers activities was measured). 


Ingredients For Success

The role of employer volunteers in sessions was key to showcase people in all sorts of different roles/careers and bring sessions to life.

Is the Project Complete or Ongoing

Based on teacher feedback after sessions, all participating schools agreed that they would aim to repeat activities themselves within school (as part of lessons or wider whole school approaches).

How is the Project Sustainable

A pilot Careers Lead role for primary school governors was created to champion careers activities in primary schools and support schools with local business links. National initiatives aim to increase careers activity and support at primary age alongside the existing focus on careers and enterprise at secondary phase. 

What are the Long Term Impacts

We hope that the input provided by the project will have created long-lasting change with regards to careers input in local primary schools and will continue to have a positive effect on the career opportunities of children and young people in Norwich.

Estimated Costs

The total approximate overall spend for the project was £48,000. Costs ranged from £350 – £1,500 per session based on session length and provider. 

It was so interesting to find out how to be the best shop keeper. I found out how to give change. I need to be good at maths. 

It taught me how to turn hobbies into jobs. I thought is was good for future work. 

I learnt lots from the nurse. I know how to stay healthy and I know about the lungs. The model was amazing. We got to take it to pieces. 

We got see what the police officer carries to keep him safe. I would like to be a police officer. 

Feedback from children who attended a Primary World of Work event/workshop.

Area Most Impacted

Careers & Aspirations

Empowering Young People

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

Parent Engagement with Careers and Aspirations

There is a wealth of evidence that the earlier children and young people are exposed to different types of career, the more likely they are to have broader aspirations for their future selves and are less likely to avoid certain career routes based on stereotypes.

World Of Work - Catton Grove Primary

WOW Catton Grove provided young people, parents and their extended community with an awareness, knowledge and ownership of the ‘world of work’ within their neighbourhood and beyond. We ran 3 sessions; 'WOW Treasure Hunt' to explore what local jobs makes their neighbourhood 'tick' today.

Next steps to do something similar yourself

These are a list of Big Idea resources that you can use to implement in your setting:

Learn some ideas around how to deliver world of work activities within your primary school by watching this webinar:

The Norwich Opportunity Area created the Careers Governor role to encourage governors to support careers activity in their schools:

One of the project providers created a toolkit based around primary world of work activities with resources that can be used by any school:

As part of the parental engagement events designed and run in schools by Camouflaged Learning a workbook was created to support schools with parental engagement (see the Parent Engagement with Careers and Aspirations case study link on this page for more information on these events):

Curious Spark created this flyer and brochure for the WOW Catton Grove Treasure Hunt (see the WOW - Catton Grove Primary case study link on this page for more information on the event these were created for):

This is a video of children from Catton Grove Primary School talking about their hopes and dreams:

Read the EEF Guidance Report on Social and Emotional Learning here

Champions and contacts



Hub Contact Details

Ann Bailey, CEO

Form The Future CIC, 47 Norfolk Street



Lou Gardiner, Chief Executive Officer

ACE CIC, Viking House, Dewing Road, Rackheath Industrial Estate

Norwich, Norfolk

NR13 6PS

Matt Bagley, Director of Programming

Camouflaged Learning, The Old Bakehouse, Chequers Lane Gressenhall

Dereham, Norfolk

NR20 4EU

Norwich Opportunity Area Team
Norwich Opportunity Area Team
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