Sidcot students meet the faces of the workplace and weigh up their options.
By Oliver Painter, Alistair Kerr-Smiley, Ella Hicks-Hurley, Lila Porter, Maisie Young, Henry Blair, Luca Cuckson. Photographs supplied by Guy Owen.
The Refectory’s clink of cutlery, clatter of plates and queues were replaced this Wednesday afternoon, by the earnest buzz of animated conversation between Sidcot students and a fascinating array of working parents. A chartered surveyor, a Crown Court clerk, engineers, global real estate, a senior nurse, a psychologist and a number of directors all offered their experience and time to introduce students to the world of work.
With every shout of “All change!” and vigorous bell-ringing from the effervescent Geoffrey Andrews, the tables erupted into life during the speed dating session. Indeed, it did seem as if change was in the air as students sensed and made the most of their new-found connections with their future careers. And the visitors described the event as a brilliant opportunity to teach young people about different careers, and how they could make a progressive career in the near future. What was greatly appreciated by Sidcot students was “that we were answered in detail” and “we were given some great insights into what jobs were out there”. Students were pleased to learn about a number of responsibilities and tasks that occupied the visiting speakers: looking after the sickest patients in intensive care; building houses around the world in locations like Australia and Japan; engineers developing solutions to problems; exploring the way the mind works, changing the way people think; testing water slides!
In the Arts Centre Foyer, brightly coloured banners and backgrounds from various universities lit up the way to degrees and qualifications. Paths to helping pupils land their dream jobs, or maybe a tidy little earner, or a way to help other people and make the world a better place.
Teaching staff also led careers-based activities in the refectory, challenges for students designed to investigate the next steps to researching their interests, gaining experience, building qualifications and CVs, even establishing potential future contacts.
Meanwhile, in what was a bustling schedule organised by Sidcot Head of Careers and Higher Education Guidance, Rosie Andrew, several talks engaged young minds in the Drama Studio and other classrooms. (Further thanks must go to all staff who contributed to the running of the event and its organisation, in particular the Assistant Heads, Charlotte Resuggan and Matthew Curtis-Dyke.)
Lila Porter in Year 8 said: “The talks on Recruitment and Human Resources were really informative”. The career talks imparted some timely wisdom to students: “find a job that you love to do”; “be a people person”; “be confident”. Henry Blair and Luca Cuckson thoroughly enjoyed the talks given on super sciences by an engineer, a doctor and a vet, talks which may have shaped many futures. The talk that included information about careers in the arts, property management and community work also offered other gems about vital soft skills, motivation and the attraction of different careers working with people. Maisie Young and Ella Hicks-Hurley appreciated the positive and inspiring messages from the visiting speakers: “do what matters to you”; "Make it matter to other people”; “work together”; “be prepared”; “do something new”; “build positive futures”.
Students from every year found something of interest and plenty to stimulate and provoke thought about their goals, their ‘direction’ and their working lives. Year 8 student, Oliver Painter, said: “this event is a great success; everyone’s learned a lot and it’s been a great experience”. Other students called the event “fantastic!”, “really important!” Hal Farnie, in Year 7, claimed that the activities, visiting parents and staff made the event “very interesting”. Likewise, Sophia Cuckson in Year 9 said that the afternoon was “very interesting because of the range of careers being explored and discussed”. International Sixth Formers, Annabelle Prissert and Georgie Hammond, enjoyed the Higher Education Fair, saying “the whole event was nice and well organised, the visiting representatives were friendly and informative”.
This afternoon was a successful event in engaging and helping students to explore different higher education and careers options. However, we’re slightly concerned - or is it envious? – about the student who is considering a combination of working at Thatcher’s, becoming an engineer and testing water slides in global locations.