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Larkmead School win School Award at the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards

The Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards recognised the best talent in the county with a special presentation evening on Tuesday 24th April 2018 in the beautiful setting of The Orangery at Blenheim Palace.

In addition to celebrating the achievements of the county’s Apprentices, the Awards also recognised schools, who play a crucial role in inspiring people to consider and start an Apprenticeship, as well as training providers, who support and guide them through the programme.

The School Award was won by Larkmead School. The Award was presented by Lindsey Young of sponsor Clarkson Evans, who commended the school for its joined-up strategy for careers advice generally and its forward-thinking approach to the promotion of Apprenticeships.

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At Larkmead, Apprenticeships are profiled as high as any learning pathway and Careers Lead Claire Christiansen provides students with regular information about opportunities, as well as organising a range of events and activities to enable students to interact with Apprentices and their employers.

The school has engaged a group of Year 11-13 students to act as Career Champions to support Claire with planning and running events. These students speak to their peers then feed back on what they’d like to see happen, which helps the school keep events relevant and targeted at the right level.

Elaine Hodgin, Head of Sales & Marketing at Clarkson Evans said: “The proactive way in which Larkmead School consults students about the information they wish to receive about careers and Apprenticeships is stand out. The Career Champion that I met was informed and motivated to play her part in helping younger students get advice on careers and I can imagine she would have great credibility amongst her peers. The link governor for careers at the school seemed really engaged with the process and took their responsibilities seriously and I felt that careers advice was valued at all levels in the school.”

“The Career Champion concept means that Claire can spread herself more widely and allow more students to access her expertise. I was particularly impressed to hear how Claire had supported a young student who felt the school’s sixth form was not for her after completing Year 12 and instead secured an Apprenticeship at Stagecoach. Claire appeared to take a very forward-thinking approach to this issue, even though it would mean that there was one less sixth-former for Year 13 as a result of the student changing her mind about studying for A Levels.”

The school have seen a rise in the number of enquiries about Apprenticeships and a change in attitude towards them from both students and their families.

Claire Christiansen, Careers Lead said: “I’m really proud we have won this award as I feel it gives all the team at Larkmead recognition for all the work we do to prepare and support students for their career pathway planning. We try to offer a wide range of activities to engage students across the board, we also have a team of student Career Champions who inform and support the work we do.”

In addition to a trophy in recognition of their achievements, sponsor Clarkson Evans also awarded Larkmead School £200 and a visit to their centre in Oxford for a group of students to find out first-hand about Electrical Apprenticeships with the firm.

Congratulations also go to Highly Commended schools Icknield Community College - who were praised for the passion and enthusiasm of staff for Apprenticeships and the cascading of Apprenticeship information to parents and students - and UTC Oxfordshire – who were recognised for their strong industry links and the way that Apprenticeship destinations are celebrated publicly and not viewed as second best to university.