On the week of 3rd March, all pupils from the Ruth Gorse Academy participated in National Careers Week. Students engaged in form-time activities that allowed them to be introspective about their skills, learn about the wider world of careers, and access information about their options and pathways. Activities included speaking with teachers and staff about their own educational pathways and what jobs their subjects could lead to, TED talks on networking, and logo design activities, among many others. By having time built into the students’ schedule to participate consistently throughout the week, students had time to really consider their options, strengths, and passions in a way that less extended provision doesn’t provide. Additionally during this week, each year group took part in a morning assembly with the Careers team; this allowed them to get to know the staff better, learn about the opportunities the school provides, and continued embed the concept of careers within the daily curriculum.
The next week, all students got to attend the Academy’s annual Careers Fair on Tuesday, 10th March. Each year group accessed the fair throughout the day, accompanied by their form tutors or teachers. They had the opportunity to speak a wide range of employers and education providers who hosted more than twenty stalls. Partners from the Go Higher West Yorkshire consortium in attendance included the University of Leeds, Leeds Trinity University, the University of Huddersfield, Leeds City College, Elliot Hudson College, Leeds College of Building and Leeds Arts University. Students browsed through prospectuses, asked questions about specific courses or careers, and took part in some creatively interactive displays as well; Scott Perry, a magician, was a fan favourite who also provided students with information about entrepreneurship and creative careers.
Feedback from both these events was exceptional; exhibitors reported that the students were engaged and asked meaningful questions and really engaged with the material presented to them. Throughout the day, teachers, pastoral staff and SLT reported high levels of excitement and engagement from the students as well. During the event itself, it was clear to see that the students were making the most of the opportunity, whilst also genuinely enjoying the experience. It was incredibly rewarding to see some of our hardest to reach students engaging with the professionals, and shy students breaking out of their comfort zone to ask questions.
Events like this show the effectiveness of longer, in-school provision that allow the students fully absorb the information and materials provided to them; consider the benefits of running two programmes in conjunction with each other that provide confidence building and practice in the run-up to the final event, giving students the maximum potential to be introspective, engage and succeed.
Sophie Carbonneau, Ruth Gorse Academy