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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.

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.