National Careers Week

Monday 4th March signalled the start of National Careers Week – a celebration of careers guidance in schools across the UK. This annual event provides a focus on future careers at an important stage in the academic calendar, helping to support young people - particularly those who are about to leave compulsory education - as they consider their future options.

Throughout the week, students from across all years of the school benefited from a number of careers-related activities both in and out of timetabled lessons. These activities ranged from the exploration of careers that can be achieved from the study of specific subjects, through to an opportunity to engage with representatives from a range of providers at another successful Careers Fair.
  
On Monday, members of the British Army’s outreach team were on-hand during Tutor Time and Lunchtime to help answer students’ questions about the careers available in the Armed Forces. For many, this was a real-eye opener to the wide variety of roles that exist – from combat to logistics and medical to ceremonial. In many ways, this was a perfect introduction to the careers week as it helped students to see that lots of different opportunities can arise from a single pathway.

Teaching staff helped to reinforce this message by sharing their own employment history with the students. Using posters on classroom doors, they listed their previous jobs and the skills they acquired from them. In some instances, the pathway to their teaching career was seen to be a straight road. For others, it was a more indirect route which saw them take on a variety of unconnected jobs before finding their way in to the classroom.   

On Thursday 7th March, the school hosted its third annual Careers Fair. Undoubtedly a highlight in the school’s careers programme, these successful fairs provide a perfect platform for students to engage with a range of business leaders and representatives from the world of further education and training. 

This year, the event attracted representatives from approximately 20 institutions including HETA, Airco, Hull York Medical School, Hull University and McArthur Dean Training.

Throughout the day, students in Years 8 to 11 were given time to visit the fair where they had a unique opportunity to chat informally to the visitors to find out more about a range of options including apprenticeships, potential careers and further learning.

Among the visitors were a number of former students including Molly Tranmer, now a Recruitment Officer with Hull Business Training Centre. Miss Tranmer commented: ‘As an ex-pupil, it is always great to come back to Withernsea High School. The event was organised extremely well and the students were given the perfect amount of time to get around all the stalls and ask questions. It was a pleasure to help them as they look at their future careers.’
 
Event feedback from visitors and students alike was unfailingly positive. Matt Morfitt, Business Development Consultant at McArthur Dean Training, added: ‘I spoke to lots of very bright and friendly students and it was a very useful experience. The students seem very keen and went away with lots of information.’

While Jane Craig, Office Manager at Airco, said: ‘The event was well worth attending and I was really pleased with the number of young ladies who are genuinely interested in a career in engineering.’

This was a fitting comment as Careers Week drew to a close on International Women’s Day (Friday, 8th March) which this year ran with the theme ‘Balance for Better’.

International Women’s Day is an annual event which aims to highlight the successes of women in the workplace and beyond in an effort to inspire equality. Throughout the year, Withernsea High School’s careers programme works hard to readdress the balance of gender in the workplace and shatter preconceptions about the types of careers that women should and shouldn’t engage with.

The success of this work was recently proven with the news that Alex Ogilvie, a current Year 13 student, has secured a Maritime Engineering Cadetship with Carnival Cruises. Following a lengthy process, which saw her up against 35 people in the third and final stage, Alex is now just one of 12 people who will embark on a three year foundation degree in engineering.

Alex’s interest in engineering took off in the summer of 2016 when she secured a place on a week-long girl’s only residential course at RAF Leeming. While there, she engaged with like-minded girls from around the north of England - all of whom were keen to explore engineering as a future career.

This interest in engineering was consolidated in Year 11 when, as part of the school’s careers programme, Alex was given an opportunity to meet Darren Brighton – a Captain with BP Shipping.  This meeting led to an interest in maritime engineering, with a work experience placement with SMS Towage on the Humber Estuary following shortly after.

Two years down the line, Alex is now looking forward to an opportunity which will not only develop her skills and further her career prospects, but one which will also allow her to travel the world. Alex commented: ‘I’m really excited about this opportunity as it’s something different and will enable me to travel around the world. I think it’s also important to show that women can be successful in careers which are perceived to be male-dominated and it’s good to know that Carnival already employ a number of female engineers. I look forward to joining them.’

The programme of events during National Careers Week was organised by Withernsea High School’s Careers Leader Victoria Foster. Mrs Foster commented: ‘The atmosphere during National Careers Week was really positive and the staff involved really helped embed careers knowledge in to the students.

The Careers Fair was a huge success. The students conducted themselves extremely well and made full use of the time given to them. I would like to thank all our visitors for giving up their time to take part and we look forward to working with them again at future events. 

Careers education, information, advice and guidance is an important part of students’ learning and we are striving to continue creating further opportunities in the future.

Finally, I would like to congratulate Alex on securing a place with Carnival Cruises. I am delighted that our careers programme has played a part in helping her to achieve her goals and I hope many of our current and future students will view Alex as an inspiration as they decide upon their own career routes.’

Rebecca Pindar, Deputy Headteacher, added: ‘Having seen Alex develop over her time at Withernsea High School, and make the most of opportunities provided through our careers programme, it is fantastic news that she has secured this apprenticeship. Her hard work and determination has paid off and she is a great ambassador for our school. We wish her every success in the future.’


ABOVE: The Careers Fair in full-swing on Thursday 7th March.

BELOW:
Alex Ogilvie (pictured in purple) at RAF Leeming in the summer of 2016.