The Clifton Centre in Salford is a KS4 Pupil Referral Unit with 70 students. Career Connect has provided careers support at The Clifton Centre since 2013.


In 2021, The Clifton Centre was one of 22 Alternative Provision Settings in the UK to receive AP taskforce funding from the government. The taskforce brings agencies together to keep young people engaged with education and careers planning, and away from exposure to serious violence or gang exploitation.

The Centre was able to fund increased provision from Career Connect, allowing Adviser Gemma to offer intense support to students earlier on in Year 10 and to increase employer and provider engagement. 

Making student transitions easier

Jonathan Hill, Assistant Headteacher the Clifton Centre, said: “Gemma understands our students and the areas from which they come. Careers provision in a PRU looks very different to that in mainstream school. It can be very time intensive and relationship building with students, parents and carers and external partners is vital.

Without her my job would be much more difficult. Gemma has an in-depth knowledge of provision and how we can meet Gatsby benchmarks.

“Her independence is key in meeting the needs of our students to get the best possible outcomes. She will challenge us to explore new options for students. She knows legislation and stays up to date on the latest qualifications and pathways.

“She helps our students see college as nothing scary. Colleges are now keen to meet with us to make students’ transitions easier. This is down to the relationships built by Gemma.”

A fully enhanced careers programme

Matt Wilson, PRU Youth Engagement Officer and AP Specialist Taskforce Project Co-ordinator at the Clifton Centre said: “We now have a fully enhanced careers programme for our young people. Gemma has taken the opportunity to push for new initiatives. We have employers coming in to do talks, and she has built links for work experience placements. We’ve had on-site construction and health and beauty visits and college visits, and a careers carousel.

“Gemma ran our first mock interview week, which we’d not done on that scale before. This included in-person and online afternoon interviews to increase access for non-attenders. The feedback from students and employers was great.

“Gemma has attended parent review days and appointments with parents and carers and pushes for these to happen, which has led to an increase in take-up rate.

“Gemma was instrumental in obtaining funding [through Connect To Your Future, delivered by Career Connect] for eight students to access Construction Skills Certification Scheme training. She engaged the young people – and kept them engaged – and worked with the training provider and funding, which is time intensive. Obtaining the CSCS card allowed those students to apply for roles in the construction industry.

“We now have very few students who won’t engage at all or who don’t have a plan for September.”

Read more stories of success in our Impact Report for 2022/23

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