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Back to business for Year 11 students with a Day of Employability

Back to business for Year 11 students with a Day of Employability

Year 11 students went straight back to business on the first day of term with a Day of Employability, organised by Mrs Kate Mead and Peter Buncombe from Form the Future. As students enter their GCSE year, they will be working hard for their subjects and selecting their A Levels. This day provides an opportunity to zoom out from school life and reflect on their future careers.

We were delighted to welcome local employers into the school, to share their expertise with the students and help to prepare them for their next steps. The workshops spanned a range of practical skills, broadened students’ knowledge of options, from higher education to apprenticeships, and provided key advice for success, no matter what their chosen path. In their feedback forms, 98% of students said they would recommend this event to future students.

One session, led by Claudine Smith and Kayleigh Delacey from Kameo Recruitment, aimed to hone the students’ CV-writing skills. The students were introduced to the function, use and importance of this crucial document, often being ‘the key to a successful job search’, before the students filled in their own CV template, building their practical skills.
Students continued to hone and apply their employability skills during the interviews workshop, run by Rosa Dos Santos Managing Director for Exact Sourcing. During this session, students took part in mock-interviews with local employers. The questions were designed to capture real-life job interview experience, as students recounted examples of teamwork, times where they had to take responsibility or deal with a difficult situation, their strengths and weaknesses and proudest achievements.  The employers reported that they were so impressed with the students at interview that they would have offered many of them the job. One student said that:

‘She really enjoyed the interview, and it helped her understand a work interview.’

Rich Wainwright from the Centre for Business Excellence delivered a workshop on decision-making, covering a range of practical and motivational topics. The group discussed different types of learning, the impact of surroundings and peer groups on students, and how best to prioritise. At the end of the class, students reflected on what they found most valuable from the session, with many singling out the idea of ‘self-management’ - that prioritising is less about ‘time management’ than deciding how best to manage yourself and what you choose to do.

Holly Rimmer, a second year Oncology Apprentice with AstraZeneca, explained as part of the apprenticeship programme she was working with the Oncology Genomics team looking at genes and DNA to help treat cancer alongside studying towards a Bioscience Technology degree with the University of Kent. She introduced students to a range of different apprenticeships and offered insightful tips for successful applications. Holly explained apprenticeships can offer an alternative route to university which gives you the chance to develop both academically while developing excellent employability skills and getting paid a salary.

Julia Schumann-Pratt from NHS Cambridge University Hospitals explained there are over 350 careers in the NHS both clinical and nonclinical ranging from doctors, dentists, administrators, and managers. She discussed a variety of routes into the NHS, including university or apprenticeships and went on to identify both the full range of clinical and nonclinical apprenticeships.

The tutors ran a very lively session with their tutees on Financial Awareness where the students learnt about gross and net pay and learnt how their taxes are spent, which initiated great debate. They produced a budget and shopping list as if they were in their first year of university to give them an appreciation of future expenses and managing their money.

The employers were impressed by the girls’ confidence, noting that the students were keen and enthusiastic, well-spoken, and engaged and the school should be very proud of them. The students were equally complimentary, with one reporting:

'It was a good way to learn about future pathways open to me and it increased my confidence about interviews.’

They carry these skills and messages with them into the next years of their school lives and beyond.

More about careers at St Mary's