Careers Education

Providing students with an understanding of the world of work and to gain knowledge and skills.

Understanding of the world of work

Employability (including work experience) provides students with an understanding of the world of work and to gain knowledge, skills and understanding to achieve, wherever possible, work-related post- Ascent destinations.

Ascent Specialist College complies with the Gatsby Benchmarks and provides a robust and high-quality framework for employability guidance.

We recognise that we have embarked on a journey to excellence in employability guidance.

Whilst all the Benchmarks are important we place particular value on gaining experiences in the workplace and employer encounters, which have historically presented additional barriers to students with autism.

We are currently re-developing our Employability/Careers Programme.

For any information you need in the meantime please contact our staff lead.

Employability – Big Idea

  • A curriculum which meets statutory requirements and prepares students for external accreditation.
  • Inspire a curiosity and fascination about the world of world and links with personal goals and aspirations
  • A curriculum with links to real life context for students to help with their ability to understand employability options such as supported internships or volunteering.
  • A program of study that is based on an enquiry approach: What is this job like? How do I feel about it? What aspects do I/don’t I like, and why? What is my pathway? How can I achieve my employability goals?

The development of key employability skills such as timekeeping; following health and safety guidelines; responsibilities in the workplace; teamwork and communication.

Subject Links

  • ICT e.g. photography, video or audio clips relating to businesses and job opportunities;
  • English- preparation for work e.g. C.V. writing.


  • Each unit/aspect broken down to mini steps. Allows student to develop both a breadth and depth of knowledge.
  • Curriculum can be personalised to the individual and allow them to pick up from where they left off.
  • This also allows misconceptions to be addressed and deep learning to take place as students, particularly those with autism, may have difficulty generalising.

A system of assessment for learning that builds from experiential to support to independence.


Content and Sequencing

  • Links to real life context for students to develop their understanding of the skills and behaviours that are required in the workplace.
  • Specified autism impact identified in all units.
  • Students have access to impartial employability advice with provider access to school to discuss potential courses and apprenticeships.
  • Students able to make progress with units across different stages linked wherever possible.
  • Students in same class can be set appropriately challenging targets within the same broad subject area.
  • Flexible approach taken by staff to ensure appropriate level of challenge to engage, inspire and motivate all students regardless of current ability.
  • Students baselined according to assessments of previous knowledge at the beginning of topics, alongside previous levels of progress and teacher judgement.
  • Flexible approach taken by staff to ensure appropriate level of challenge to engage, inspire and motivate all students regardless of current ability.
  • Enables content to be different but skills can be constantly refined and built upon.

Our Setting

  • Lessons delivered by autism professionals.
  • EHCP outcomes placed at the centre of all learning.
  • Flexible and dynamic approach allows teacher to meet the needs of all students without the restriction of having to get through the curriculum.
  • Established practice, proven to work in research, lived and breathed everyday by all staff i.e. use of routines, visuals, pecs, TEACCH
  • Support available from wider therapy team.


  • Careers Connect partnership working.
  • Working towards Careers Quality Standard.
  • National Curriculum available to all staff.
  • Continuous review of other suitable resources e.g. Equals.
  • N.W. Learning Partnership membership to develop wider professional networks. Development of links with local mainstream schools.
  • Ongoing CPD opportunities to develop both subject and autism specificity skills and knowledge of staff at all levels.
  • Part of natspec for professional forums and training

Career guidance

The Careers Education Information Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) Lead is Steve Hogarth who works closely with the Ascent College staff and students.

Careers learning centres on working with our partners to enable our students to understand themselves, obtain information, explore opportunities and develop the skills they need to manage their own development and make life choices and decisions about their future. Student destinations range from supported living options, supported internships to full-time jobs or Higher Education. These life choices benefit their own mental health and wellbeing and contribute to the wellbeing of others.

Students complete a personal vocational profile as they focus more on action planning and breaking down the barriers to future positive outcomes that include employment. Students use vocational profiles, skills audits, advice and guidance (internal and external through Careers Connect), talking mats, communication aids, PECS, Makaton to identify options available to them.

Regular student tutorials are timetabled and incorporate impartial advice from Career Connect Advisers.

Ascent College’s robust employability/careers programme (including work experience) provides our young adults with an understanding of the world of work and empowers them to gain the knowledge, skills, understanding and most importantly the resilience to achieve (wherever possible) work-related post-college destinations.

Breaking down the barriers to employment

Ascent College strives to ensure that every young person is inspired and prepared for the world of work. Students achieve this through the provision of taster opportunities and bespoke visits to local employers/businesses, work experience, enterprise education, independent travel training, access to leavers who act as role models and inspiring speakers.

Our robust employability/careers programme (including work experience) provides our young adults with an understanding of the world of work and empowers them to gain the knowledge, skills, understanding and most importantly the resilience to achieve (wherever possible) work-related post-college destinations.

Ascent College breaks down the barriers to accessing work through its excellent collaborative partnerships with local businesses and community groups. All students take part in real-life work experience opportunities and work towards identified personalised accreditation outcomes within their programme that will develop the skills needed for progression onto identified ambitious post-college destinations.

Embracing a diverse range of partners from all occupational areas helps us share an understanding and knowledge of autistic young adults, benefiting all parties by breaking down barriers to employment, reducing students’ vulnerability and increasing their resilience.

Working in collaboration with our stakeholders

We nurture stakeholders through student run Business Breakfasts at our newly established Lyme and Wood Learning Hub, which was developed in collaboration with Enovert Waste Management Company- tasked with the upkeep of the park. This is home to our Pre-Loved Project where students learn new sustainability skills and sell recycled goods, front sustainability workshops and run their own café. Students in the college also run a print shop that creates bespoke t shirts and mugs in the main.

Our CEIAG Lead has developed a bespoke forestry curriculum with the Mersey Forest Team, which embraces the local Labour Market Information. This empowered students to work closely with Enovert/Mersey Forest to maintain this local park and another independent site at Colliers Moss and achieve their individual accredited qualification and Recognising And Recording Progress and Achievement (RARPA) targets (RARPA benefits our Preparation for Learning pathways). Placements have included forestry, horticulture, ecology, construction and photography.

The CEIAG Lead is also member of the Mersey Forest Advisory Group which recognises the importance of our expertise in SEND/inclusivity to their Strategic Planning, allowing for the sustainable development of student work placements/supported internships and potential countryside management/ecological jobs.

Collaboration with our Liverpool City Regional Hub Business Enterprise Coordinator has initiated work placements with regional businesses such as Galliford Try. Gallifords supported our Social Media Group enabling students to learn about the construction industry and also offered a work placement to one student who was keen to watch the development of a local school through regular site visits.

This group also released a vlog about the needs of autistic employees but staff also provide bespoke therapy and educational training for all community stakeholders. This is on the Wargrave You Tube account:

Another well-established community partnership with Earlestown Cricket Club involves the joint development of the club grounds and a sensory garden that has proved popular in maintaining community well-being. Students have developed raised beds as part of a joint market gardening project to grow vegetables for the food bank. Club members utilize their expertise to support construction and horticultural work and are conversant with communication aids such as Proloquo2Go and Makaton.

Our partners

Other partnership placements include:

    • hospitality at the local Mercure Hotel (Haydock) and Holiday Inn (Wigan)
    • managing and maintaining a bespoke landfill country park at Lyme and Wood Country Park with Enovert for the benefit of local people
    • animal management at a local farm
    • the RSPCA
    • Little Bears Day Nursery
    • habitat management with local rangers
    • working with the Hope Centre Foodbank
    • hospitality at Haydock Races with the Jockey Club
    • developing circus skills with ‘Stiklings’ and building on their employability skills

particularly following health and safety protocol and making dynamic risk assessments

  • developing communication skills, social interaction and flexibility by serving customers in community centres (e.g. Newton family and Community Centre) and charity shops.


‘Alumni’ students now regularly attend the Ascent coffee mornings where they informally pass on their personal work/college experiences, guidance and advice to our current students. These coffee mornings are organised and staffed by students as part of their Open Awards, Skills for Learning and Employment (SFLE) qualifications (see Cosy Corner Cafe).
Ascent students embarked on a new venture in 2021 by opening an onsite weekly café. All staff/students/learners throughout the organisation (5-25) have access to this. The weekly café is open once a week to all staff and students and has created a hub of positive energy.

Parents and Professionals

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