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.

How to organise encounters with employers and employees

Ask your school's Careers Leader, Enterprise Adviser or East Sussex Careers Hub to introduce your school or college to local employers and employees.

Several national organisations also facilitate employer encounters:

Employer and employee encounters during Covid-19

During social distancing, students can still experience employer and employee encounters via live or recorded videos. Videos of East Sussex people talking about their jobs can be found at Get Career Confident, Culture Shift and via the East Sussex County Council YouTube channel on the Careers Hub playlist. Nationally, iCould and BBC Bitesize Careers present a wide range of films by careers subject and job type.

To 'count' for Gatsby 5, the virtual activities must have (i) evidence that the student actively participated (ii) defined learning outcomes, based on the age and needs of students (iii) two-way interaction between students and employers/employees.

To achieve two-way interaction, add a Q&A with the employer/employee. You can have the employer 'visit' the classroom via MS Teams or Zoom, projecting the meeting onto a screen. If your school doesn't permit live digital encounters, the Q&A can be via email between the Careers Leader and the employer.  Alternatively, have the employer set the students a task to complete, individually or in groups, providing feedback. Or ask several employers to provide mock interview practice by phone, with appropriate safeguarding processes in place.

Teaching resources to accompany employer videos

Student worksheet for any video

Student worksheet for Careers Hub video

Lesson plan for any video

Lesson plan for Careers Hub video

Face-to-face employer and employee encounters

  • Have students meet school alumniFuture First can organise this for schools.
  • Creative Cafés enable students to meet diverse employers informally and sample a selection of work-related tasks. Culture Shift can help you to set this up.
  • Open Doors Programme allows students to tour the workplace. Find out more from

  • Work experience happens throughout the year. If you are interested in providing work experience, please contact
  • Careers Talks in assemblies, in class or online, via live or recorded video.
  • Networking with employers helps young people become more confident talking to adults, by having quick fire conversations and answering employability questions. 
  • Mock Interviews Schools will supply employers with suggested questions and employers can give feedback and coaching.  
  • Careers days or careers fairs Schools like employers to have a stand, with interactive activities to promote their business in an eye-catching way. 
  • Use school trips to promote employee encounters, by having students prepare questions to ask people in different job roles and share their learning afterwards.

Good practice examples of employer encounters

  • 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: 
  • iCan is an annual bespoke event that supports positive career pathways for young people with SEND. Find out more below:


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