For many 16-18 year olds, Sixth Form is seen as a transition between school and university. Through the Student Consultancy in Schools programme, Berkhamsted’s partnership with Oxford University creates an extra dimension to preparing for life after education.

Joshua Soloway and Izzy Bourke completed Berkhamsted’s consultancy programme while studying for their A Levels in 2015 and 2016. By working on real life business tasks, they both credit the experience as invaluable preparation for further education and the working world.

Students train the teachers

Now as ambassadors of The Student Consultancy in Schools, Josh and Izzy are supporting the programme’s expansion to schools across the nation.

Working with Oxford University, at an event on Tuesday 17th October the pair supported a training session for schools interested in implementing the programme that included representatives from Eton, Rugby and Harrow among others.

Nastascia Phillips, Berkhamsted’s Head of Student Consultancy in Schools said “Our former students, Josh and Izzy were wonderfully articulate and incredibly inspiring. Izzy is now looking towards a career in consulting, and Josh brought along a fantastic reference that he was given by Sunnyside (the client he worked with in 2015) which he has used in job applications.

“Both commented how well the programme had helped them prepare for university in terms of independent learning skills and secondary research, and the professional skills they have developed were very much apparent in the way they presented to the room and handled questions with confidence.”

“Since we began the programme in 2014,all of our clients have returned for repeat business – we are now on our fourth project for Dacorum Borough Council. The consultancy reports produced by the students have had a genuine impact in the local community.”

Oxbridge standard

Head of Oxford University Careers service Jonathan Black has overseen 2,000 Oxford students complete The Student Consultancy. He has also helped establish Berkhamsted as the first Sixth Form to adopt the programme.

On reviewing the 2017 consultancy work produced by Berkhamsted Sixth, Jonathan said “(These reports) are pretty similar to what the undergraduates would do at University level. They had a bit more time on it but certainly in terms of the quality of the work and the contribution to the client, (they were) definitely equal and I was very impressed… They were really clear in their argument and also they’d had some fun, they’d learnt a lot.”