Careers advice at St Mary's

Inspiration & support

Our dedicated Careers Department offers bespoke support to each individual student.

Led by two specialist careers advisers, our Careers Department works closely with students from Year 5 in Junior School, through to Sixth Form.

Junior School

From an early age, our message is very clear - all future paths are 'for girls' - even sectors in which women are currently still under-represented (e.g. STEM). With our youngest girls, we begin by ensuring they meet and are inspired by women succeeding in all walks of life - from policewomen and engineers to authors, astronauts and scientists.

Senior School

In Senior School, we connect academic subjects to real-world careers, for example, our annual Year 8 trip to Cadbury’s World explores workplace marketing and manufacturing in action. We also continually enhance and expand employability skills – from enterprise, communication and creativity to leadership, risk-taking and resilience through opportunities including:

  • Enterprise, Employability and Financial Awareness workshops
  • Arts Award
  • Outdoor Adventure Days
  • Youth STEMM Award
  • Leadership, Enterprise and Scholars programme
  • D of E Awards
  • Careers Fair (with over 40 local employers)
Individual support

As students prepare to make decisions about post-16 options and future career paths, we provide individual advice and support. Using Kudos software, students develop a personalised career plan, to inform their choices. Our support includes:

  • A Level subject seminars
  • Alumnae and Prefect Q&A session
  • Year 11 careers day with support from employers on CV writing, interview techniques, decision-making, university options and apprenticeships
  • Taster experiences linked to subject-specialist mentors at leading universities
  • Careers focused tutorials
  • One-to-one advice for each student (and their parents)

Sixth Form

In Sixth Form, we offer tailored guidance and inspiration as each student shapes their future path. Whether preparing for university, further education, an apprenticeship or employment, each student has access to resources and expertise including:

  • Information evening to enable students to leverage the opportunities of Sixth Form
  • Questionnaire to inform work placements
  • CV support
  • 1:1 careers interview with an independent advisor to create an action plan
  • UCAS day
  • Learning Lunches with Alumnae and local employers
  • Tutor sessions
  • Mock interviews
  • Guidance on Oxbridge, International Universities, Apprenticeship or Gap Year scheme applications
  • Gap Year presentations (Frontier, Gap 360)
  • Apprenticeship presentations (BDO Accountancy, Lloyds Bank)

Our Careers Department has excellent links with:

  • Prestigious universities
  • Specialist Further Education establishments, including Art Colleges
  • Organisations offering highly-regarded Apprenticeships

Through these connections, we are able to encourage our girls to aim high in whichever route they choose.

Sixth Form work placements

In Sixth Form, all students undertake at least one work placement to gain valuable skills and to inform their decision-making.

Employers often comment on the impressive focus and can-do attitude of our students. In the past, girls have gained open invitations to return, offers of work, or made long-lasting contributions to products or services.

Our Cambridge location allows us to forge connections with many employers, across the East, as well as in London. We offer placements in dynamic small businesses through to world-leading organisations. Examples of some of our placement employers include Mott MacDonald, the Babraham Institute, Purcell Architects, Cheffins Fine Art, SOS Children's VillagesMicrosoft Research, the University of Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University.

Placements span diverse sectors, including:

  • Accountancy
  • Architecture
  • Archiving and curating
  • Charity work
  • Computer science
  • Finance and banking
  • HR
  • Law
  • Marketing and PR
  • Media, including Sky TV, BBC, local radio and newspapers
  • Medicine, nursing, therapies and healthcare sciences
  • Psychology research
  • Publishing
  • Surveying


As one of the first schools in the UK to become an InvestIN Partner School we offer priority access to a range of immersive career experiences, for students aged 15 to 18.

InvestIN provides unique insights into key professions, including investment banking, medicine, business, law, architecture, politics, journalism, engineering, psychology and computer science. InvestIN’s popular 1-day to 5-day programmes use interactive role play, seminars, case studies and Q&A sessions to deliver a 360-degree career experience.

More about InvestIN

Alumnae stories

Sixth Form (2014)

Bonnie Au

After graduation, Bonnie went to the University of Hong Kong to complete a Masters in Journalism. Bonnie is currently Assistant Producer on the South China Morning Post.

  • Four A Levels at St Mary's in Maths, Chemistry, Geography and Chinese
  • Graduated from Cardiff University with a BSc in Chemistry
  • Was active in the Japanese Society at University and won the Cardiff Award

Sixth Form (2012)

Habiba Ahut Daggash

"I completed my PhD in Energy Systems and Climate Change Mitigation Research at Imperial College London. Previously, I chaired the Future Energy Leaders Forum at the Institute of Chemical Engineers, and sat on the Board of the Energy Centre."

  • Five A* A Levels at St Mary's in Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry and an Extended Project Qualification
  • Graduated from University of Oxford with a First Class Honours in Engineering Science
  • A member of Oxford University Women's Association Football Club, Engineering Society and the Energy Society


“This work experience was really good for seeing how a huge practice is run and learning about equine medicine. It was amazing and has given me so much I can talk about in my personal statement and at interviews.”

Natasha C-C, now pursuing Veterinary Science at the Royal College

“I really enjoyed the virtual ARM work experience event. It was great to talk to young professionals working at ARM and get their advice on university and starting a job.”

Alice G.