The West of England Careers Hub work with schools across the region. The team provide support alongside the Careers & Enterprise Company, which includes Enterprise Advisers, Gatsby Benchmarking, SEND and information events.
A virtual careers fair, funded through the West of England Careers Hub and the CEC, was created by Threeways and Fosse Way schools in Bath to inform parents and teaching staff of the options available to young people after leaving school.
The Virtual Transition Fair for parents, carers and staff supporting SEND learners which includes progression routes in the West of England, was shared with local SEND Schools and SENCO’s in mainstream local school with the aim of increasing the knowledge of progression routes for young people with SEND. It provided parents and carers with access to up-to-date information about the labour market, future study options and career or transition pathways.
The digital site has been widely accessed by parents, teaching staff and young people across all the careers hub schools in the West of England region and North Somerset.
Impact on Virtual Transition Event for parents of SEND learners
Providing a virtual event has enabled students, parents, carers and staff to access the event in their own time, in the surroundings that suit them. It has given the chance to revisit information as many times as needed. It has removed any issues for young people with additional needs having to enter a busy, potentially noisy and overwhelming sensory experience of attending a fair. This kind of new, visual and sound bombarding events are really difficult for some students with SEND and having the resource online allows access to be controlled in manageable timeslots, helping get around short attention spans and difficulties talking to strangers.
For many parents and carers coming into school is difficult, not only because of issues they have had with school as a child but logistically with other children or the young person with SEND. Many of our parents struggle to access transport and childcare. There are also many anxieties about the child’s future so events such as this are daunting and overwhelming, and a lot of support is needed to access them.
Teaching staff have used the fair as an ongoing resource in class to introduce options for the future, to talk about possible transitions and to help introduce careers and further study. It has been an invaluable resource to have to return to regularly to embed ideas, ask questions, explore options and support young people talking to their parents and carers.
Teachers have used the event at annual reviews and parents’ evenings to help support parents making informed choices about their young person's futures, to help guide decision making and prepare the whole team supporting the student. Towards the end of the academic year we can use the resource to support the transitions for those preparing to leave school.
Having this resource to come back to multiple times is so valuable, a one-off event cannot give that point of reference to constantly refresh and develop knowledge and confidence. It allows all those staff supporting students, including careers leaders, SENCO’s and careers advisors to have information and videos to talk about the options readily available.
“We used the virtual transitions fair in lessons to look at what is available and relevant to all our young people. It has been really useful for us to help signpost the next steps."