Careers at Herschel: An Introduction

At Herschel, we provide a comprehensive programme of careers education plus information, advice and guidance through these website pages, our Careers Library and small group or one-to-one meetings with Ross Logan, our Careers Adviser from Adviza.

Contact Details

Mr A Abdar (Careers Leader)

Mrs T Gumbs (Sixth Form Careers)

School phone number - 01753 520950

Jina Basra

National Careers Support

There is access to a countrywide Exam Results Helpline, provided by the National Careers Service, which uses the same phone number on which you can always access careers advice right the way through the year.

New Careers Statutory Guidance

The DfE released a new statutory guidance document in January 2018, including a number of new requirements for school careers programmes, most of which were met by the end of 2020. Many of the requirements are already met at Herschel, but we continue to work towards those that are not.

The most immediate requirement is for all schools to have a policy for 'Provider Access' so that everyone is clear on how and when outside organisations will be allowed access to Herschel students to promote other educational routes and training opportunities. We have now updated our Careers and WRL policy document to reflect this; it can be found under 'School Information' and then 'Statutory Information'.

Your Careers Programme

As a Herschel student, this is what you can expect your careers programme to look like, based around the government's Gatsby Benchmarks:

Online Careers Advice

You can now get immediate and personal careers advice from the National Careers Service via phone, text or online chat.

Careers Magazines


Loud Magazine

Loud is an informative and supportive guide for 16-19 year olds, to assist them with their next stage in higher education. 

Herschel Grammar School provides access to the software listed on this page for the use of Herschel students only.

Unifrog -

Careerpilot is for 11-19 year olds, it will help your child find out about all your options when they are  14, 16 and 18, including apprenticeships, college, higher level study, etc.

The website also includes tools to help you know more about yourself, explore your options and plan your next steps.  

Watch the Careerpilot video which explains what your child can be doing to manage their career. (YouTube)


HELP: No idea what I want to do with my life!


Click on the logo below to access Kudos.

Kudos is available here to Herschel Grammar School students only, so if you have not done so before, you will need the Herschel licence code. You will be told this by the teacher in your careers lesson or by the school careers adviser in a guidance session. If you wish to use Kudos outside of these scenarios, please see or email the Careers Leader for the latest passcode.



HELP: I don't know which A Levels to choose (or where my current A Levels could take me) 


Which University connects up A Level choices with university degrees.


Future Finder connects today’s A Level choices with tomorrow’s careers. It shows you which jobs are growing and need you. You can see which A Level choices can earn you the most money. It helps you understand how what you learn in the classroom is relevant to the outside world.

Future Finder features 430 different jobs and draws on a variety of labour market data feeds from credible sources such as UCAS, UKCES and the Russell Group.


The Russell Group Informed Choices tool helps you to understand how groups of A Level choices can lead to degree courses, specifically at Russell Group universities.


HELP: I need to find out about a particular career


eClips is licenced for use by Herschel Grammar School students only. Click on the link below and enter the school passcode. You will be told this by the teacher in your careers lesson or by the school careers adviser in a guidance session. If you wish to use eClips outside of these scenarios, please see or email the Careers Leader for the latest passcode.





HELP: I need some career inspiration


Click on the link below to enter icould

HELP: I need to create a CV, and fast!


Log into Kudos using the link and details above. Select 'CV Builder' from the 'Next Steps' menu.

You can download an excellent pdf guide to making your CV stand out from the link at the bottom of this page. You can also visit the 'Employment' page of this website to see some examples of some good CVs by students who are soon leaving school.


HELP: I want to look for work experience!


Download the Workfinder app by clicking on the link below and use it to connect with employers. You could also check out the other advice on the 'work experience and volunteering' page of the school website. 



HELP: I want to get some interview practice!


Download the Skills2Use app by clicking on the link below and use it to access a huge range of possible interview questions and suggested answers. You could also check out the other advice on the 'employment' page of the school website. 



The amount of careers information on the web can be boggling! This page is Herschel's pick of the best of the best, added to as and when we find them!

Click on the link below to visit the 13 to 19 section of the National Careers Service website - a great starting point for lots of careers help and advice.


The best websites for......


General Careers Info and Inspiration



Careers at Heathrow



Careers in Fashion



Careers in Health






Careers in Sport 



Careers in Law



The subjects and qualifications you study over Years 10 and 11 will affect how you spend your time during your next two years at Herschel. It could also help set you up for the career or college course you want later on.

How do I choose?

To help you decide what to study in Years 10 and 11, start by asking yourself what you enjoy doing and what you’re good at.

Think about:

  • what you’re interested in: it could be other cultures and languages, writing projects, helping people, being outdoors or designing things
  • what types of activity you enjoy most - working things out and thinking them through, practical activities or artistic options like painting, drawing or performing music
  • what you're like at home, as well as in school - what skills have you developed following outside interests?

There are some subjects so important that everyone has to take them, but you still have options in Year 9. You can read the Options Booklet for 2023 as a PDF download at the bottom of this page. Please also see this Options presentation with audio from Mr Devereux, Deputy Headteacher.

Some red hot tips.....

Get as much information as you can so you choose well. 

Ask for help from your Head of Learning or the Careers Leader.

If you have a firm career idea, research it and choose your options accordingly. Remember, no qualification is ever wasted.

You don’t have to have a career in mind at this stage – you just need to choose subjects and courses that will give you plenty of choice later on.

Choose subjects that you enjoy!

Check out whether the subjects have coursework, controlled assessment or just exams.

How do jobs relate to subjects?

Download the document called 'How Careers Relate to School Subjects' from the list at the foot of this page to see a list of job titles arranged by school subjects - remember, often these links are not set in stone, but do give you some ideas about where particular school subjects could eventually lead.

How will I be assessed?

Chances are you'll have to do at least one exam for most of your subjects, but many also let you count controlled assessment towards your final grade. Some subjects aren't all about written work, and give you the chance to do practical assessments as well. 

Where can I get help and advice?

The choices are yours, but most people look for advice on important decisions. There’s plenty available, but you should do as much as you can yourself to research all the options.

Parents, carers, family and friends probably know you best, so talking to them can help you work out what might suit you. But remember that they won’t always know a lot about careers or courses you’re interested in. If you’re planning to work towards a particular career or college course, don’t be put off just because it means taking a different direction from friends or family members.

Subject teachers know exactly what studying a subject in Year 10 and 11 involves, and can advise whether it’s right for you.

The Careers Leader can guide you towards advice about which subjects and qualifications are useful for particular careers. Mr Devereux can answer any questions about the Herschel options process itself. You will also have an opportunity to talk to some older students who have studied the subjects in which you are interested.

Miss Kaur, the school careers adviser, will be at Options Evening and will be running group sessions in school before half term for you to ask any questions. 

Key dates for 2023

Options Booklets issued to pupils – 2 February 2023.

Online Subject Evening – 9th March 2023

Deadline for submitting option choices – 17th March 2023

Useful websites

Click on the links below for some external help and advice on choosing your options from some independent websites. Which University considers the impact your GCSE choices can have on your future degree courses.


Case studies

If you are a bit unsure about where to go with your options choices, try reading the case studies below:


Jessica is in Year 9 and looking to start her GCSE courses in September. Alongside Mathematics and English, she is doing Triple Science, PE and French. She has always enjoyed making and repairing things and would like a career in engineering.
When it came to choosing her options Jessica found it invaluable talking to the school careers adviser and Head of Learning, who both emphasised the importance of choosing subjects that she enjoys as well as those that relate to her career choice. This particularly helped Jessica focus on her decision-making as she is a student who does well in most subject areas.
‘When I had to make my choices I was advised to choose carefully, to look at options I would have fun doing, not what I feel I have to do because everyone else is taking them. The school careers adviser also suggested that I consider my future ambition when making my choices.’


Michael is in Year 9 and enjoys most of his school subjects. He has opted to take GCSEs in geography, history and food technology, but at the moment he doesn’t really have a clear career plan. 

‘I had the opportunity to talk to my Head of Learning, which was great, and the school careers adviser at subject evening about my option choices. I also used the school’s option booklet and careers website which I went through with my parents and this helped me to decide what courses would suit me.’
Michael found it invaluable talking to lots of different people about what to do after Year 9. As he doesn’t have a career idea yet, decision-making can feel even more confusing. It’s important to choose courses that will suit and interest you, not just because your friends are doing them, so get some advice and help from those around you.

National Careers Support

Careers advice is always available from the National Careers Service - see flyer below.

What are my Post-16 Options?

Remember, you now have to stay in some sort of education or training until your 18th birthday. But you do have a number of options for the form this can take. This page helps to explain those options. There are also some very useful downloads at the bottom of the page, including the presentation Helen Cole (our previous careers advisor) did with current Year 11 students in her group sessions in July 2018.

A Levels

The most popular option is to continue your studies into A Levels. You can do this at Herschel or at another school with a sixth form or a sixth form college.  This provides you with the best basis to access university courses, although it's not the only way.

Experienced adviser Ray Le Tarouilly gives some invaluable tips on how and why to choose your A level subjects:

If you are a Year 11 student, you will likely have started thinking about what you are going to do when you have finished your GCSEs. For the first time in your life, you will have a choice over where you will go and what you will study, and with a bit of thought and care, you can make the right decisions and avoid making mistakes over your choices. As you may know, the government requires that all young people stay in some sort of learning until age 18. This does not mean that you have to stay on at school, but it does mean that you will need to take one of the following options:

  • A place at college full time
  • A place at a school sixth form full time
  • An apprenticeship (paid job with training) of at least 30 hours per week
  • A job or voluntary work which involves at least 20 hours per week attendance and includes recognized education or training leading to qualifications

One of the qualification pathways you may be considering is whether to take A levels. These are qualifications taken at schools that have a sixth form and at many colleges. The GCE (General Certificate of Education) Advanced (A) level has been in existence since the early 1950s and so your grandparents and possibly great grandparents may have taken them.

Key facts about A levels

A levels do not train or prepare you for jobs but they are well respected by employers and are still the standard entrance qualifications for entry to university. The skills developed from taking A levels are highly valued eg history or English Literature develop skills in researching information and presenting well-structured and argued written pieces of work. Mathematics develops problem solving and reasoning skills which are often talked about by employers as things they see as desirable from applicants. Sciences develop the ability to analyse and present information effectively and so on.

They take 2 years to complete.

A levels are graded either entirely or mostly by exams at the end of the course, depending on the subject, with the top grade possible being an A* and the lowest pass an E grade. “U” grade stands for unclassified which is a fail. A levels are not changing to number grades as with GCSE.

They are much more demanding than GCSEs; rather than simply repeating information, you will be required to express your own ideas much more and study subjects in much greater depth than at GCSE. Essays will be longer and need to show a much greater depth of understanding than those encountered at GCSE.

To be permitted to study A levels, you will need at least 5 GCSEs grade C/new grade 5 including English language and mathematics, and for some subjects at A level you will need at least a grade B/new grade 6 at GCSE eg if intending to take a language, sciences or mathematics at A level. Check college and sixth form websites or prospecti as they can vary.

Three, sometimes four subjects only are studied.

A levels buy you some time if you are unsure about what you want to do as a future job or study at university, but it is important to choose subjects that are going to be right for you and combine to maximise your choices later.

Reasons for choosing A levels should be based on the following:

  • That you have the ABILITY to take them. For example, subjects such as sociology or government & politics may be new to you, but you need good English skills as they are essay based.
  • That you are INTERESTED in them. A levels will require you to do a LOT more private study, reading etc outside of lessons. Having a passion for a subject will help!
  • That they are needed for the career or university course you want to do. For example, at least two sciences (usually chemistry and biology) will be required for entry to medicine, dentistry or veterinary science at university.

What A Levels should I choose?

Entrance requirements for some university degree courses can be high, so grades achieved at A level can be essential. A debate I have often encountered in my many years of careers guidance work is whether students should take three sciences for entry to medicine. Taking three sciences will potentially open all universities to you, but the majority are happy to accept two, with the third subject being something different. ONLY take three sciences if you are particularly good at them! If, for example, you are very strong in the life sciences (chemistry and biology), also very good at history but weaker in physics, 你会做的更好选择的历史.

Subjects like history are among what are called facilitating A levels which are those preferred or even required by more competitive entry universities.

Having a broader skillset which can be gained from taking a non-science subject can be a good thing, for example you will have developed strong written communication skills from studying history which can be invaluable when writing university assignments.

For entry to medicine, things that you do OUTSIDE of A level study are also very important, for example work experience with vulnerable people, regularly looking at sites such as the GMC (General Medical Council) to keep up to date with issues in medicine and attending a Medlink course to enhance your understanding of medicine as a career.

If you are focused on a business-based career, it can be tempting to choose all business type A levels such as business studies, economics and accounting. This is not necessary, in fact universities often prefer a broader skillset from students entering a business-based degree.

A language A level is particularly useful for entry to business courses, as sciences and mathematics develop analytical and problem solving skills, English literature or language develop written communication skills, geography strengthens data presentation and analytical skills and so on.

If you enjoy writing a great deal, three verbally based subjects can be an attractive proposition, for example history, government & politics and sociology. But remember that there will be a LOT of reading and essay writing!

The age old nutshell is whether to take A level law for entry to a law degree. If I had been paid £5 for each time I have been asked this question I would be very wealthy! The straight answer to this is that it is NOT necessary to take A level law to study this subject at university.

What are facilitating subjects?

Returning to the question of facilitating subjects, if you take at least two from the following list, you will have better opportunities for entry to more competitive entry universities and/or degree courses generally. The facilitating subjects are:- Biology- Chemistry- English Literature- Further Mathematics- Geography- History- Mathematics- Modern Foreign or Classical Languages- Physics.

However, do not lose sight of your aims. For example, if you intend going into an art/design based degree, then you will need to take a subject such as art & design, likewise music if you intend taking a degree in this subject.

The button below links to a very simple but effective guide from Which University to which A Level options can be required for specific degree courses, so if you think you know where you want to be headed, you can use this to double check:

There is also a new A Level choices checker from the Russell Group of Universities which highlights that they are now placing less emphasis on the idea of 'facilitating subjects' and encouraging a wider range of A Level Choices. Click on the logo below to give it a go!

Click HERE for six other things you need to know before deciding!

There are also some very useful documents to do with A Levels available for download at the bottom of this page - these include the 'Informed Choices' guide from the Russell Group of universities, a guide to surviving A Levels written by ex-Herschel student and now Medicine undergraduate Zara Zeb, guides to choosing A Levels for and applying for medicine related degrees, and also some information on other careers that are available in the fields of health and science.

Apprenticeships and School Leaver Programmes

You can apply to do an apprenticeship, and get paid while you learn! See the apprenticeships page of this website for more details by selecting it from the menu on the left.

Other College Courses

You can do a different course at a college.  This could be a diploma or a vocational qualification such as an NVQ, a City and Guilds or a BTEC.  Ms Cole, the school careers adviser, can help you with these, and there is a list of some of the college courses that are currently available locally further down this page. 

National Careers Service

The National Careers Service has a very good summary page for post-16 options - click on the logo below to visit.


Sixth Form Colleges

Click on each one below to go to the college website. Note that Activate Learning is a group of colleges that includes Reading College. The Windsor Forest Colleges group includes Windsor College, Langley College and Strodes College.

You can also find a list of college open events in the downloads at the foot of this page.











Other Useful Guides and Websites

Click the image below to be taken to the Big Guide for school leavers, containing info on graduate schemes, apprenticeships, volunteering, skills development.....loads of useful stuff if you are considering leaving full time education at the end of the year (and even if you're not!):


Click here for a good starting point website for school leaver programmes that don't involve heading to university (some require A Levels, but it's still worth a look):


Local Sixth Form Courses

 All courses listed are equivalent to three A Levels unless otherwise stated

Business and ICT Courses

Level 3 Business BTEC Extended Diploma

Available at almost all colleges (not BCA) 
Requires 4-5 grade C GCSEs often including English and Maths at grade C

AAT Certificate leading to the AAT Diploma

Available at Langley College
AAT Certificate requires 5 GCSEs at grade C including English and Maths

Level 3 Computing IT Practioners’ BTEC Extended Diploma

Available at Langley, Uxbridge, Reading Colleges
Normally requires 5 GCSE grade Cs including English and Maths

Information Technology (Software Development) Extended Diploma

Available at Henley College
Requires 5 GCSE grade Cs including English and Maths

Childcare and Health Courses

Children and Young People’s Workforce CACHE Diploma Level 3

Available at Langley, Uxbridge, Reading, BCA
Requires 5 GCSE grade Cs including English

Children’s Care Learning and Development Level 3

As course above
Available at Henley College

Level 3 Health Studies BTEC Extended Diploma

Available at Langley, Uxbridge, Reading, BCA
Requires 5 GCSEs at grade C including English and Maths

Craft Construction Courses

Construction BTEC Diploma Level 1 and 2
Plastering Diploma Level 1, 2 and 3
Bricklaying Diploma Level 1, 2 and 3
Carpentry Diploma Level 1, 2 and 3
Painting and Decorating Diploma Level 1 and 2
lumbing Technical Certificate Level 2 and 3
lectrical Technical Certificate
Gas Technical Certificate

All of the above are available at Langley College and some at Reading College
Entry requirements vary from none to 3 GCSEs at grade C including Maths English and Science for the Plumbing Technical Certificate Level 2

Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Construction

Available at Langley, Richmond Colleges
Requires 4 GCSEs at grade C or above including English, Maths and Science
This is a very interesting course which can lead to HE courses in construction management, surveying, civil engineering or to employment/training in the construction industry

Art and Design Courses

Level 3 Art and Design BTEC Extended Diploma

Available at Langley, Reading, Uxbridge and Henley. Requires 4/5 GCSEs including an art and design subject plus a portfolio

Level 3 Fashion, Design and Textiles BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma
Level 3 Product Design and Enterprise BTEC Extended Diploma
Level 3 Photography and Digital Imaging Extended Diploma
Level 3 Graphics and Digital Design

All available at Reading College and require 4 C grades at GCSE often including an art and design subject and English and a portfolio of work

Media Courses 

Level 3 Creative Media Production Extended Diploma
Level 3 Interactive Media BTEC Extended Diploma
Level 3 Digital Media Technologies  BTEC Extended Diploma

Entry requirements are 5 GCSEs including English.
Available at Langley, Henley and Reading Colleges

Level 3 Music BTEC Extended Diploma
Level 3 Music Technology BTEC Extended Diploma
Level 3 Music and Media Technology BTEC Extended Diploma

Available at Reading College
Require 4 GCSEs grade C including English and preferably Maths

Performing Arts Courses

Level 3 Performing Arts BTEC Extended Diploma

Available at Uxbridge, Langley, Reading Colleges
Requires 4 GCSEs including English and Maths

Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy Courses

Hairdressing NVQ Level 2 and 3

Available at Reading and Langley Colleges

Beauty Therapy NVQ Level 2 and 3

Available at Reading and Langley Colleges

Engineering Courses

Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Engineering
Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Mechanical Engineering
Level 3 BTEC Sub Diploma in Engineering – British Airways Pre-Apprenticeship
Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Electrical / Electronic Engineering

All available at Uxbridge College
They all require 5 GCSEs grade C including English, Maths, Science and possibly Design Technology
All (apart from the Sub Diploma) are 3 A level equivalent

Motor Vehicle Body Repair Certificate
Motorcycle IMI Level 1 Certificate and Level 2 Certificate
Motor Vehicle Engineering IMI National Diploma with Motorsport Option

All these are available at Langley College
Entry requirements range from none for the Level 1 Motorcycle course to 3 GCSE C grades including Maths, English and Science for the National Diploma course

There are also Level 3 BTEC courses in Travel and Tourism, Sport and Exercise Science, Sport Performance and Excellence, Public Services

Available at Reading, Henley, Langley Colleges and BCA

BCA also offers:

  • Level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management
  • Level 3 Extended Diploma in Aboriculture
  • Level 3 Extended Diploma in Countryside
  • Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture
  • Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horse Management

National Careers Support 

Careers advice is always available from the National Careers Service - see flyer below.

What are your Post-18 Options?

Most people in Year 13 at Herschel go through the UCAS application process to get into university. However, there are other options which may very well be right for some of you. See the downloads at the foot of this page for Mr Bourne's 'Next Steps' Powerpoint presentation where he explains the different routes and the UCAS process further, as well as the definitive guide to alternative pathways from 'Not Going to Uni'.


For more information on student finance, universities and UCAS, click on the Universities tab to the left. Most people at Herschel would look at a full degree taking three years plus, although it also possible to do a Foundation Degree - these last two years and allow more of an option at the end of those two years about what you do next.

Gap Year

You may decide to take a gap year before going to university - click on the Gap Years tab to the left for more information.

Apprenticeships and School Leaver Programmes

You may wish to investigate doing an apprenticeship when you leave Herschel - an increasingly popular (and also competitive) option in the light of the increased burden of student tuition fees at university. Click on the Apprenticeships tab on the left for more information and for the latest apprenticeship opportunities, or check out Ms Cole's presentation on university alternatives at the foot of this page.


You may wish to leave education entirely at this point and try to get a job. Click on the Employment tab on the left hand menu for some help and advice on doing this, eg how to apply for jobs and how to succeed at interviews, together with an excellent CV builder tool.

See the donwloads list at the foot of this page for Ms Cole's Powerpoint on alternatives to higher education from June 2012.

National Careers Service

Click on the logo below to visit the Year 13 Leavers page of the National Careers Service website:

'Loud' Magazine

Latest issue available now! Click on the image below to read the best magazine available geared exclusively towards sixth form careers and post-18 options.

Loud 44 

Useful Websites

There are a range of useful websites relevant to the post-18 phase below. You can also find our school careers advisor Ms Cole's take on the 'best of the best' in the PDF downloadable from the bottom of this page.

Click on the link below to visit what is by far the best website for looking at other options instead of university for people leaving Herschel at the end of Year 13:

Click the image below to be taken to the Big Guide for school leavers, containing info on graduate schemes, apprenticeships, volunteering, skills development.....loads of useful stuff if you are considering leaving full time education at the end of the year (and even if you're not!):

A good starting point for finding a school leaver programme as an alternative to university, often still leading to a degree:


For some advanced info on graduate careers:




This page is your starting point for the UCAS process and aims to provide other information about applying for university and university life.

The UCAS Process

The link above will take you directly to the UCAS website where you can log in and complete your UCAS application, monitor your university offers, and lots more! 

You can also access all the information provided by UCAS from the widget below. As it's so small, is it a midget widget, we wonder? Anyway, it's there :-)


In the downloads section at the bottom of this page there are a range of helpful documents to assist you in the UCAS process - clear and recently updated guides from Mr Bourne, the Powerpoint presentation from his PSHCE session and an excellent guide to the UCAS process from the University of Birmingham.

You can also click on the image below to take the Spartan test - a very different take on searching for a higher education course that provides you with your results in a Wordle!

The UCAS Tariff

Finding a University/Course

Click on some of the links below to check out the pros and cons of different universities, the courses they offer and the dates of their open events. Remember, you can also see the latest prospectuses in the Sixth Form Careers Library, adjacent to the Study Room.

UK Course Finder (below) generates degree courses to suit your interests and links to universities, directly linking to the university websites. It can refine by location and predicted grades. 

The Which University tool (from the link below) will connect up A Level subjects to degree courses and provide lots of useful information about them is the definitive guide to where and when the university open days are



Push (below) is the ruthlessly independent guide to UK universities, student life, gap years, open days, student finance, drop out rates, unemployment after six months, male/female ratio, size. 


The headquarters of the Russell Group of universities


The websites below can be used a 'compare the market' type toolls, for example compareing universities on percentage of graduates employed into graduate jobs, percentage of students satisfied and other key information for prospective students. 


There are direct links to many of the most popular universities further down this webpage, but what about the cities they are located in? Click on the image below to take a tour of a university city with Which University:

In the downloads list below you can find a list of degree courses organised by popularity - also well worth a look if you just need some ideas!

Specific Subjects at University

See the downloads below for a guide to applying for medicine and related courses at university, and a Powerpoint from Kings College explaining their application process and requirements.

What else can you do if you are keen on medicine but are not heading for the right grades? Other career areas include: anatomy, audiology; biomedical science; chiropractic; deaf studies; dental technology; dietics; health  science; hygienist; medical lab science; medical technology; mental health; midwifery; neuroscience; nursing; nutrition; occupational therapy; opthalmics; optometry; orthotics & prosthetics; pharmacology; pharmacy; physiotherapy; podiatry; radiography & radiotherapy; speech therapy and toxicology. There is more information about some of these in the download 'You Can't All be Doctors' at the end of this page.

Many of the above will attract an NHS bursary that will pay the fees and give you a (small) non means tested bursary. There are some further suggestions in the document in the downloads section at the bottom of the page.

The Medic Portal is a great resource for all aspects of applying for medicine, from interview advice to UKCAT questions - much of it is free.

UNIQ Summer School

Former Herschel student Nina Lindsay writes:

UNIQ is the widening access programme run by UNIQ that offers Year 12 students from non-fee paying schools a chance to spend a week studying a subject they love in the University of Oxford. The idea is to experience what a week in the life of an undergraduate student would be like. The course is very intense but incredibly enjoyable and you can definitely get a lot out of it.

I applied in 2013 for the Oncology (Cancer) course. I wasn’t sure at the time what sort of field of science I wanted to go in, and the course was a good mix of research, analysis with some medical influence as well. Some courses (such as Oncology, Physical Sciences etc) are not actually offered as an undergraduate degree, but offer a combination of different subjects.

I have tried to break down the main things that you might have questions about or encounter on a UNIQ summer school.

Nina's hugely informative full guide to the UNIQ summer school process (from application to evaluation) can be found in the Downloads section below.

Surviving University

Visit the Downloads section below for a guide to surviving the first few months of university, written by former Herschel student and now Medicine undergraduate Zara Zeb.

Personal Statements

There are a range of resources to help you with writing your all-important personal statement in the downloads section at the bottom of this page, including Mr Bourne's foolproof guide and Powerpoint from his PSHCE session, together with guides and hints from UCAS, the University of Essex and the University of Surrey.

The following were the most over-used opening sentences for personal statements in the last admissions cycle, according to UCAS - caution advised!

  1. I am currently studying a BTEC National Diploma in... (used 464 times)
  2. From a young age I have always been interested in ... (309 times)
  3. From an early age I have always been interested in ... (292 times)
  4. Nursing is a very challenging and demanding career ... (275 times)
  5. For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with ... (196 times)
  6. Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only ... (189 times)
  7. Nursing is a profession I have always looked upon with ... (178 times)
  8. For as long as I can remember I have been interested in ... (166 times)
  9. I am an International Academy student and have been studying since ... (141 times)
  10. Academically, I have always been a very determined and ... (138 times)

Reproduced from the 'UCAS Guide to Getting into University and College' with permission of UCAS - available from 

Which University have a Personal Statement Builder tool, which you can access from the logo below.

Applying to Oxbridge

You will get lots of help at Herschel if you are keen to apply to Oxford or Cambridge, but here are some tips:

  • You can apply to a college or make an open application, whereby your application is given to the college with the lowest application ratio. It is good advice to apply to colleges which has a tutor in your subject.
  • Colleges vary by size, closeness to the centre of town, age, facilities (especially accommodation and sporting) and ambience. All are good but you may well feel more at ease in some rather than others.
  • Cambridge has a tripos system, whereby your degree is split into 2 parts; part 1 (first year) and part 2 (2nd & 3rd year). There is a lot of flexibility and it is possible to change your subject to something new. However, there are some restrictions e.g. moving to medicine from law. The Cambridge natural science degree is very broad and involves a combination of experimental sciences.
  • Oxford has more combined subjects e.g. PPE (philosophy, politics and economics) and PPP (psychology, philosophy and physiology.
  • In addition to the UCAS form Cambridge require an additional online questionnaire.
  • Interviews are normally from December onwards (some can be earlier) and not everyone is interviewed. You are normally asked to submit samples of your work (discuss with your teachers what to include). You may have a formal exam but more common are short tests. At Cambridge they are sat at the interview, Oxford tests are sat prior to the interview. The tests are clearly explained on the website with examples of past papers.
  • Both universities want ‘exceptional’ intellectual flair and curiosity, you must be fascinated by your subject and able to vocalise and explain your interest. You must read around the subject and not just be an expert on the A level curriculum. Cambridge want 90% across your UMS marks to be interviewed; realistically you should have a minimum of 7A* at GCSE.
  • Please note that you DO NOT need 4 subjects at A2, but most applicants for science courses will have 4, including further maths; always check. FM is also required or highly desired for computer science and economics.
  • Both universities look at your background, what school you went to and what opportunities you have had. If your school did not offer FM then they can be more flexible, but the course itself may be pitched at a level that if you do not have FM it may be very hard to cope with.
  • Both universities prefer traditional A level subjects but are actually more open than some of the other leading universities, always check.
  • Do not apply unless you have a realistic chance, do not waste your or their time with a fantasy application.
  • As well as the university websites, look at

Student Finance

Click HERE to visit the government's main page for applying for student finance. 

Click on the 'Student Budget Calculator' below to use Which University's excellent tool for planning ahead:

There are also a range of useful links below, and some resources in the downloads section at the bottom of this page.


Results Day and Clearing

See Mr Bourne's guide in the downloads at the foot of the page. The annual guide from the Student Room is also excellent - click HERE for the 2022 version.

'Loud' Magazine

Click on the image below to read the latest issue of Loud magazine, the online magazine about university and other post-18 options.

Loud 44

Popular Universities

Click below for direct links to the university websites:













What are Apprenticeships?

Apprentices earn a wage and work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills. Off the job, usually on a day-release basis, apprentices receive training to work towards nationally recognised qualifications. Apprenticeships can take between one and four years to complete depending on the level of apprenticeship, the apprentices’ ability and the industry sector. The minimum salary is £2.60 per hour; however, many apprentices earn significantly more. 

Who are they for?

Apprenticeships are open to all age groups above 16 years-old whether you are just leaving school, have been working for years or are seeking to start a new career. Click HERE to read about five reasons why apprenticeships are a real alternative to university.

What levels are available?

There are three types of apprenticeship, intermediate, advanced and higher. There are different entry requirements for each, and each of these apprenticeships are equivalent to qualifications you can receive at school.

An intermediate apprenticeship is aimed at students with two or more GCSEs at A*- C level. Intermediate apprentices spend the majority of their time working with an employer, developing skills on-the-job, while studying towards a vocational qualification. Vocational qualifications are designed to give the student the knowledge and skills to perform a particular job. At the end of an intermediate apprenticeship, you will have gained a qualification equivalent to five GCSEs. After this, you can work towards a BTEC, or begin an advanced apprenticeship.

An advanced apprenticeship is the step above an intermediate apprenticeship, but operates similarly. The entry requirements for advanced apprenticeships are 5 GCSEs A*- C. An advanced apprentice will work as a full-time employee, and attend college or an in-house training centre on a day release basis. If you complete an advanced apprenticeship, you will be rewarded with a level 3 NVQ, and a knowledge-based qualification. These qualifications are equivalent to two A-levels.

The required grades for a higher apprenticeship are typically two A-levels or an advanced apprenticeship. A higher apprenticeship can be the equivalent of a foundation degree, Higher National Diploma (HND) or Higher National Certificate (HNC).

Degree apprenticeships:

  • are the latest model to be developed as part of higher apprenticeship standards, with apprentices achieving a full bachelor’s or master’s degree as a core component of the apprenticeship
  • combine both higher and vocational education and fully test both the wider occupational competence and academic learning, either using a fully-integrated degree co-designed by employers and Higher Education Institutions, or using a degree plus separate end test of professional competence

Click HERE to read more about degree apprenticeships at 'Success at School'.

Are they competitive?

There may be different entry requirements depending on the apprenticeship and the industry sector. However competition for places with employers can be fierce, so you will need to show that you are committed, and aware of your responsibilities to both yourself and the company who would employ you. You also need to be happy to work as both part of a team and individually, and be able to use your own initiative.


Apprenticeships are designed with the help of the employers in the industry, so they offer a structured programme that takes you through the skills you need to do a job well. As an employee you will be in employment for most of your time as most training takes place on the job. The rest usually takes place at a local college or a specialist training organisation. You can complete this off-the-job training on day release or over a number of days in a block.

Check your email.....

Apprenticeship and school leaver opportunities that come to our attention are regularly emailed round to the year groups for whom they are relevant, so do keep an eye on your email and make sure you are not losing useful things in 'Clutter'!


Click on the image below to read a brand new magazine about apprenticeships.

Higher and Degree Apprenticeships

Here are some of the latest companies and organisations offering higher and degree apprenticeships - sourced from The Times.

A more updated (and much longer) list can also be downloaded from the bottom of this page - the list also contains closing dates and direct application links.

In More Detail....

Click on the image below to read more about the different levels of apprenticeship, school leaver programmes, sponsored degree courses and traineeships, courtesy of the 'Rate My Apprenticeship' website. You can also read the UCAS Guide to Apprenticeships, which is available as a download from the bottom of this page.

Latest Vacancies

Click on the government logo below to get an up to date list of the latest higher and degree apprenticeship vacancies together with links to apply directly for them - this is regularly updated and you can sign up for email updates from the page:


The following employers are involved in providing degree apprenticeships:

Electronic systems engineering – Embedded Systems Development Engineer

Renishaw, Embecosm, Frontier Silicon, Sensium Healthcare, Toumaz, Imagination Technologies, Schneider Electric, BAE Systems, Thales, FlexEnable, Emerson Process Management, Measurement Technology, Automated Technology Group, Selex ES, ARM, ESCO, Electronics Yorkshire, GAMBICA, NMI

Surveying – Chartered Surveyor

Gardiner and Theobald, Axis, DTZ, Faithorn Farrell Timms, DSB Construction Consultants, Valuation Office Agency, 伦敦交通, EC Harris, Martin Arnold Associates, Collier & Madge, CBRE, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, London Southbank University, Birmingham City University

Life and Industrial Sciences – Laboratory Scientist

Actavis, Aesica Pharmaceuticals, Astra Zeneca, BCM, Essar, Fujifilm Diosynth, Biotechnologies, GSK, Ineos, Lotte Chemical UK, Lucite, Medimmune, Pfizer Inc, SABIC UK Petrochemicals, Sellafield, Sembcorp, Seralab, Synergy Outsourcing, Victrex, Broughton Laboratories, Centre for Process Innovation, Royal Society of Chemistry, Society of Biology, JayTee, Centre for Process Innovation, Greenwich University, Kent University, Manchester Metropolitan University

Defence – Advanced Systems Engineer

Atkins, Altran, BAE Systems, Cobham, General Dynamics, Marshall, MBDA, MoD DE&S, MoD Dstl, MooD International, QinetiQ, Raytheon, Rolls-Royce, Selex ES, Serco and Thales, Cranfield, University College London, Bristol University, Loughborough University

Aerospace – Aerospace Engineer and Aerospace Software Engineer

BAE Systems, Airbus, Rolls Royce, GE Aviation Power & Systems, GKN Aerospace, Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, Augusta Westland Ltd, Magellan Aerospace (UK) Ltd, GTA England, Lancaster University, Blackpool and Fylde College, University of Central Lancashire


Sellafield, BAE Systems, Rolls Royce, Atkins, Ultra Electronics, Jacobs, Westinghouse Springfields, UK Atomic Energy Authority, Ministry of Defence, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Office for Nuclear Regulation, Magnox Ltd, Research Sites Restoration Ltd, Low Level Waste Repository, EDF Energy, National Skills Academy for Nuclear, National Nuclear Laboratory, Bristol University, Manchester University – Dalton Institute

Power Engineering

Amey, National Grid, UK Power Networks, E.ON ,Freedom, Electricity North West, SSE, Siemens, EDF Energy, Alstom, Scottish Power, Northern Powergrid, Energy & Utility Skills, The Engineering Council, Coventry University

Public Relations

Claremont, On Broadcast, Talk PR, KOR Communications Ltd, Salix Consulting, Golin, PRCA, Taste PR, Tala PR, Storm PR

Digital Industries – Technology Solutions Professional

Accenture, Bright Future, BT, CapGemini, CGI, Ford, Fujitsu, GSK, HMRC, HP, IBM, John Lewis, Lloyds Banking Group, Network Rail, Tata Consulting Services, Apadmi, Tech Partnership, Aston University, Exeter University, Greenwich University, Loughborough University, Manchester Metropolitan University, University College London, University of the West of England, Winchester University


Aggregate Industries UK Ltd, AK Lighting & Signs, Amey L G Limited, Anderson & Heeley Ltd, BAM Construct UK Ltd, Balfour Beatty, BAM Nuttall, Bouygues E & S Infrastructure UK Ltd, Byrne Bros (Formwork) Limited, C J Bayliss (Hereford) Ltd, Cable Test Ltd, Carillion Civil Engineering, Centre Great Ltd, Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists, Chartered Management Institute, Civil Engineering Contractors Association, Clugston Construction Ltd, Connect Plus, Costain Ltd, E & JW Glendinning Ltd, Electrical Testing Ltd, E-ON Energy Solutions Ltd, Galliford Try Services Ltd, GM Briton (Public Works Ltd), H & H Joiners and Builders Ltd, Herefordshire Council, Highway Electrical Association (HEA), i-Civils Ltd, Imtech Traffic & Infra UK Ltd, Institute of Highway Engineers, Institution of Civil Engineers, Interserve Construction Ltd, K&M McLoughlin Decorating Ltd, Kennford Tarmacadam Limited, Kier Ltd, Lovell Partnerships Ltd, Mineral Products Qualifications Council, Morgan Sindall plc, NG Bailey Ltd, Road Maintenance Services Ltd, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Seddon Construction Ltd, Skanska Construction Ltd, South West Highways Ltd, SSE Contracting Ltd, The Chartered Institute of Building, The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, The Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation, The Institution of Engineering & Technology, VolkerWessels UK Ltd, Willmott Dixon Holdings Ltd, Southampton Solent University, London South Bank University, University of the West of England, Gateshead College, Oaklands College, Liverpool John Moores University, Leeds College of Building, Birmingham City University, College of Estate Management, Stephenson College, Anglia Ruskin University, University of Derby

Financial Services – Banking Relationship Manager

Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS, Santander


BMW Group UK, EEF, Ford, GTA England, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Jaguar Land Rover, NFEC, Siemens, Toyota Manufacturing UK, Vauxhall Motors


The Tech Partnership is an exciting (and developing!) collaboration of companies working together to create new degree apprenticeships - click on the link above. Some of the companies are familiar and appear above but new companies are joining on a daily basis. 

Sponsored Degrees

These are increasingly becoming part of the degree apprenticeship offering, but the Scholarship Hub still lists some of the organisations that specifically offer these - click HERE to read more.

Finding an Apprenticeship

Click on the links below to find apprenticeship vacancies across the country.  You will need to register for the first website, but if you are interested it is well worth it - it is the official government apprenticeship finder, previously called the National Apprenticeship Service. 





Click on the Success at School logo below to read a range of regulatly updated articles on apprenticeships - what is out there and why you do them!

Click on the Adviza logo to go to their list of local apprenticeships across Berkshire and close by. This list is regularly updated and current.


Ms Cole has produced a leaflet listing companies offering apprenticeships, higher apprenticeships and sponsored degrees - the list is increasing all the time! You can download this leaflet from the bottom of this page. 

Other Apprenticeship Websites

QA has apprenticeships across the Thames Valley in IT, Marketing, Sales & Business. Click on the logo below.......

AIM Apprenticeships work with Herschel Grammar School to make apprenticeship opportunities available - they present to Year 11 in September, see students in a workshop in January an then individually for those that need it after that.

This page provides help and advice for anyone at Herschel applying for a job, whether it be for a part time role during your studies or full time employment after you leave the sixth form.

National Careers Service

The National Careers Service is an excellent starting point for all sorts of help and advice with finding a job, as well as some inspiration. Click on the logo below to find out more.

Filling in applications

Check the closing date and be sure to get the application form in on time! Photocopy or print out the form to practice on, reading the form carefully and checking that you understand what is being asked. If not, get help! If the application is online, make a note of any usernames/passwords that you may need later and make sure you have a ‘sensible’ email address for employers to contact you. Fill the practice form and get someone to check your spelling.

In the education section you should put the names and addresses of all the schools/college you have attended from the age of 11 (list in reverse order, starting with the most recent). In the qualifications section you should include the name of the course, level and grade achieved, e.g. English Language, GCSE B. Details of previous employment can mean any type of job even a temporary summer job or work experience. Voluntary work can also be added here unless there is a separate section on the form.

In the reason for applying section, be positive. Point out the qualities you have which will be of use in the job. Read the job description carefully for ideas of how your skills match. Be sure to ask permission from the people you are using as referees.

Complete the ‘real’ form – if you are doing this by hand make sure you write clearly using a pen with black ink. Then make a cop or print it out. If you are lucky enough to get an interview then you will need to look at this to remind yourself of what you have said. An employer may well ask you about something you have written. If you are posting your application form use an A4 envelope that is addressed clearly and use a (large letter) first class stamp.  Send a covering letter or CV with the form if requested.

If you are applying online it is a good idea to telephone to check that your application has been received.

Writing a covering letter

A covering letter is an important letter that accompanies your CV and application form (if used). It should be brief and to the point. Before starting your letter, check the job advert for a contact name. If you find one, use it to start your letter e.g. “Dear Mr Cook” and if you can’t find a contact name start your letter using “Dear Sir or Madam.” Make sure your letter is well laid out with no spelling mistakes. Read it through afterwards to check for spelling. Perhaps ask someone else to read it through as well.

Content of the letter

Start with a brief paragraph stating the job you are applying for and where you have seen it advertised e.g. “I came across your advertisement for a Retail Assistant in the local newspaper and would like to apply for this position.” Follow this with a paragraph that tells the employer a bit about your relevant experience and why you want the job. This is your chance to really sell yourself and get the employer interested, so make sure you highlight your strengths and key skills. End the letter by stating your CV is enclosed/attached and that you hope the employer considers your application. The last line should say that you look forward to hearing from them.

If you have used a contact name at the beginning close your letter with “Yours sincerely”. If you have addressed your letter to Dear Sir or Madam, then close your letter with “Yours faithfully”.

Some tips

  • Don’t just repeat your whole CV
  • Don’t start every sentence with “I”
  • Give evidence for everything you say you’re good at or can do

There are some examples of good covering letters available in the donwloads section at the bottom of this webpage.

Your CV

A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is an up to date summary of your qualifications, achievements, work experience and skills. Employers will use it to help them decide if you have the right qualities for the job. Although there is no one correct way of presenting this information, there are several guidelines that you should follow.

Your CV: 

  • must be clear and easy to read (use a size 12 font)
  • should be brief, one A4 sheet if possible
  • must be factually correct
  • should be word processed on good quality white paper
  • if possible, it should not be folded but sent in an A4 envelope

Rather than having one CV and using it for every job application, you should tailor your CV for each application. This will allow you to highlight your most relevant skills, experience and interests for that job and maximise your chances of securing an interview.

Click HERE for a more detailed guide from the Student Room and HERE for an interactive annotated bad CV and good CV from the University of Kent! Click HERE for an amusing (but very helpful) summary of good CV writing from O2 Think Big.

At the bottom of this webpage there are some examples of CVs available for download, and also an excellent PDF guide taking you through the process of writing your CV in much more detail. The infographic below from Trotman also has some great tips and ideas.

Building your own CV

Click on the logo below to access Kudos. Kudos is available here to Herschel Grammar School students only, so if you have not done so before, you will need the Herschel licence code. This can be found in the global area of eLockers and in a folder called 'Careers'. If you are in a careers lesson or a careers guidance interview at Herschel, your teacher/the careers advisor will know the code.

Once you are in, click on the 'next steps' menu to access CV Builder.

If you have logged in before but have forgotten your username and password, please see Mr Wilkins who can retrieve them for you.


Surviving an interview

An interview is a meeting to exchange information and have a two-way discussion. Its purpose is to let the employer find out if you are suitable for the job. It also gives you an opportunity to see if the job is right for you.

An interview can take several forms. It may be with employers or a recruitment agency, with one or more people, either one at a time or all together (a panel interview), in person or over the telephone, a technical interview to see whether you have the skills for the job (this often involves a literacy/numeracy test) or with a group of other applicants where you will be assessed against them.

Before you go

Interviews can be stressful, but you can reduce the stress by considering some of the questions below beforehand:

  1. Where is the interview?
  2. When is the interview?
  3. How much time do I need to get ready and get there?
  4. Have I Googled the company and been on their website?
  5. What am I going to wear that’s smart?
  6. How am I getting there?
  7. Do I need any money (for parking, transport etc)?
  8. Have I charged my mobile?
  9. Who do I need to call if I’m running late/can’t find the place?
  10. Have I looked at my application form/CV to remember what I’ve written?
  11. Have I thought about what I will be asked?
  12. What questions will I ask them at the end of the interview?
  13. Do I need to take anything with me? (CV, portfolio etc)

Telephone interviews

These are becoming more common and are often used as a ‘vetting’ process so BE PREPARED! Before you make the call make sure you have all your details to hand. This should include the job advert, your application letter and CV.  Have a pen and paper ready, use a telephone in a quiet area and speak clearly!

Face to face interviews

It’s important to prepare thoroughly before starting out for an interview. Find out as much as possible about the company by looking at their website. Read your CV and application letter carefully, and write down the most important points you want to make during the interview. Prepare answers to likely questions - here are some examples:

  • Using only three words, describe yourself.
  • What did you like/dislike about your previous job/work experience?
  • How do you react under pressure?
  • What interests you most about this job?
  • Tell me about an achievement that you are proud of.
  • What do you feel you can bring to this job?
  • What are your long term ambitions?
  • Can you tell me about an occasion when you have worked successfully in a team?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • 你认为这工作需要什么品质?
  • What do you know about this organisation?
  • Have you done a similar role before?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
  • How do you handle criticism?

In the donwloads section at the bottom of the page, there are some further questions you could be asked and also some suggested answers - wellworth a read! In addition, we provide a guide for answering increasingly common situational questions.

Useful tips for the interview

When it comes to the interview itself, here are some useful tips:

  • Be early but no more than 10 minutes – check out the route you will take the day before.
  • As soon as you arrive give your name to the receptionist.
  • Wear smart clothes, even if it is for a job which would not require you to dress smartly. This does not mean a new outfit, but make sure what you wear is clean and tidy. Remember ‘first impressions’ count.
  • During the interview, keep your answers positive and relevant to the job.
  • If you do not understand a question say so and ask for an explanation.
  • Be aware of your ‘body language’. Don’t slouch or fidget. Try not to fold your arms or cover your mouth when you speak. Turn your mobile off and do not chew gum.
  • Look at the person when you answer and don’t forget to smile!

Towards the end of the interview you may be asked if you have any questions you’d like to ask.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • What time would I start each morning?
  • Who would I report to?
  • What induction and further training is offered?
  • How will my performance be monitored?
  • How does my role fit within the department?
  • What opportunities are there to progress within the company?

Skills2Use App

Download the Skills2Use app by clicking on the link below and use it to access a huge range of possible interview questions and suggested answers. 

Starting your own business

If you have a good idea for a business and like the idea of working for yourself, self-employment is an option to consider. To succeed you will need to be highly motivated, hard-working, organised, 而不是害怕冒险. That said, if you can make it work, you can enjoy the satisfaction of being your own boss!

To find out more about starting a business when you are young, the Princes' Trust Enterprise Programme supports unemployed young people aged 18-30 to work out if their business ideas are viable and whether self-employment is right for them. Shell LiveWIRE is the UK's biggest online community for young entrepeneurs (aged 16-30) who are starting or running their own business.

Useful Websites

Click on the logo below to visit Success at School's employers page, where they showcase internship and graduate opportunities from major national employers

Click on the logo below to go to one of Britain's leading websites for finding a job as a student


Click on the link below to access the best website there is for info on other opportunities and pathways instead of university


Other websites for job hunting are below:








And for specifically local job opportunities:


Should I Take a Gap Year?

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) runs an innovative course on Active Citizenship and Volunteer Development. The course leader has provided these useful pointers to help you decide whether a gap year is right for you.

A worthwhile gap year will teach you to be self-reliant, 管理你的钱, enhance your team working skills and increase your maturity.

Good activities for your gap year

  • Voluntary work at home or abroad
  • Work experience or a temporary job
  • Independent travel
  • Learning a new skill e.g. a foreign language

Bad activities for your gap year

  • Lying in bed all day because you have no reason to get up
  • Spending all the money you earn
  • Travelling the hippy trail for the whole year and then boring people with your stories when you come home
  • Staying at home for the whole year and not stepping outside your comfort zone

Advantages of taking a gap year

  • Developing ”soft” skills such as communication and a “can do” attitude
  • Earning money to support yourself through university
  • Being inspired by new experiences
  • Fulfilling your potential and becoming a more rounded person
  • Experience volunteering and active citizenship to build strong local communities here and abroad

Pitfalls of a gap year

  • Financial strain if you don’t find paid work
  • Losing the habit of studying
  • Floating through the year not doing anything constructive with your time
  • Finding yourself in an unsafe situation if you don’t plan your travel and volunteering carefully.

What employers like about candidates who have taken a well planned gap year

  • You will have a stronger CV
  • You will show perseverance, commitment and dedication
  • You will increase your transferable skills
  • You will be better mentally prepared for the world of work

Click on the logo below to read an article in the Independent about why students who take a Gap Year often find their future career is improved:

Click on the Success at School logo below to read a range of very thought provoking and useful articles on taking a gap year:

Useful Gap Year Websites

Click on the logos below to go straight to some of the best gap year websites around!




A Year in Industry

Click on the link below to find out more about how you can access paid placements in science, engineering, technology and maths.

Year 10 Work Experience Programme

In Year 10, all Herschel students complete a week of block work experience, by sourcing their own placements through friends and contacts or using the Unifrog platform to find placements available in their local area. 

Other Work Experience

At Herschel, we strongly encourage students to undertake work experience whenever possible in other year groups.

This should ideally take place in the school holidays, although leave of absence from school can sometimes be negotiated with your relevant Head of Learning - make sure you have a chat with your Head of Learning before signing up for any opportunities that arise.

Work Experience Opportunities

Regular work experience opportunities that come to our attention will be posted below, whilst the very latest opportunities will be sent to relevant year groups and parents as 'Careers Alert' emails as they often have quite tight timeframes for application.

Workfinder App

Download the Workfinder app by clicking on the link below and use it to connect with employers.


GSK run an extremely popular three day work experience programme in the February and October half terms called 'Molecule to Market' and based at their Stockley Park offices. Eligible year groups will be notified by email when applications open, and of the results of those applications.


Cisco run a technical and business based work experience programme in November and July every year called 'Pathway to Your Future' and open to Year 10 and 11 students. Relevant year groups will be directly emailed when applications are open.


EY is a 'professional services' company, meaning that they provide assurance and accountancy help, assistance with tax affairs, consultancy and corporate transactions. They run a one week Business Academy programme for Year 12 students in the summer. Click on the logo below to find out more and apply.

McLaren Automotive

McLaren Automotive offer a work experience programme for Year 10 and 11 students every year, usually with a February application deadline. Click on the logo below and search for 'work experience' to see if there are any opportunities currently on offer.


The BBC has four application windows every year and each one lasts two weeks. There are several categories of work experience available at four locations. You can only choose one category in one location. There is no separate category for online work, but all of categories offer placements that have a strong interactive element.

When you choose your location and category and fill in your online application, they will ask you some questions about your interests and passion for your chosen placement. If you are successful, they will do their best to match you to a placement that’s right for you.

Every work experience placement is different, but they’re all designed to give you the opportunity to make the most of your time there. When you arrive, your Placement Manager will want to find out more about you and what you want to get out of your time. They’ll try to get you involved in the things that interest you most.

Remember that work experience is unpaid but it’s a learning experience and not a job.

To find out more and apply, click on the BBC logo below.


British Airways

Herschel Grammar School is in the official catchment area for doing work experience with the company at London Heathrow and elsewhere. They have specific timeslots during which you can apply - you will be notified by email when these open, if you are in a relevant year group.

You can also click on the logo below to visit the work experience part of their website, or email to make contact directly.


Medical Work Experience

Ms Cole, a previous school careers advisor, wrote an article packed with useful advice and links, looking at how volunteering can be a great way of getting meaningful medical work experience. Download the article as a PDF from the bottom of this webpage.

You can also click HERE to read a very useful guide to work experience in healthcare from the Success at School website.

Click on the logo below to visit Premed Projects, an organisation offering medical work experience and shadowing in the UK. Note that there is a significant charge for this service.



Legal work experience can be very difficult to find, but the link to All About Law below provides you with some ideas.

Remember that you can always visit a court during the school holidays and watch court proceedings. You don't usually need to ask for permission, but it might be polite to email them first - there is always a contact email on the court website.

East Berkshire Magistrates Court (Slough):

Reading Magistrates Court:

Reading Crown Court:


The Guardian newspaper run a series of short courses for aspiring journalists - some of them are run by well-known Guardian columnists.

There is a fee for them, but quite a reasonable one. Click HERE to find out more.

You can also click HERE to read a guide to work experience in media from Success at School.


Click HERE to read a guide to work experience in finance and accountancy from Success at School.

Success at School

Click on the Success at School logo to visit a great list of current work experience opportunities to be applied for with a range of organisations such as the National Trust and JP Morgan.



The Prospects careers website has lots of useful tips on both work experience and volunteering. Click HERE to access the starter page. 

Rate My Apprenticeship

This website has an excellent guide to work experience, including a list of large companies and organisations that regularly offer it. Click HERE to read the feature.


People choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. For some it offers the chance to give something back to the community or make a difference to the people around them. For others it provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge. Regardless of the motivation, what unites them all is that they find it both challenging and rewarding. 

What could be better than a chance to make a difference AND make your CV look great AT THE SAME TIME!!!

Do-It - Be More


Check out some local volunteering opportunities by clicking on the link to the Slough Volunteer Centre below:


Labour Market Information (LMI) provides you with an overview of what's happening in the world of work.

National Information

You can log into eClips (see the Careers Software page for link and details), check out any career area and find out what's happening - is it on the up or on the down?

You can also type a job title into one of the LMI cards available at the website below to display quick info about what is happening in that career area - this is powered by

Local Information

You can visit the ElevateMe (Slough) website by clicking HERE.

This infographic summarises some of the main labour market trends in Berkshire at the moment.


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