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BELS Post-16 Education and Skills Team accredited to the Matrix Standard

Updated: Mar 3, 2022


BELS' Post 16 Education and Skills Team areas involving Careers Guidance and Mentoring have been accredited to the Matrix Standard for the third time, demonstrating the high-quality Information, Advice and Guidance and Mentoring they provide to Young People in Barnet between the ages of 14-19 (up to 25 for young people with an EHCP and those young people who are Care Leavers).


The Matrix Standard is the international quality standard for organisations that deliver information, advice, and/or guidance (IAG), either as their sole purpose or as part of their service offering. Any organisation which manages, administers, and delivers an information, advice, and/or guidance service to support individuals in their choice of career, learning, work, or life goals can become accredited to the Matrix Standard. The Matrix Standard helps providers to improve their services by benchmarking against best practice and it offers accreditation to those that meet the full standard.


With accreditation assessments occurring every three years, this is the third time that BELS’ Post-16 Education and Skills Team have received the Matrix Standard. First being accredited in 2015, the Post-16 Education and Skills Team continued to provide excellent information, advice, guidance, and mentoring to young people in Barnet and Greater London about their futures, leading to the team being accredited with the Matrix Standard again in 2018 and now in 2021. Matrix accredited organisations also undergo Matrix’s Continuous Improvement Check – an annual assessment that occurs between accreditations to ensure organisations are still meeting the needs of those they serve. BELS’ Post-16 Education and Skills Team has performed well in these annual assessments, even during the most difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic. During this time, the team effectively navigated restrictions and moved activities to the online space to continue providing young people in Barnet with the important advice and guidance they needed.


Since their last Matrix Standard Accreditation in 2018, the Barnet Post-16 Education and Skills Team have continued to grow and adapt their offering to meet the changing needs of young people, regardless of their career goals. Over the past three years, the Post-16 Team launched several programmes to support young people in preparing for the future, including the Risk of NEET (RON) Mentoring Programme, Routes into Construction/Employment programmes, the Supported Internships programme, the Care Leavers Programme, and the ESF Future Pathways Programme supporting vulnerable Young People into EET (Education, Employment and Training). Post-16 Team Operations Manager Sharon Glover said, “Although not all of these programmes are related to Careers Guidance, it does mean we have a wider range of options available for young people which can also be seen as ‘alternative pathways’ into education, employment, and training. We can discuss these with young people and their families in Careers Guidance Interviews and also with other professionals working in Careers Guidance and Mentoring.”


The continued growth of the Post-16 programme offering and its impact did not go unnoticed. Commenting on the third-time accreditation, Roger Chapman, Head of the Matrix Service for The Growth Company, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the Post-16 Education and Skills Team and I would like to congratulate the team on their success. We believe that at the heart of high-quality advice and support services are strong leadership, excellent service and a focus on continuous improvement, all underpinned by effective use of the resources available. The Matrix Standard is designed to benchmark organisations against best practice in these areas. With their accreditation success, Barnet Education and Learning Service (BELS) is working to provide the best possible support to their clients.”


The Matrix Standard is outcome-based, meaning Matrix Assessors not only examine the processes used to support IAG delivery but also look at the results achieved by the organisation. The BELS Post-16 Team has made a significant impact on young people in the London Borough of Barnet, having provided an average of 2,000 interventions each month to 13-19-year-olds in the area, and have constantly ranked in the first quintile of the Year 12-14 population for service provision. Past research has shown that providing young people with high-quality guidance results in higher and sustained Education, Employment, and Training Outcomes (EET). For young people in Barnet, the excellent Information, Advice, and Guidance provided by BELS’ Post-16 Education and Skills Team results in informed career choices and improved professional outcomes.


Part of what makes BELS’ Post-16 Careers Guidance and Mentoring services unique is the team’s continued commitment to quality and providing young people in Barnet with the best advice possible. The services are quality assessed in a range of ways, including the Matrix Standard. All the Post-16 Education and Skills Team’s interventions are recorded, Action Plans are written for every young person in Education that is seen by the team, and observations by Managers and Peers are carried out regularly. The team also regularly invites young people to provide feedback on services and programmes, with changes being made accordingly so that young people are best supported.


Commenting on the recent Matrix Accreditation, Sharon Glover said: “I am really proud of the team and the high-quality work they provide to support a wide range of young people in Education, Training, and Employment in Barnet and outside our borough. We are lucky to have a really good relationship with EET Providers and know they we all want to achieve the best for our young people”.


Any organisation which manages, administers, and delivers an information, advice, and/or guidance service to support individuals in their choice of career, learning, work, or life goals can become accredited to the Matrix Standard, regardless of whether the services are delivered face-to-face, through training, learning remotely, or through a website. Organisations that have benefited from working with the Standard include Training Providers, Universities, Further/Higher Education Colleges, Schools and Academies, Sole Traders, Next Step Providers, Voluntary and Community Organisations and Private Businesses. The Matrix Standard is owned by the Department for Education and is managed by The Growth Company on their behalf.


For more information about the Matrix Standard please visit www.matrixstandard.com


For more information on the Post-16 Education and Skills Team and their accreditation, contact Sharon Glover at sharon.glover@barnet.gov.uk or 020 82597875.


Those interested in learning more about BELS’ Matrix accredited Post-16 Education and Skills Team can view their programmes here and discover the positive impact their work has on young people’s futures.

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