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Opinion21st December 2022

Supporting Ark’s ambitious and talented students

Our Sixth Form and Destinations team helps our students to achieve the results they need for the university or career of their choice. They work with partners to give students access to incredible resources and organise conferences, webinars and workshops.

Sarah Taunton, our Head of Programmes, shares what the team has been up to this term and their exciting plans for 2023.

Illuminate winners

We are ecstatic that all four of this year’s Aga Khan Foundation Illuminate Prize winners came from Ark John Keats and Ark Academy! After attending a university-style lecture from top academics, students submitted multimedia essays on climate crisis and mitigation. The winners received cash prizes of up to £750, mentoring on their UCAS application from academics at Oxford and Edinburgh, and life-long access to the library and resources at the Aga Khan Foundation.

Professional Pathway events

This term, more than 650 Year 12 and Year 13 Professional Pathway students attended events that gave them valuable insight into their potential careers:

Year 12 Business and IT students attended a conference with our partners at the Hilton Wembley, where sessions focussed on supporting students settle into the sixth form and set themselves up for success during their course. One Ark Walworth student said the best part of the day was “Knowing more about goals and obstacles and how to overcome these.”

Year 12 Applied Science and Sport and Exercise students went to the University College of Osteopathy, hearing directly from experts who’ve worked with David Beckham, Joe Wicks and performers in the West End’s Lion King. An Ark Academy student said “the demonstrations from the Osteopaths helped to improve my understanding.”

Year 13 Applied Science students were at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) to learn about apprenticeships and career routes at NPL and careers in STEM.

Year 13 IT students attended a conference co-hosted with the Young Adult Tech Foundation learning about careers in Big Data, Cloud and Cyber Security from professionals at Red Hat and Sparta Global.

New partnerships

In September, we launched the Ark-approved careers platform,  Unifrog, which helps students select, secure and succeed in the best-fit destination of their choice. Unifrog will track student engagement with different career pathways and support our schools in meeting all of the Gatsby Benchmarks thoroughly and meaningfully.

Oxbridge support

This year, 90 Ark students applied to Oxbridge. We worked with Selwyn College, Cambridge and Jesus College, Oxford, to prepare them for admissions tests and personal statements. Working with partners like Bain, Marshall Wace and McKinsey, we arranged a mock interview for each applicant. Over 50 volunteers conducted the mock interviews, each of whom had studied the subject the student was applying for.  All interviews have now taken place, and students will hear back between January and February.

Plans for 2023

Our next series of Professional Pathways conferences will take place in February and March. Business students will visit EY’s offices in Canary Wharf and IT students will visit Royal Holloway, University of London, to learn more about future pathways.

We will continue to work with our schools so that they can best support all of their students applying to university. We will host a medical careers fair and training day

as well as events throughout the year with our partners at Oxford and Cambridge, focused on making an application for those institutions. After a successful apprenticeship fair in November, with over 100 students going to JustEat’s Farringdon offices, we will host a second fair in the Spring. Partners like Dartmouth and Hilton will present various apprenticeship opportunities and students will have an opportunity to practice multiple assessment centre tasks.

Thank you to our partners

We couldn’t do this work without the support of our partners. Don’t hesitate to contact Emma Thomson, our Education Partnerships Manager, if you want to discuss partnering with us and supporting our students.