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Our Approach

#815 Character Day – Jane Austen College

Katie Reddington, Careers Facilitator, Jane Austen College

What did we do?

An example of an event that has come out of the Norwich Opportunity Area (NOA) Careers Facilitator Network project is our most recent Character Day. Character days at Jane Austen are a chance for students to be off timetable. This is a perfect opportunity to be more flexible with the career programme and include bigger activities, which we struggle to do during the regular school day.

It was amazing having them in the school and they should come back again.

That was well fun – I liked that.

We would like more!

Helpful and good to talk to people.

I liked they all had different careers that took them down different paths and jobs.

I just wanted to say that I thought the 3 speakers this afternoon were really inspirational and I’m sure that the students got a lot from it.

Feedback from students and a teacher at Jane Austen College who attended a Character Day careers event.

Summary of impact

After the event, students came up to the speakers to let them know how insightful it was. Furthermore, I have had students and staff mentioning how valuable it has been and we have even had students who now have been looking for work experience in the companies they represented. This would not have been possible without the career network that the NOA has built.

All the speakers had a wide variety of experiences that showcased how life can take you in unexpected directions. Students commented on how much they liked this as it made it real and intriguing. It wasn’t just the case that each speaker got all A*’s and magically found their career. They had to work hard and considered multiple options, which helped to build their journey.

After the event, we got students to give feedback (see quote section for some of the feedback collected from students).

Steps taken

Year 10 and 11 were allocated to Careers and I wanted to have the focus on next steps and life beyond secondary school. Additionally, I wanted it to tie into the big career question I give each year group at the beginning of the year. Year 10’s question was ‘What does life look like after school?’ and Year 11’s question was ‘Am I prepared for the future?’, so I needed to find a way to link them both.

During one of the Careers Facilitator Networks, we had a guest speaker from Lotus who spoke about their training academy. This was really insightful and I thought she would be a great speaker that could be linked in with the questions. I asked her during the meeting if she would be willing to come into school and talk, which she was. I then spoke to her to see if she knew any good contacts and she linked me up with my other two speakers. As a result of these connections, both year groups received a talk where the guests spoke about their career journeys and the adversities they faced. This was tied in with other sessions related to career topics. This included CV’s, Interviews and another talk run by the UEA on University.

Lots of planning was involved. We started out planning what kind of themes we wanted the day to include and what we wanted to cover. This involved bringing together the director of personal development, the head of personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education and the senior leadership team (SLT).

After we worked out the themes and the structure of the day I then proactively sought out externals. This started with booking the UEA for the morning and then seeking the afternoon speakers. After the speakers were booked, we mapped out the rooming and staffing logistics and ensured the space was appropriate. On the day of the event, we prepped students and ensured they knew the meaning of the day and after the event, we got students to give feedback during a form time.

What would we do differently

What would you do differently? Share any words of wisdom, what did you learn? Next time, I would include a session with the speakers, where they are in their form groups. This would be after the initial talk and would allow students to delve deeper and have the confidence to ask questions. This could also tie into other sessions that they had in the day, such as interviews and CV’s. The externals could share their own experiences and wisdom on the project. The follow up session would also create more lasting impact and meaningful interactions.


No upfront cost. Staff who supervised would normally teach during the sessions, so they did not have to give up any time. Resources were all digital. Only the feedback form was printed (this would have cost about £3.50).

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

Being a Careers Facilitator - The Wherry School

The network meets regularly to discuss, inform and promote local labour market information, as well as promoting opportunities and creating events that are beneficial to a wider network of schools.

Joint Careers Event – Year 11 Options

Form the Future were commissioned by the Norwich Opportunity Area (NOA) to work with the Careers Facilitator (CF) Network to re-produce an event Form the Future first delivered with NOA in 2019.


Katie Reddington, Careers Facilitator

Jane Austen College, Claxton House 46-48, Colegate

Norwich, Norfolk