Client spotlight
How one academy supports its students in discovering alternative pathways to work

Fairfax Academy

West Midlands


About Our Customer

Fairfax Academy, part of Fairfax Multi Academy Trust, has strong values built around hard work and opportunity.

They are committed to ensuring that every student has the opportunity to participate in activities that develop them as a person and encourage them to leave high school proud of the young adult they have become.

Exploring alternative pathways to work

Ensuring we provide careers education and guidance software that inspires students to explore all pathways is very important to us. So, we were excited to hear about this truly inspirational story from Fairfax Academy, one of our long-standing customers.

This is the story of two students who discovered an alternative path. They did this thanks to support from their fantastic Careers Adviser, Pauline Knowles, their school’s annual careers fair, and Kudos.

Hi Pauline! You’ve made it your life’s work to support and guide students along their chosen career pathways. What is it about the story of these two students that stands out for you?

‘We find Kudos inspires our students to discover new ideas, especially when it comes to exploring academic and vocational pathways. It delivers multiple career routes that help the students make informed decisions and prepare them for real-life work and future readiness.

For example, let me tell you about Tom and Harry.

Two years ago Tom was a student at Fairfax Academy wondering what his options were after Year 11. He was struggling to decide whether his path would be sixth form, college, or an apprenticeship.

Tom attended our careers fair and happened to hear a former student, Harry, speaking about his experience as an apprentice. Harry was working towards an apprenticeship in Quantity Surveying with Barratt Homes and had returned to Fairfax to promote his love of apprenticeships, especially within the construction industry.

After listening to Harry’s talk, Tom became inspired by the variety of the job. He liked the idea that he would not be contained in an office 24/7 but was able to mix on-site work, university lectures and general administrative tasks in the office as and when needed. Tom loved maths, and was looking forward to the idea of using figures in his job role, as well as being able to work with others and being mobile. This truly seemed the perfect career for him.’

How important do you think it is for students to make that tangible connection between their skills and interests and the real world, their futures?

‘We’ve used Kudos to support our careers education policy at Fairfax for over a decade so we always encourage students to explore careers in more detail following encounters with businesses at our careers fair. Students use the Apprenticeship feature in Kudos to explore options both locally and nationally to help them narrow down their options for pursuing an apprenticeship within an industry of their choice.  

Tom was looking for a company that would be willing to take him on as an apprentice after Year 11. After leaving school, that summer Tom joined Persimmon Homes. He has been with them now for about 18 months and loves the work; Tom will be qualified through the apprenticeship route in another four years.’

‘Although slightly longer in length than through the traditional route of a university, both former students will have a wealth of experience under their belts with the added bonus of no university debts.’

What would you say to another school or college thinking about using careers guidance software to support the delivery of their career education policy?

‘It is crucial that students are fully informed of all the options available to them. With hundreds of career profiles and a focus on linking skills to possible career paths, Kudos makes it possible for our students to properly explore their options, and it makes it easier on my colleagues and I because we don’t have to aggregate that information for them. Kudos provides us with a whole-school approach to our careers education programme.

Students can research how the subjects they are studying relate to ‘real world’ careers, which leaves them excited about their future.

Plus, our annual career fair enables students to see the different types of provision all under one roof. It’s such a positive experience for everyone involved. Students experience that critical link between their education and their future. They feel inspired and excited about then using Kudos to help them explore their future career options further.

Our aim at Fairfax Academy is to offer choice to our pupils and ensure they make a well-informed realistic decision for their future – with Kudos, we’re delivering an impartial careers programme that’s personalised to suit each student’s need.’

Anything you’d like to add?

‘We’re delighted for both Harry and Tom and wish them every success in the future.’

We couldn’t agree more, Pauline.