Careers, Information, Advice and Guidance (CIAG) - 'QAC Next Steps'


The Gatsby Benchmarks

QAC believes that students with SEND, including those with high levels of needs, can access fulfilling jobs and careers with the right preparation and support. QAC aspires to support every student with a careers programme that follows the Gatsby Benchmarks. As a specialist College, all of the learning undertaken by the College for its students is fully inclusive.

A group of QAC students wearing red College hoodies

QAC’s College plan complies with the Education (Careers Guidance in Schools) Act 2022 which came into force on 1 September 2022 and states that schools and colleges must provide opportunities for access all year 8 to 13 schools pupils, including 16-25 with EHCP.  This is a legal duty for maintained schools and colleges and is expected in non-maintained/other, where the Act states, “should” as opposed to “must”.

Every student at the College is entitled to and will have access to meaningful advice to support their next steps. QAC College aspires to achieve the eight Gatsby benchmarks of Good Career Guidance which are:

  • A stable careers programme
  • Learning from career and labour market information
  • Addressing the needs of each student
  • Linking curriculum learning to careers
  • Encounters with employers and employees
  • Experiences of workplaces, and work placements
  • Encounters with further and higher education
  • Personal guidance

More Information on the benchmarks can be found here:

QAC College students will have termly access to CIAG in each academic year as listed:

  • Through a taught tutorial curriculum (inclusive of PSHE/British Values/Work)
  • Personal Tutor sessions (group and 1:1)
  • Independent, external Careers Advisor sessions (1:1 and group).
  • ‘Work Skills’ and ‘Talking Employability’ awareness resources
  • Skills Builders (as part of tutorial sessions)
  • Guidance and input from tutors/LSAs and the QAC Work Placement team
  • Careers weeks (termly)
  • Transitions Officer meetings
  • Transitions events
  • Information from the Learning Resource Centre
  • Parent/carer forum information and external talks
  • Shared information drives

QAC College also have an Independent Careers Advisor Nicki Hamilton (external company Calm Careers) and we are working closely with Birmingham Careers Service to ensure we are meeting and developing our progress against the Gatsby Benchmarks

The Independent CIAG advisor works across all curriculum areas on:

  • Next steps planning
  • Group and 1:1 meetings
  • Advising and sharing resources with students
  • Raising staff awareness and supporting their CIAG and CPD
  • Supporting at Transitions events

Below is a video of the support and approach Nicki will be taking with our students moving forward.

Visits are planned in advance and are managed by QAC’s Assistant Principal - Personal Development (AP PD), Kanchan Rajput-Goode.

The senior leader at QAC responsible for all aspects of the CIAG and wider curriculum is Jan Gormley

More information about Transitions at College can be found in this attached link.

Further details about National Careers Week (NCW) - an annual event held in March each year, can be found in this attached link.


Labour Market Information

Career guidance and labour market information (LMI) includes teaching students about:

  • Careers and future progression routes after QAC
  • Job searching, applications and interviews
  • General Further Education colleges and Universities – their courses, qualifications and entry requirements
  • Transferable skills
  • Work skills development
  • Career sectors, employers, jobs and salaries
  • Job programmes, traineeships, Supported Internships, volunteering and apprenticeships
  • Work / life balance
  • Money management

Understanding career/next steps pathways and anticipating future possibilities is vital for our students. We offer access to relevant information to assist our students in identifying their future aspirations, recognising transferable skills, exploring potential progressions, and making informed choices. Our aim is to empower students to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives as valued members of society.



Real-work opportunities are a great way to support students to develop their employability skills and to help them to learn what is expected of them in the workplace. At QAC College students can enjoy work placements in College or externally with local organisations and employers.

QAC student uses wood cutting machinery in workshop

We have a student noticeboard in College displaying job vacancies, which enables students to look at the roles that are on offer (both internally and externally) and select the ones that they feel will be most suitable for them.

Thank you to all the employers who have worked with us to offer valuable work placements to our students...

 Bear Book Shop logo        Co-op logo       Fives logo     The Albion Foundation logo         The New Art Gallery Walsall  
Open Theatre logo       Extra Care Charitable Trust logo        Harborne Baptist Church        Lench's Trust logo
Macdonald Burlington Hotel logo    Martineau Gardens logo         Cerebral Palsy West Midlands logo       QAC Community Services logo
       Birmingham Hospice logo          Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park logo          Sense logo
FITCAP logo      Newlife logo       OCS logo        Timpson logo
Are you an employer interested in working with us to provide our students with real-work opportunities?

We are always looking for work placement and volunteering opportunities for our students to provide meaningful encounters with employers and the world of work, supporting their future next steps.

If you would like to know more about QAC and explore working with us, please refer to the attached leaflet below or get in touch with John McDougall, Lead Work Placement Coordinator: 0121 809 2208 or