Employability Skills Development

Aspirations Employability Diploma in Year 12

Aspirations Academy schools are all providing innovative and inspirational lessons designed to engage pupils and develop all students’ employability skills. All Year 12 students, across the campus, are very fortunate to have an exciting opportunity to work in their AED sessions on projects with real world focus and links to local businesses. The aim is to develop skills required for success in today’s global world such as time management, project management, teamwork, leadership, communications, critical thinking and presentations skills. We hope to provide students with a broad experience of the changing world of work and allow them to develop innovation and entrepreneurship.

Local businesses and industry will be invited in to collaborate with us on topics such as project management, teamwork and ideation. There will be an introductory project on The Modern Workplace and then 4 further projects focussing on the employment sectors of Education, Engineering and Health. We have already started working on the first project for 2021 to 2022, which has an Engineering focus. Students are working with Jaguar Land Rover on an investigative question that is either a problem to solve or an opportunity to exploit. Students will be mentored by Jaguar Land Rover across the project and will present in December 2021. The new project in January will be focused on environmental education with the WRAP charity.

By the end of the year each student will have compiled an individual employability portfolio charting their development in 21st century skills and their links to business and industry. They will have a viva to be awarded their diploma.

AED will involve:

  • Termly projects
  • Working in teams with input from skilled professionals
  • Research and fieldwork, synthesis and reflection
  • Development of Employability skills


  • Jaguar Land Rover
    Engineering project
  • WRAP
    Charity and Education project
  • Rebecca Mileham
    Author and writer specialising in science, technology, heritage and culture.


  • London Interdisciplinary School, a new university that has introduced a  Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Interdisciplinary Problems & Methods, the first undergraduate degree of its kind in the UK.
  • Ms Parnell, director of Enterprise Strategy, Agile and Devops for Fujitsu
  • Yinch Yeap from Playko
  • Hannah Wilson from Diverse Ed
  • Dr Heather Loosemore, Director of Estates at Coventry University and a member of the Association of University Engineers
  • Dr Elinor Japp, Program director for dental foundation training in Cambridgeshire


  • Collins Aerospace
    Financial modelling of the business case for attending university
  • McLaren at Castle Quay
    Site tour and links to project managers and draftsmen
  • Secret Nicky’s Frozen Custard
    Explanation of the life of an entrepreneur

Some of the achievements of 2018/19

  • Aston Martin
    To design an electric car.
  • Playko
    To design interactive group team work games.
  • UTC Aerospace
    To design a test rig loading device. To work on design and costing software to produce a presentation to senior staff.
  • Oxfordshire Community Foundation
    To set up a regular opportunity for several generations to get together and socialise.
  • Hook Norton Brewery
    To produce a video of the brewing process.
  • Metaverse
    To develop an augmented reality (AR) game



(AEP/ATL is now renamed as AED)

‘It was a pleasure to work again with the students at Banbury Campus. The Sixth Form are enthusiastic, engaged and mature in their approach to all aspects of their project. I am confident they will be a huge success in whatever they choose to do.’

‘Supporting the AEP at the local school in Banbury was a really positive experience for myself and colleagues at the Banbury site as well as the students volunteered to work with us.

It was refreshing to work with the bright young minds of the students and for them to discover new ideas and solutions to the issues with a fresh perspective. Giving the students a tour of the factory so they could see the processes we had in real life really helped them understand the challenge we had set.

At the end of the 10 week project we were fortunate enough to see the team present their work. This included potential design solutions where they explained not only the advantages of their designs, but were also critical of their designs which, I thought, demonstrated a level of maturity and awareness which was both surprising and welcome to see.’

The students’ ideas, enthusiasm and hard work have helped us shape our food festival project into a stronger and more interactive event, with the potential to attract a large and diverse audience.’
The Big Feed festival team

I thoroughly enjoyed bringing engineering to life with the Banbury Aspirations Academy employability portfolio scheme. The experience took students, school staff, my colleagues and myself out of our comfort zones during the 10 week period as the project developed from a design brief to the final presentation day. The school visit allowed our site team to demonstrate a more dynamic side to their talents as we safely demonstrated the day to day workings of a modern construction site to the school visitors. In return, the students through the final presentations presented us with several very viable ideas that we at BAM Nuttall Ltd had never even considered as options for the design brief.

The Apprenticeship & Training Company worked alongside Yr 12 students on the ATL project  from January to March 2018. We were really impressed by the maturity and work ethic of the team of students. They put together a very comprehensive Construction Careers Event for the year 10 and 11 students in the school and welcomed external organisations to present a range of workshops and talks. Their level of professionalism and attention to detail would not have been out of place in a real work setting and they should be very proud of themselves for what they have achieved. It is clear that they have excellent support from the staff; Lucy Sterland and Lauren Willett and we thoroughly enjoyed working alongside you all.


At the regional AEP final in June 2019, Year 12 pupils presented to Head of Sixth Form and several employer clients their six-week project. Their work included designs for the future for Aston Martin, a VR game developed for Playko, plans for the teaching space outside Space Studio (now Futures Institute), a cost analysis of a process for Collins Aerospace, establishing a sustainable charitable organisation for Uniting Generations and developing awareness of the impact of litter on the planet.

The employers and staff were all impressed by the students’ presentations and their innovation and application.


The ecology focussed team completed three projects in the year. The first involved planning hundreds of trees on the school site. In the second they really appreciated time in William Morris Primary School, teaching the year 4/5 class how to be more eco-friendly in an effort to save the bees. As their leader, Kelly said “We were so happy that the children were engaged and enjoyed planting the oregano, while some also made puns on how the project will “bee awesome”. The children were active and we hope that our project will influence them to be more eco-friendly in the future. Kelly and her team have been asked to keep coming back to William Morris School. Their final project started with The Canal Trust as their employer contact but finished with the Earth as their client. They started saving our waterways from plastic and ended up with a call to save the oceans.

A group of students competed in the Aspirations AEP final in London against 5 other Aspirations academies in December 2018. As regional winners, Will was also invited to write an article for the Banbury Guardian about their innovative event that aims to break down generational barriers. Dannie acted as employer and project commissioner in the summer term 2019 and her students put on a third event for the older and younger generations to meet. They have ensured that the initiative is sustainable. “very impressed with my groups effort and organisation of a summer event with the elderly and nursery in July and a visit to the old people’s home in their aspirations week for activities as well as visiting primary schools to spread uniting generations name around the town. They have also implemented their own ideas and used their initiative to create a Gofundme page and are in the process of registering Uniting Generations as a community interest project.”

Being able to work as a team on something you are proud of is a great feeling.

AED has helped me to make the connection between my abilities out of school and my professional development.

I have developed a whole range of professional skills, that you wouldn't normally develop in a classroom.

I have enjoyed the challenge of working with new people in a professional environment.

AEP promotes team working skills and changes how students approach problems

AEP has allowed me to develop transferable business skills which I can use in my future career

AEP has given me confidence in leadership and presentation skills

AEP is a helpful project in which you can learn useful skills and make key links with industries

AEP has helped me develop my presentation skills and confidence. Going to the final and winning against the other schools is something I can put on my CV- it was a great feeling.

Where next


Our Careers Leader is Carine Foster, cfoster@wykhampark-aspirations.org, telephone 01295 251451. At Wykham Park Academy, our careers programme is designed for all students from year 7 to…


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