From education to employment

National Careers Week 2023: Sector Response

This week is National Careers Week (March 6-11).

National Careers Week (NCW) is a one-week celebration of careers guidance and free resources in education across the UK.

NCW is a dedicated week every year allowing schools, colleges, universities, alternative provision settings and organisations to work towards

In this article, we will compile all of the sector’s comments on National Careers Week to give a voice to everyone.

Sector Response

Mark Donnelly, Head of Total Talent at BAE Systems Digital Intelligence

“Dedicated initiatives like National Careers Week are vital in today’s complex landscape of education, training and employment. It offers the perfect opportunity to shine a light on why learning is important, empowering people of all ages, backgrounds, mindsets and skill sets to pursue their passions.

“It’s also a chance to promote specific roles and opportunities across sectors. This year’s National Careers Week will become a platform to help individuals source the information they need to make informed decisions about their future, showcasing a range of career options and offering tailored advice from industry professionals. It’s all about helping people to succeed in their chosen careers.

“People are truly an organisation’s greatest asset. Enterprises looking to attract and retain top talent should offer lifelong learning opportunities, enabling employees to continually improve their skills and knowledge. When recruiting candidates from different generations and backgrounds – that have unique perspectives, experiences and strengths – businesses across industries should also strive to cater for all types of learners, including neurodivergent talent. 

“As part of this, promoting alternative education pathways into STEM is becoming increasingly important. Organisations should look to partner with educational institutions and industry peers, offering on-the-job training, mentoring and coaching, and skills bootcamps to reach individuals at all stages of their careers, in addition to apprenticeships and graduate programmes. This will help them keep up with the pace of change and remain ‘digitally evergreen’. 

“At BAE Systems Digital Intelligence, we are currently working with CodeFirstGirls to provide a 16-week levelling up programme for women who want to learn more about data, software or full-stack. And we’re already seeing real rewards, with 15 of the graduates being hired into the business in 2022 and plans to hire a further 15 following this year’s CFG Degree. We’re also working with the wider organisation to support alternative training initiatives, such as the National Security Academy and Cyber Accelerator Programme, which are designed to help individuals gain the confidence and technical ability needed to pursue careers in STEM. This is in addition to our own graduate and apprenticeship programmes, the latter of which is rated Ofsted Outstanding and ranks in the top ten in the country and has seen a 90%+ success rate – a testament to their dedication, our delivery team and partner providers.

“A key theme that comes through from those engaging with our learning opportunities is that we do some ‘seriously cool things’. I’d like to emphasise the use of ‘serious’ here; the work we’re doing at BAE Systems Digital Intelligence matters and gives employees the opportunity to have a real impact on society. National Careers Weeks enables us to showcase that mission and also that you don’t need to have a technical background to thrive in exciting and dynamic STEM fields.”

Divya Thapa, Software Engineer, BAE Systems Digital Intelligence

  • Code First Girls start: May, 2022
  • Joined BAE Systems: September, 2022

“I had worked in recruitment for several years, when I decided to switch careers. Prior to the nanodegree, I’d completed CodeFirstGirl’s career switcher course and benefited from being a member of the community of women they had built so far. Because CFG caters for women, all of their courses are run in the evening, which makes it easier to attend. They are also free of charge.

“The CFG programme was fun. Our instructors made sure it was interactive and that we get to know one another in the cohort. The final presentation was the highlight for me. As each group presented their project, it highlighted every individual’s 13 weeks of commitment, hard-work and sheer determination that got us to the place where we wanted to be. The pride in all projects that were presented reflected the skills, confidence and inspiration that CFG had helped us achieve.

“Technology is something that I was always fascinated but intimidated by. It took a whole year or two of procrastination to attend a workshop to begin my coding journey back in 2019. Do not be afraid to take that first step, remember there are many others with you!”

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