In order to make careers education more accessible for our students and ensure that each one of them, whatever their background, can make the right choices for their future, we provide a range of opportunities for students to experiment with careers and trial different skills in a formal environment.
Our comprehensive PSHE programme includes careers guidance for all year groups – steadily building student confidence, introducing key terminology and teaching students how to write about their accomplishments to suit formal letters and applications.
In Year 7, students create goals for life. They research different working sectors and consider where they would be best placed for success and happiness. Students also have three sessions on communication and beating shyness in order to alleviate nerves around interviews or other formal situations. Students are shown how to conduct themselves when presenting, both as an individual and as a group. This is further supported in the lower years with the school’s annual submission of teams for the Rotary Club ‘Youth Speaks’ competition.
In Year 8, students begin to compare salaries and lifestyles that emerge from taking different career paths. They are given talks from local employers about working for large and small businesses and are able to compare the two types of industry. Similarly, they are able to talk to those who are self-employed about setting up their own businesses, considering the pros and cons to working for yourself. Finally, in the last term, students work on their ability to balance the books – this is supported with our subscription to Nationwide’s Saving the Day technology.
In Year 9 students consider typecasting in the workplace and fighting against stereotypes. They cover study skills over three sessions, considering how to impress and achieve through time management, prioritising, meeting deadlines etc.
In Years 10 and 11, students then use all of this research and information to apply for a job they are interested in (out of a small selection in Y10 and a larger selection in Y11). They go through writing applications, CVs, covering letters and finally a mock interview with a school Governor or visitor from business to complete the cycle from gathering information on a prospective job, to finding out the skills needed, to considering skills they have that meet the criteria, to selling themselves on paper and finally impressing at interview. Students are given a very personal approach and feedback on their performance is instantaneous.
This experience ultimately leads to our sixth form students applying for their own work experience in June. Students in Year 12 have one week off timetable to find a job within their area of interest. They apply formally and their experience is recorded in a daily diary. Students are then given time to reflect upon their experiences and further research into prospective careers based on their new, real life understanding of the workplace.
Throughout all years, students are given several opportunities to learn from different industries. We have guest speakers in the following areas:
- National Grid
- Science Made Simple
- Tomorrow’s Engineers
- Bracknell Forest Council
- Sport for Youth
- Lesley Owusu – Sky Sports
- AIM apprenticeships
Annually we have author visits so students can speak to and be inspired by writers and more creative pathways. We are also introducing ‘Staff talk’ in 2015-2016 as a way to show students flexibility in their learning. Almost like a ‘Ted talks’ session, staff are invited to share their experiences of the workplace, success and their story to becoming who they are today.