Creating opprtunities for young people to have encounters with employers opportunities is high on everyone’s agenda. As part of the government’s Career Strategy, every school needs to ensure their students have one encounter per year in years 7-13.
Newport Girls’ High School in Newport, Shropshire saw National Careers Week, as an opportunity to organise a truly exciting and unique event. In conjunction with Telford and Wrekin Council’s ‘Life Ready Work Ready’ programme and The Careers & Enterprise Company, they hosted their first ever speed networking event.
Meeting employers face-to-face, over 500 students in years 8 – 13 had the opportunity to ask questions and learn about the different job roles and industries. Students were allocated a ‘pod’ of nine employers to interview. Having just five minutes with each professional, students were able to ask as many questions as possible about their professions, career paths and work experience.
In preparation for the event, students were asked about their interests and thoughts about future careers. They were then matched to a pod with at least one professional included from an area of the student’s interest.
An incredibly wide and diverse range of businesses were represented to share with students their experience and knowledge on the world of work, including a female helicopter instructor and a defence and national security expert. Other sectors and professionals ranged from: human resources to author; from care services to dancer; from engineering to politician.
Some of the organisations who joined included: ReAssure, CapGemini, Telford & Wrekin Council, The armed forces, HMRC, Ambulance service, Schneider Electric. In addition to large employers, small companies and self-employed fielded questions about the world of work from their perspective.
All students were encouraged to take part. When preparing for the Speed Networking, some students were nervous. Others were a little unsure as the benefits taking part would be. Following the networking, all concerns were dispelled.
Teachers reported that many students approached them after their pod sessions to say how much they had got out of it.
Comments from students included:
I never once considered a career in the RAF before today but after speaking to the pilot I am incredibly keen on looking into this in more detail.
I can’t believe all these different careers exist, I had no idea jobs could be so varied.
I got so much out of today, it has made me realise there are lots of different routes into lots of different careers.
In the days that followed, an incredible buzz around the school was reported. Teachers noticed how incredibly positive the students were and the curiosity the event evoked.
Businesses were equally as enthusiastic following the event. All saying how much they thoroughly enjoyed the day, even if their throats were a little sore after the event.
One employer said:
Thank you for a fantastic event, really enjoyed it and the girls seemed excited and enthused.