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Gatsby Benchmark 5: Encounters with employers and employees

Every pupil should have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace.

Here you will find links and resources to support encounters with employers and employees

Ask the school's Careers Leader, Enterprise Adviser and Enterprise Coordinator for introductions to local employers and employees. Alternatively, these organisations all facilitate employer encounters:

  • Schools can find STEM Ambassadors through STEM learning, a free resource for teachers to bring STEM subjects to life and link to careers.
  • Founders4Schools Connecting schools v with local business leaders – teachers can choose the type of encounter, and can also filter by volunteer’s curriculum expertise, industry, gender, or size and growth of company.
  • Inspiring the Future Connects teachers with thousands of volunteers across the UK, from a huge range of jobs, at all levels, from apprentices to CEOs.
  • Speakers4Schools Charity offering free talks in secondary schools by inspiring leaders in government, business, sport, technology, science and the arts, giving their insights, experience and expertise on their field of work.

Use school trips for students to meet employees. For example, if the students are going on a drama trip, you could ask the students to identify job roles in theatre and prepare questions to ask theatre employees about their career journeys.

What employer-led activities work well?

  • Use these three lesson plans, recommended by the Careers and Enterprise Company, to deliver employer engagement in the classroom.
  • The Careers Development Institute has a toolkit for planning your employer encounters.  
  • Extensive free resources from BarclaysLifeSkills for employers and schools to use with young people to help them to understand and develop the key skills they need to go forward into work.  

More ideas to bring employers and students together:

  • Have students meet school alumniFuture First can organise this for schools.
  • Creative Cafés are dynamic half-day events where students meet diverse employers in an informal café-style setting. Structured around a series of tasks, with 6-10 young people per employer, students engage with all the employers through short 5-minute ‘speed dating’ conversations or tasks, before electing to join two employers to do a half hour practical challenge.  Culture Shift can help you to set this up.
  • Open Doors Programme allows students to meet with employers and the workforce, whilst exploring what a workplace might actually look like! Find out more with

  • Work experience happens throughout the year. If you are interested in providing work experience, please contact
  • Careers Talks are a great way for business people to share their careers experience with pupils. Young people love to hear  stories about the different routes employers have taken to success.
  • Networking with employers helps young people become more confident talking to adults, by having quick fire conversations and answering employability questions. Students are taught skills such as eye contact, speaking up, and how to perfect the handshake.
  • Mock Interviews involve a short 1-2-1 conversation between employers and learners, similar to a job interview.  Schools will supply employers with suggested questions and employers can give feedback and coaching.  
  • Careers days or careers fairs can take many forms. Schools often ask employers to have a stand, with interactive activities to promote their business in an eye-catching way. Talk to students to give them ideas on what they can do in their future - whether they are going to university, apprenticeship or straight into employment.
  • The Hastings Opportunity Day 2019 featured employer-led activities that were showcased in a range of venues across Hastings - plenty of ideas to inspire you: 

The iCan Bespoke Careers Event

The East Sussex Careers Hub runs an annual Careers Event to support positive career pathways for young people with SEND.

Find out more below:

Here are some resources for staff members:

Handbook for young people to complete on the day (2020)

Event Preparatory Lesson Plan (2020)

Event Checklist for organising your own event 

Floorplan and Overview (iCan 2020)

Powerpoint on how to run your own 'Inclusive Careers Event' (July 2020)


If you would like further information or would like to be involved in iCan 2021 please email :



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