It was an eclectic mix of professionals who are excelling in industries that are popular pathways for Salopians, such as law, journalism, medicine, engineering, marketing and investment banking. The timing of these talks was in line with National Careers Week, a five-day celebration of careers related activity and opportunities.
The aim of discussions like these is twofold. One is to increase insight, to help participants really understand what this profession really entails which can be very difficult to appreciate without actually speaking to someone. The other is just as important and this is to encourage action. Across all seven of those talks, hints, tips and advice will have been provided about practical things pupils can do now to help increase their chances of gaining entry into occupations in the future. It is those who take this advice who ironically are often asked back to talk to pupils about their career in subsequent years. Proactivity normally yields more than inactivity.
National Careers Week is an excellent initiative but in some ways is a concept that should be challenged, in a wholly positive way. Isn’t every week at school National Careers Week? Of course, there are events which bring careers planning into perspective and focus; this term alone pupils have been able to attend a range of activities, such as conferences, inspirational speaker presentations, the national enterprise challenge, option choice lectures, participate in video interviews, attend Oxbridge meetings and so on. Wider than this though, you could argue that every choice you make whilst a school, every interaction you have, is helping build towards a future career. Moving away from the obvious academic sphere, effective engagement in co-curricular activities for example has a clear link to developing many of the skills and competencies required by most employers, such as teamwork, leadership, problem solving and resilience. One of the reasons so many of our pupils are looking forward to being back on site is because of the opportunity to communicate with peers, and the ability to communicate effectively in the workplace is always going to be essential, perhaps even more so now with the increased expectation of being able to communicate effectively ‘in remote’. One of the wonderful things about being back on site will be the chance to interact with a huge range of people with a huge range of responsibilities. Without knowing it, pupils are building networking skills and future contacts that will prove invaluable in the years ahead.
The point I am trying to make is that just like education is not limited to the classroom, careers understanding is not limited to the first week of March. It goes much wider than that, and those who make the most of all the opportunities presented to them are those who are more likely to have more options available to them as they progress through life.
We are incredibly fortunate at the school to enjoy enormous support from both our parent and alumni body, whose input has proven so invaluable to the Futures Department. If you are interested in contributing to the wide range of activities that we offer pupils around careers related planning, I would be delighted to speak to you. The brochure via this link provides further details.
Chris Wain, Head of Futures