Lightcast Case Study
Weston College

Careers, Not Courses

How Weston College uses Career Coach to Drive Student Recruitment and Improve Career Guidance

weston college south west skills campus 2

Students often lack confidence about their career decisions.

Here's how Weston College helped them move forward with confidence.

Weston College, a historic school in Somerset, is one of the largest further education institutions in the UK and has been judged an "Outstanding" institution by Ofsted. Its motto is "Creating Brighter Futures," which it does by offering A level courses, vocational courses, apprenticeships, traineeships, courses for the unemployed and work-related courses across several campuses.

But College leaders noticed a challenge: students were applying to a variety of very different courses, suggesting they lacked a clear idea of what to focus on in their education. What they needed was specific careers guidance to help them make informed choices.

The Question

How could Weston College define clear course and career pathways for current and prospective students?

weston student png

In order to engage students, help them navigate their career pathways, and ensure they are taught all the relevant skills they need to succeed in their desired career, the College remodelled its applicant journey and student support into one that clarified and assisted students to guide them toward labor market success.

One step, the Research stage, involved a careers assessment, which would require a data-backed tool that students could interact with to discover potential career paths and courses based on their interests, as well as find more details about each role and industry. 

Another, the Orientation stage, involved supporting students in understanding the intent of their programmes and what skills they possess that will help them in identifying a career path. 

For both of these elements, Weston needed the granular labour market data that would enable students to analyse the skills requirements of each role they were interested in, connected the skills they have learned to what employers seek, and dive deeper to understand job-specific salaries and other requirements. 

The Answer

Career Coach

In 2016, Weston College embedded Lightcast’s Career Coach tool into its website and course pages, making it a key part of its Research and Orientation stage.

The Research Stage

Career Coach is an interactive tool powered by Lightcast’s unparalleled labour market data. Anybody visiting Weston College’s website can explore careers and job profiles data such as median salaries, range of education level required for a specific role, and the courses Weston College provides to get them to their desired career. 

“We were seeing learners apply for two, three, in some cases four courses with us. We really wanted to make sure that learners were making an informed decision about the course that they wanted to get to, and that’s where Career Coach came in,” said Ben Knocks, Assistant Principal for Students at Weston College.

Learners can also fill out a questionnaire about personality and interests, and discover suitable careers based on their responses. The results are based on Lightcast’s granular and regional Labour Market Insights, which is pulled through Career Coach via an API.

There were over one thousand career assessments completed in the academic year of 2021. Out of those that took the assessment, 98.9% said that the College provided them with enough information to make their application, and there was a 49.2% reduction in multiple offers, which has been increasing year on year.

“There has been a lot of positive impact coming out of having Career Coach on our website. It plays a vital part in empowering our applicants and learners to have the confidence and tools to explore careers, ” Knocks said.

The tool boosted Weston College’s outreach in events, as well. Its 2021 weeklong careers showcase “What Next?” had 500 young people in attendance, and over 50,000 engagements on social media. The College used Career Coach to build programmes for 14 different sectors and create videos which were shown throughout the events.

“It's really important that we open our own doors and host events like this to share our own experiences, guide the next generation and bring them into the industry,” Knocks said. 


learners enrolled

at Weston each year


of those taking the careers assessment

got enough information to make their application


of Weston College attendees

felt very confident/confident about their next career steps

The Orientation Stage

At the “Orientation” stage, Career Coach is used as a careers exploration platform to help current Weston College students better understand the intent of their programmes and what skills they possess that will help them in identifying a career path.

In 2018, Weston College acquired Lightcast’s Analyst to complement Career Coach in providing more detailed regional data about courses, in-demand skills, and employment opportunities. Just three years later, the College reprofiled its curriculum and launched various Career Excellence Hubs: industry-specific study programmes with a strong focus on employability. 

“We felt this was quite a key time,  as we came out of pandemic, to align our curriculum to our real focus on aspirations," Knocks said. "We got employees to endorse our curriculum, which has been really vital in enabling us to say we’re guaranteeing our learners leave Weston College with the knowledge skills and behaviors that are in demand by employers.”

Based on Weston College’s Careers Development and Evaluation Framework, introduced in early 2022, 86% of students felt like the college did a good job helping them navigate career options, and 85.7% felt very confident/confident about their next steps. Furthermore, 93.7% who accessed careers provision rated the service as excellent or good.

Career Coach has been so successful that the college has now made it a mandatory step of the induction process, which is fully digital and built into its learning management system. Tutors then discuss the results with learners to make sure they choose the right course - improving retention and ensuring students have a fulfilling career path. 

“Career Coach has been vital in reinforcing our ‘careers, not courses’ strategy,  making sure learners are on their right programme of study, and leave their courses with the knowledge and soft skills that are in demand by employers.” 

Ben Knocks,

Assistant Principal for Students

Weston College

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