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The SPW Careers programme is a careers and university education, information and guidance programme which supports students to explore their university and career aspirations. It supports schools to improve their careers guidance and provides a careers programme which is bench-marked against internationally recognised standards of excellence.


SPW Careers are certainly fans of Europe and in-turn we must admit it Eurovision fans.  To celebrate, the 2024 competition we thought we’d share for free our Sweden (host country) and Switzerland (winners) Study In ..  country guides.  

Study in Sweden 2024

Study in Switzerland 2024

Our  ‘Study In’  guides form part of the SPW Careers, Studentpathways membership which offers schools both in the UK and Internationally the resources to run a successful CEIAG department.  You can find more information about Studentpathways membership or the wider support offered by SPW Careers by contacting: [email protected]


Continuing our insight into the work of SPW Careers in schools this month we explore Our work with:

Harrow School (UK):

Harrow School, located in Harrow-on-the-Hill, London, is one of the most prestigious and historic independent schools in the UK. Founded in 1572, Harrow’s rigorous academic curriculum, coupled with its emphasis on co-curricular activities and values such as leadership, integrity, and service, prepares its students for success in their future endeavours, making it a beacon of excellence in education.

SPW Careers have had the great pleasure to work with the school supporting both the 5ths (Yr. 11 / Grade 10) and L6 (Yr. 12/ Grade 11) boys with 1-1 guidance sessions.  We also supported the school revisit and rewrite parts of their Careers Education Information Advice & Guidance policy in-advance of their 2024 Independent School Inspection and had the pleasure to present to parents about the careers support offered by the school.

Feedback from 5th interviews:

Are you now clearer on the future options available to you?  99% Yes                   

Would you recommend the SPW Careers discussion to your friends? 100% Yes


‘Very informative, online report was hard to understand before I had the SPW interview.

It certainly clarified serval things regarding applications and degree subject requirements. Very useful.

The interview was great, and I was recommended lots of helpful resources.

After the follow-up I am much clearer on my future choices, and I can confidently use the information provided.

It has made me understand more about the general basis of careers and I have gained knowledge on aspects that I didn’t know much about before.

Fantastic to understand more about the options available to me for my future.

Helped in making me more confident towards future decisions and choices that I will need to make.

I thoroughly enjoyed the careers interview; it has helped me understand more about my future plans.’ 


Further insight about SPW Careers work in schools, this time we explore our work in one of our  UK schools:

Malvern College (UK):

Malvern College stands as a renowned co-educational independent school with a storied history dating back to 1865. Embracing a holistic approach to education, Malvern College fosters academic excellence, personal development, and a strong sense of community spirit. Its scenic campus, set against the backdrop of the Malvern Hills, provides an inspiring environment for students to thrive academically and socially. Malvern College empowers its students to become well-rounded individuals equipped to excel in the modern world.

SPW Careers have enjoyed working with Malvern College for a number of years. Our team of qualified and experienced career advisers see all the Hundred (Yr. 11 / Grade 10) students and new 6th form (Yr. 12 / Grade 11) for 1-1 guidance interviews, using careers psychometric profiles in supporting the process.  We also work with all the U6 (Yr. 13 / Grade 12) students in offering mock interview practice.  We have strong relationship with the school and will often offer additional advice and support throughout the academic year.


Feedback from the ‘Hundred’ 1-1’s:

Are you now clearer on the future options available to you?  100% Yes                 

Would you recommend the SPW Careers discussion to your friends? 100% Yes


“This process has provided a lot of clarity for my future – careers, university and A level/IB choices.”

“Very informative; calmed me by explaining options; helpful website; very useful study guides for UK & outside UK.”

“Particularly the talk with the adviser helped me to understand which subject choices I might want to look at and the websites seems to be very useful.”

“The follow up discussion was very thorough and helped me learn about my future options.”

“Had lots of info, made me aware of other options. Really good.”

“It made it much easier to understand how unis actually work and what I can study later on.”

“Great advice and very useful discussion; very useful to have and will definitely recommend.”

“It has helped me understand what other options I have rather than just 1 or 2 and made me think about comparing unis to see which one is right for me.”

“I didn’t know how to choose subjects for A level/IB but now I do and what subjects are needed for specific courses/careers. The talk really helped me.”


SPW Careers work in school:

The British School of Paris:

The British School of Paris, is a distinguished institution offering a British education to students from diverse cultural backgrounds. The school provides a nurturing and stimulating environment for students aged 3 to 18, with a focus on academic excellence, personal development, and global citizenship. With a rich and varied curriculum tailored to meet the needs of international students, the British School of Paris prepares its graduates for further education at top universities worldwide. Its vibrant community, supported by dedicated faculty and staff, ensures that students thrive both academically and socially, making it a respected institution within the international education landscape.

SPW Careers have a long working relationship with the British School of Paris and enjoy visiting the school twice a year when we support Yr. 11 (Grade 10) students and new 6th form (Yr. 12 / Grade 11) for 1-1 guidance interviews, using careers psychometric profiles in supporting the process.  We also return to the school in supporting all students with further 1-1’s and attend the 6th form options open evening when we have the opportunity to talk with current and future students and parents.  When not in school we have strong relationship with many of the school team and will often offer additional advice and support throughout the academic year, including providing lesson plans and an interest online questionnaire in supporting Yr. 9 (grade 8) students with their (i)GCSE option choices.


Our partnership with the school was recognised as best practice and in 2022 we received the Council of British International Schools (COBIS) supporting associate of the year award for our work in the school.


Feedback from our 1-1 guidance:

Are you now clearer on the future options available to you?  100% Yes                 

Would you recommend the SPW Careers discussion to your friends? 100% Yes


“It has given me a clearer understanding of where my strengths are and what courses I might want to take in future”.

“It has made me understand my future much more clearly. Very useful”.

“I now know more about how to pick where I want to study and what I want to study. Differences between the UK vs USA really showed me the differences in the required applications”.

“I liked the overall experience as it helped me realise and find out about many future options I have never thought about”.

“I feel that I now have a clear plan for the next 6 years of my life. I feel more confident with what I want to pursue and how I will get there”.

“The experience was great, I got to know more on my future choices and what I need to do or look out for in the future”.


SPW Careers work in School:

We wanted to give you a better insight into the work of SPW Careers in schools.  Therefore over the next year we will begin to introduce you to some of the many schools we support.  Here we start with Harrow School in Hong Kong:

Harrow School Hong Kong, was founded in 2012, it upholds Harrow’s tradition of academic excellence and character development while embracing the cultural diversity and dynamism of its host city. With a focus on holistic education, Harrow School Hong Kong offers a rigorous academic curriculum combined with a wide range of co-curricular activities to nurture well-rounded individuals.  Through its commitment to excellence and innovation, Harrow School Hong Kong prepares its students to succeed in an ever-changing global landscape.



SPW Careers have supported the work of the university/careers team in Harrow Hong Kong for several years. Until recently this involved an annual visit to the school in delivering 1-1 careers guidance interviews to students in 5th (Yr. 11 / Grade 10) through to the end of school.  Most of our work is now online as we continue to support students with careers profiling and 1-1 interviews.  The school also benefits from our continued support and resources, which include country study in guides, lesson plans, etc.


Feedback from the 1-1 guidance interviews:

Are you now clearer on the future options available to you?  100% Yes                 

Would you recommend the SPW Careers discussion to your friends? 100% Yes


“All my questions about the future & universities were answered and explained in depth. I feel more confident with my choices now. Thankyou”

“This experience has helped me realise not only the potential I have currently, but also the range of opportunities I have later in the future”.

“The follow up discussion, in my opinion, was extremely useful and extremely clear in how I should go about my career choices”.

“I think it provided a way to explore my future choices and possibilities. The test was a nice touch which helped me to see my strengths and weaknesses. The talk with the careers adviser cleared up my queries about future careers and subjects”.

“After my first interview/discussion I am now feeling a lot more confident with what I would like to do in the future. I have found the overall experience extremely useful”.

“My overall experience was really positive. I was very unsure of my future careers but with the personal report and talk it is starting to become clearer and narrow it down”.


2023 UK Career Development Awards:

It was a great honour and a wonderful night at the 2023 UK Career Development Awards hosted by the Careers Development Institute, made especially special when Mark Smith was shortlisted for Private Sector Career Adviser / Coach of the Year.  Here’s what the CDI had to say about Mark:  

Always wearing his CDI Member & Registered Professional badges, for over 23 years Mark has delivered and promoted the importance of CEIAG in numerous countries including; France, Spain, Netherlands, Hungary, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Portugal, Egypt, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Dubai and UK.

Mark is driven by how high-quality CEIAG can support young people and is passionate about promoting this in schools.  Alongside his day-to-day work in schools, Mark is an advocate of continued professional development, he researches careers practice and shares this with schools and colleagues (both UK and Internationally) producing an array of resources, including a monthly newsletter.  Mark has presented at a CDI conference, exploring the influence of parents and continues to share his knowledge, for instance Mark was the key note speaker at the Council of British International Schools (COBIS) Careers workshop day, exploring ‘Quality in careers, careers policy and guidelines and how this can be adopted internationally’.

In 2022 SPW Careers, a company formed by Mark and Colleagues were awarded runner-up in the prestigious COBIS Supporting Associate of the Year 2022 for their work in the British School of Paris.  To our knowledge the first-time careers education and guidance has been recognised.’


Connect, Reflect and Explore – Lessons from the 40th COBIS Annual Conference

Mark Smith, Director SPW Careers reflects on the 40th Annual COBIS Conference and the specific conversations around the importance of Careers, Education, Information, Advice & Guidance.

‘Parents focus on outcomes (often pathways to university) as one of the key elements why they choose which international school to send their children. Indeed, we learnt that a key element of selecting an English taught education in school is the ambition to attend an English taught university, be that in the UK, USA, Australia, etc.  Kim Lynch Business Development Manager at ISC Research also highlighted the importance to both parents and schools of ‘wellbeing’ and highlighted careers guidance / counselling as a factor within this.’  Read his thoughts here: Connect, Reflect and Explore – Lessons from the 40th COBIS Annual Conference


SPW Careers are delighted to be awarded COBIS Supporting Associate of the Year 2022 runners-up for our Careers, Education, Information, Advice & Guidance work with international schools and specifically the support offered to The British School of Paris.  Find out more about the project by clicking here:

SPW Careers have launched a new membership option for schools to support the careers programme.  StudentPathways Membership provides Helpline support for careers related questions and extensive resources from Country Guides detailing university application information around the world to lesson plans and resources. Also includes a Monthly Newsletter.

* Membership is free for interviewing schools.


SPW Careers surveyed representatives from over 40 different companies to ascertain the skills, qualities and experiences that employers look for in potential new recruits. We talked with 14 different industries, from engineering to media, oil to pharmaceuticals, law to construction, IT to healthcare and more. Companies ranged from large multi-nationals to independent start-ups, based in regions throughout the world, including the Middle East, UK, Asia, Western Europe, Australia and the USA, making this a truly global piece of research.

Key findings included:

  • Communication was ranked as the number 1 skill by 44% of participants
  • Teamwork/interpersonal skills was ranked number 1 by 33%
  • Other skills which were strongly represented in the top 5 include: Problem Solving, Planning & Organising, Adaptability & Flexibility and Investigating & Analysing

The clear message was that, irrespective of the industry or location, being able to work well, and engage with other people is crucial in every role.

The research also provided very interesting insights into degree subject preferences employers may have, views on extra-curricular & work experience, and also advice to students on other things that influence employer recruitment decisions.

Please email [email protected] for a copy of the full report and to find out more on how we can support schools throughout the world in delivering innovative and engaging workshops on this, and many other careers and university related topics.



The eight Gatsby benchmarks are a framework for good careers guidance which were developed in the UK to support schools in providing their students with the best possible careers education, information, advice and guidance. Many see these benchmarks as demonstrating good practice in their schools and reassuring parents, governors and inspectors that they offer the highest level of careers support to their students.

We are pleased to say that the mix of support available from the SPW Careers programme helps schools meet all eight Gatsby benchmarks.  SPW Careers also offers support in gaining recognised awards and qualifications that demonstrate schools are meeting the Gatsby benchmarks:

  1. A stable careers programme.
  2. Learning from career and labour market information.
  3. Addressing the needs of each pupil.
  4. Linking curriculum learning to careers.
  5. Encounters with employers and employees.
  6. Experience of workplaces.
  7. Encounters with further and higher education.
  8. Personal guidance.