As part of a new project to improve access to high-quality careers guidance, Northumberland Church of England Academy Trust (NCEAT) has teamed up with not-for-profit organisation, Smart Works Newcastle, to provide one-to-one support for the parents and carers of its pupils.

The free to access service, which will initially be delivered by the in-house careers team at Duke’s Secondary School (part of NCEAT), will be available to parents and carers of children across the NCEA Trust who might be looking to change career, retrain or get back into work following an extended period of absence.

Following an initial consultation with a careers advisor, service users can be signposted to a number of different outlets, including Smart Works Newcastle, where they can explore routes back into education, the workplace or even a new market sector.

An exclusive service for women, Smart Works is a national organisation which supports women of all ages and backgrounds to build their confidence and skills to help them secure work.

Offering a wide range of services including CV writing, interview coaching and general careers advice as well as providing free work appropriate clothing to those who have confirmed job interviews. Smart Works has supported thousands of women across the UK into successful employment.

In becoming a referral partner to Smart Works’ Employment Support service, NCEAT will be able to signpost mums, sisters, aunties and carers to the service, where they can receive additional support.

Helen Boyd, Service Delivery Lead at Smart Works Newcastle, commented:

“One of the few benefits of the pandemic is taking our Smart Works Newcastle service virtual, meaning we can support more women across the North East. We want to help as many women as we can to build confidence in their skills and abilities and gain sustainable employment. Our amazing coaches can support at any stage of the job search from first roles out of school to those returning to the workplace. We are really looking forward to working with the Trust and their families.”

The partnership announcement comes as NCEA Trust schools have been celebrating National Careers Week (1-6 March).

The annual event, which celebrates careers guidance and free resources in education to help young people make informed choices about their futures has been a little different this year in light of the ongoing pandemic, with the majority of sessions for learners being held remotely. Within the campaign messaging however, there has also been an embedded sense of urgency to ensure that young people leaving school or college at the end of this academic year are as prepared as they can be for the world of work amidst a backdrop of high unemployment and labour market shifts.

While it is imperative that we support our young people to make sure they don’t fall through the gap between leaving full-time education and entering the workplace, we feel that it is just as important to provide the same level of support to parents and carers.

Natalie Cain, Careers Advisor at NCEAT, commented:

“We’re really excited about the launch of our new careers service. There is more emphasis on careers education in schools than there has ever been, and while it’s wonderful to see our pupils benefitting from this, we strongly felt that this could have a wider impact in the local community if we were to roll it out to parents and carers – especially in the current economic climate with so many people being furloughed or made redundant.

“Working together with Smart Works Newcastle on the project is really exciting – the work they do with women across the country is incredible and I look forward to seeing some of our own parents and carers across the Trust benefit from their expertise.

“While Smart Works Newcastle is exclusively a service for women, that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten the gentlemen out there who might also need some additional support! Our in-house careers service is available to all and we hope to expand our range of partnerships as the project progresses.”

Watch this space for further details coming soon!

Careers guidance appointments for parents and carers are available every Friday afternoon between 2-4pm. If you have any questions or to make an appointment, email

For more information about Smart Works Newcastle, visit: