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'World of Work' Days

The world of work is changing. Students will go into jobs in the future that don’t yet exist, solving problems that haven’t yet emerged and answering questions we haven’t yet begun to ask. Whatever their career sector, their work will be interdisciplinary, applying the skills and knowledge they are building now. They will need to be creative and informed, intuitive and strategic, practical and imaginative, collaborative and independent.

Guided by the principle that it is not what you do but what it does to you and what you do with it that matters, our integrated ‘World of Work’ days are designed to provide students with a purposeful, reflective and empowering introduction to the world of work, helping to bridge the gap from school to employment. We know that learning outside the classroom can empower students, unlock their potential and help them to form new links with each other and with new adults. We hope it will inspire new interests, forge new connections and give students the impetus, belief and investment they need to thrive in their A Level studies too.

What is the ‘World of Work’ day?


The ‘World of Work’ days bring together all students in Year 12 in school to do a morning of work-style placements. The morning is led by school but designed with and by employers. Each employer creates a task that mirrors a type of work-based activity within their sector. Students hear about their work, learn the context of the task they have set and then work in small groups to creatively respond to their brief. 



What do students do with their ‘World of Work’ day placements? 


Students are encouraged to exhibit their work to other students and teachers and to use their placement task as a springboard for independent projects, making links to their subjects and interests within and beyond school. 

Students can earn a certificate of commendation and there are prizes for creative responses, technical skill and displays of teamwork, communication and initiative. Prizes include a £50 seed fund investment for the group that provides the strongest potential contribution to the day’s theme agenda and matched work placements, mentoring and employer visits for individuals demonstrating outstanding teamwork, independence, communication and initiative. 

Some students use their connections and placement task responses as the start of a portfolio, drawing on their work in future job, apprenticeship and university applications.


The 2023-2024 ‘World of Work’ Series:


The 2023-24 Year 12 World of Work days are:


Employer Contributions:


We would love to hear from any employers who might consider supporting a future ‘World of Work’ day or our ‘Beyond Cherwell’ enrichment programme. We would welcome contributions in any form, from task design, talks, seminars, mentoring, work placements or sponsorship of prizes. Please contact Miss Richer, Head of Sixth Form:


Employer Testimonials


“It was wonderful to see the students in action, active and engaged. It was also heartwarming to see just how eager the students were to present what they had done. It's almost a pity that it is already over. The students grew on me during the day and there is even some sadness not to see them again (it must be much worse to see them leave school once you taught them for so long)." - Nils Riemenschneider, Oxford Policy Management

“It was an absolute pleasure to be with you yesterday. I was unsure what to expect at first but the group I had were great. They really got stuck into what I had asked them to think about. In the afternoon they came alive and throughout the day though they were asking questions and really thinking about the what and the why of the questions and my answers. I was really pleased to be involved” - Mike Holland, Oxford Wood Recycling

“I enjoyed the day enormously and was full of admiration for your achievement in organising it and bringing it to fruition so successfully. The enthusiasm and commitment that went into the work the students produced at the end of the afternoon were tangible and a tribute to them and to you. So, many thanks for inviting me to be part of it.” - Sir Stephen Wall (keynote speaker)

"The World of Work day at the Cherwell school provided an excellent opportunity for students to engage with the real work questions. The organisation of the event including students preparing and selecting their areas of interest, the initial briefing and breakout sessions meant that the engagement was exceptional. Without exception, students were engaged with the discussions in an intelligent and respectful manner.

From the start they were willing to enter a new space ‘the world of work’ and it is exciting to see the emerging talent; Cherwell is building the leaders of the future. We appreciated the warm welcome and support from all the teachers involved that enabled the FCDO team to maximise our time and engagement with students. What a pleasure to be part of this event." - Rachel Hinton, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and The Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford

Previous Supporters


We would like to thank the employers who have already supported our ‘World of Work’ days:

  • 19 Beaumont Street Surgery
  • Active Oxfordshire
  • Atkins Global
  • Army
  • AT The Bus
  • BAM Construct UK
  • Barker Brettell
  • Blenheim Palace
  • BBC Sport
  • Blake Morgan
  • BMW Mini
  • Caring Together and Be Free Young Carers
  • Creation Theatre
  • Dahlberg Consultancy
  • Evora
  • Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)
  • Fresh Cut Video
  • Global Vision International (GVI)
  • Grant Thornton
  • Guardian
  • Hale Dynamics
  • Ignite Sports
  • Jessop and Cook
  • Liberal Democrats
  • Limelight Sports
  • Low Carbon Hub, Oxford
  • Lucy Group
  • Lynn Palmer Architects
  • Médecins Sans Frontières
  • Missing People
  • Oxfam
  • Oxford Earth Academy
  • Oxford Environmental Change Institute
  • Oxford Ethox Centre
  • Oxford North
  • Oxford Policy Management
  • Oxfordshire Schools Teaching Association (OTSA)
  • Oxford United
  • Oxford University Estate Services
  • Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Oxford Literary Festival
  • Oxford University Museum of Natural History
  • Oxford Wood Recycling
  • OxWash
  • Pitt Rivers Museum
  • Reuters
  • Royal Air Force (RAF)
  • Seacourt Printing
  • Speakers for Schools
  • Street Drone
  • Strutt and Parker
  • Thames Valley Police
  • Uncomfortable Oxford
  • Wytham Woods
  • Y.O.U. Underwear


We would like to thank the groups who have contributed prizes, donations and grants:

  • Charity of Thomas Dawson
  • Deloitte LLP
  • Low Carbon Oxford North

We would like to thank our keynote speakers:

  • Dr Roz Savage, ocean rower, adventurer, author and campaigner
  • Carrie Quinlan, actor, writer, comedian and podcaster
  • Mark Beard, High Sheriff of Oxfordshire and Chairman, Beard Construction
  • Sam Barratt, Chief, Youth, Education & Advocacy at UN Environment
  • Sir Stephen Wall, former diplomat, ambassador and political historian

Student Testimonials


“‘Thank you very much for coming in and teaching us about the benefits of community energy and the steps needed to make it possible (policies and innovation). I went home to discover that my nan is a big fan of what you’re striving to do and is an investor herself. Wishing you the best of luck with Project LEO and others like it - I’ll be keeping an eye out for any news on the topic.” - Year 12 student (working with Low Carbon Hub, Oxford)

“‘Thank you for coming in on Friday to give us a bit of an insight into sports journalism. I liked the creative freedom of the day and the stories and topics were interesting. It was very enjoyable - thank you!’” - Year 12 student (working with BBC Sport)

“Thank you so much for the experience! I learned a lot about architecture and the different routes that can be taken within the job. I loved that we had fun whilst also being set a challenge. Our employers were very supportive with our ideas, no matter how unrealistic they seemed. Thank you again and good luck in the future.” - Year 12 student (working with Jessop and Cook)

“It really was an interesting and somewhat life changing experience for me. My dad now uses the dry powder inhaler after much persuasion and facts from the World of Work day!” - Year 12 student (working with 19 Beaumont Street Surgery)


Parent and Carer Testimonials


“When he talked about the workshop there was a noticeable spark in his eye. I think he found it stimulating and was surprised about how he felt. It was a boost to his confidence and a reminder to him that there are so many opportunities out there that he could do.” - Parent of a Year 13 student (working with Thames Valley Police)

“This was just the validation my son needed; his communication in an academic format doesn’t come naturally to him, so his World of Work day success feels like a genuine milestone. This is the perfect example of why education needs to be delivered in many forms to ensure that all are enabled to achieve their potential.” - Parent of a Year 13 student (working with Oxford Environmental Change Institute)

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