Careers Education – Pathway to Employment

Our vision is that through our unique and highly regarded ‘Pathway to Employment’, we will:

“Increase the possibility and probability paid employment for our pupils”

Pathway to Employment Film 2016 (no subtitles) from Brookfields School on Vimeo.


Our unique Careers Education Programme (Pathway to Employment) has been recognised by The Careers Development Institute (CDi) as an outstanding example of an innovative Careers Education Programme in a Special School. We have been awarded their ‘Best Practice in a Special Education and Employer Engagement‘.We are honored and proud to have been awarded this prestigious accolade as it endorses our work to date and our commitment to raise aspirations of young people, their families and employers in supporting learners’ journeys from education into the world of work.

Through our innovative and highly regarded ‘Pathway to Employment’, the established partnerships we have with independent Careers Education providers and local businesses, we have achieved some significant outcomes for young people with learning difficulties and additional needs, enabling them to secure full time paid employment.

Pathway to Employment

Through the schools Person Centred approach to planning, pupils are able to articulate their dreams and aspirations for their futures and adult life. For some pupils, their clear aspiration is to enter the world of work. To support this goal, we have created a unique and highly regarded ‘Pathway to Employment’.

Our Pathway to Employment consists of 5 distinct but related strands:

  • Way2Work (Careers at Every Level) Careers Education lesson
  • Work Related Learning
  • Business Enterprise programmes
  • Work Based Experience
  • Supported Internships

All strands are designed to increase the the possibility and probability of paid employment. By engaging with over 65+ small, medium and large Ottiliebusinesses, families and HR departments, the young people at Brookfields School have a real chance of achieving their dreams of paid work.

Many employers are reluctant to take on someone with a learning difficulty because they do not know enough about the benefits of employing someone with special needs, or how to get the right support for them.

Brookfields School has a track record of supporting businesses and young people with learning difficulties into paid employment. The businesses which have supported our students on Work Based Experiences or have employed them to be part of their work force, have said that they make highly valued employees.

We believe more employers should be encouraged to support and employ people with a learning disability.

Brookfields School has worked in partnership with a local Careers Education company, Talentino!, who are a niche career developmentTalentino!TM Logo organisation. Together, we have created a bespoke Careers Development programme for young people with learning difficulties and additional needs who aspire to enter the world of work. This programme is based on Talentino’s innovative Careers programme designed specifically for mainstream schools and colleges called “Careers at Every Level”. The pupils have called our programme “Way2Work”.

The majority of students will need to access Job Coaching and Supported Employment. In addition to having our own Job Coaches, we work in partnership with Ways into Work who are a Supported Employment service with an outstanding reputation in supporting young people with learning difficulties into paid employment. Through Brookfields Employers network lunchthese partnerships and our Vocational Profiling, we can aim that our students’ transition from eduction into the world of work is successful and seamless.

Our ‘Way2Work’ programme teaches pupils the skills, knowledge and understanding they will need to work as well as offering individualised support and guidance to position them for the best chance of paid employment.


The Big Picture

  • 1:20 children in the UK are ‘disabled’
  • 6.7 million disabled people in the UK are of working age
  • 50% are in work compared with 80% non-disabled people
  • 1.3 million people who are disabled want to work but don’t
  • 65% of adults with learning difficulties want a paid job but only 6% do
  • 25% of people with a disability have no qualification compared to 9% non-disabled people

The average hourly rate of pay for people with a disability is 10% lower than non-disabled people
If the unemployment rates were the same for people with a disability and those who are non-disabled, the economy would lift by £13 billion

The Local Picture

  • The total number of young people with a learning difficulty aged 16-24 in Slough, Bracknell, Wokingham, Reading and Newbury WORK EXPERIENCE Alokis 2352
  • 171 are in full time paid employment 7.2%
  • 961 are in education 40.8%

Through Pathway to Employment, pupils can expect to:

  • Develop a Personal Career Development Plan
  • Develop a CV which employers can easily understand and one which is not purely based on qualifications
  • Engaged in individually planned and supported Work Experience, which suits the pupil and their interests
  • Participate in a co-collaboration/enterprise project in a way that suits them including working with mainstream pupils from other schools
  • Complete activities which will differentiate them positively on heir CV’s and which will support their employment aspirations
  • Benefit from weekly ‘job skills’ lessons using the resources and materials from our Careers at Every Level programme
  • Participate in a 5 year tracking exercise

As one of the local businesses said about a student on Work Experience:

“He was a joy to have working with us. He worked well as one of the team and reliably completed all the tasks we set him with enthusiasm and a big smile. We would love to have him back”

Simon worked in the stores workshop, office and the shop floor and Pupil learning about workproved himself to be a very willing and able assistant. He is a fantastic ambassador for Brookfields School”
(Reading Buses, Manager)

“As a result of Philip coming to work with us I have noticed an increases staff moral and the motivation of our employees”
(Fielders Farm Shop)

“Providing a work placement for a young person requires hard work and commitment from an employer, but can be both rewarding and good fun!”
(Manager, Pets at Home)

“Sebastian has been an absolute pleasure to work with. He was always eager to start work and when given jobs he would finish them quickly and to a good standard. He got on really well with the team and was great at conversation; however this could sometimes distract him from the task at hand. But with a subtle reminder he would get back to his task and when finished always ask what else he could do”
(Food Kick, Owner)

We are committed to increasing the possibility and probability of paid work for young people with learning difficulties.

Meeting the Gatsby Benchmarks

The eight Gatsby benchmarks of Good Career Guidance

1. A stable careers programme
2. Learning from career and labour market information
3. Addressing the needs of each pupil
4. Linking curriculum learning to careers
5. Encounters with employers and employees
6. Experiences of workplaces
7. Encounters with further and higher education
8. Personal guidance

Brookfields School has worked with Talentino! supporting the production of ‘The SEND Gatsby Benchmarking Toolkit‘ which give practical information and guidance to SEN schools on how to use the Gatsby Benchmarks to to ensure that schools provide a robust Careers Education programme. Click on the link below to access the document

The SEND Gatsby Benchmark Toolkit 2018

Please clink on the link below to find out how Brookfields School’s Careers Education programme meets the Gatsby Benchmarks

Meeting the Gatsby Benchmarks – March 2018

Careers Guidance and Access for Education and Training Providers 

At Brookfields School we work in partnership with a range of providers who support our pupils in their preperation for life after Brookfields School whether that be into the world of work, further education of supported living. We welcome providers of Education and Training to make contact with us to explore how they might be able to support our learners and their families in planning for the future.

At the bottom of this page, you can access our ‘School Access Policy’

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact the school on 0118 942 1382

Continuing Professional Development

We were thrilled to be asked by Career Enterprise Company to share with them our knowledge and experience in developing a bespoke Careers Education pathway for young people with learning difficulties and additional needs. We have been able to represent the voice of Special Schools on this very important training the Careers Enterprise Company have developed.

We know how difficult it can be for staff to take time out of school or college to complete CPD, so in partnership with Teach First The Careers and Enterprise Company have now also developed an online, 12-hour self-guided training programme which covers all aspects of the Careers Leader role.

The course is free and is designed for all Careers Leaders or those working with Careers Leaders including headteachers, governors and careers support staff.  We have worked hard to make sure the training works for Careers Leaders in a range of settings, whether that is secondary schools, colleges or special schools, with bespoke content for each.

Please help us ensure as many people as possible benefit, by encouraging the Careers Leaders in schools and college you work with to take advantage of this free development opportunity

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For more details about Talentino!,
click here

You may be interested in reading this article The struggle to find work when you have Down’s syndrome”

If you would like to find out more about the programme and how it might be used in your setting, please contact Maurice George, Careers Education Lead on 0118 942 1382

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