Withernsea High School

Withernsea High School

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  2. March 2024
  3. Successful launch of school careers evening draws over 350 attendees

Successful launch of school careers evening draws over 350 attendees

1 March 2024 (by admin)

Representatives from some of the areas best-known employers, and education, training and apprenticeship providers, gathered at Withernsea High School last Thursday for the launch of a brand-new careers event.

Over 350 people attended the school’s first dedicated Careers Evening and Futures Fair – an event which provided an opportunity for parents, carers, and their children, to access information, advice and guidance from a variety of sources, in the heart of their own community.

While careers fairs have been a popular fixture of the school’s careers programme for a number of years, these have either taken place for single year groups during the confines of the school day, or have run on a smaller scale alongside other events. The move to an evening timeslot not only boosted engagement from employers, it was a move that also proved popular with parents.

Lynne Snaith, whose son Sam is in Year 11, said: “I liked that the event was on a night, giving us parents plenty of time to get there and support our children. Although Sam thinks he is on the right path, I think all the possibilities and opportunities highlighted at the careers fair gave him even more to think about. Also, the experience of speaking to people other than school staff, and parents or family members, really helped to increase confidence.”

Although primarily open to the school’s students and their families, a limited number of places were also offered to members of the community – attracting a small number of additional visitors who were either looking for a return to work; a change of career, or seeking information about accessing education, training or apprenticeship opportunities.

Also in attendance was Cllr. Ian Blackburn, Deputy Mayor of Withernsea, who said: “It was a very impressive event, well attended and well organised. I was there for two hours and time went so quickly. Every business and organisation I spoke to showed they wanted to offer Withernsea pupils a chance. The opportunities for those pupils are so much greater now. A massive well done to the High School. I was most impressed by the numbers of parents and pupils who attended and THAT is what impressed those businesses the most.”

Feedback from employers was equally positive. Emma Horscraft, a Trainee Solicitor with Rollits LLP, said: “It was a pleasure to attend Withernsea High School’s careers evening last week. The students were polite, positive and engaging – asking all the right questions about a career in law, and they were a real credit to the school. We hope that the students had an enjoyable evening, exploring all the exciting career opportunities available to them in the future.”

Stuart Cromarty, Technical Trainer Specialist at Swift Group Ltd, added: “The careers event was one of the best we have attended. All students were engaged, polite and inquisitive. Swift caravans love to attend these events as we aim to help guide and shape students’ futures. All the students and parents we spoke to were enthusiastic about engineering apprenticeships and we have already had several students apply for the Swift apprenticeship since attending the event.”

The careers evening attracted representatives from companies operating in a variety of sectors including manufacturing, finance, engineering, construction, health and social care, renewable energy and retail. Among them were Reckitt, RWE Renewable Energy, the NHS, Tesco, Alan Wood & Partners Civil Engineering, and Morris Spottiswood Construction. Public services including Humberside Fire and Rescue, Humberside Police and the Armed Forces were also in attendance. 

The worlds of education and training were represented by colleges including Wilberforce, Wyke, Bishop Burton and Hull, with Catch Apprenticeships and Humber Energy Skills Training Academy leading the way with apprenticeships and independent training advice. Also in attendance were 6th form providers based at Hornsea School and St Mary’s College, plus higher education in the form of the University of Hull.

Hannah Tummons, Marketing and Events Officer at Bishop Burton College, said: “Attending the Withernsea High School careers fair was very worthwhile for us. The event was incredibly well attended and I had lots of meaningful conversations with both students and adults.” Jack Woodcock, Event Liaison and Admissions Officer at the University of Hull, added: “The event provided a fabulous opportunity for young learners and their parents to engage with educational institutions, apprenticeship providers and local employers. I look forward to returning next year, representing the University of Hull.”

In addition, a number of independent careers advice providers including Skills Hull and East Riding, Exploring Opportunities, and Log on Move on, were also present - as were representatives from volunteering organisations including the Smile Foundation and the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.    

Reflecting on the success of the event and the importance of providing such interactions for young people and the wider community, Viki Foster, Careers Leader at Withernsea High School, said: “We have been delighted with the response to the event so far and have been overwhelmed with positive feedback from the school community, including parents/carers, students, and school governors, who all valued the opportunity to meet representatives from the many businesses and organisations who were in attendance. We were also delighted to welcome members of our wider community, including members of the Town Council and prospective job hunters, who contributed to the 350+ visitors who attended throughout the evening.          

“With this event, we aimed to try something different by running it in an evening to make it more accessible to parents/carers, as well as students from all year groups. Early feedback strongly indicates that this approach was welcomed by all concerned and we look forward to using this model, and building upon its success, for future events.

“Finally, I would like to thank the many companies and organisations who supported the event for their contribution towards making it such a great success. These events simply couldn’t happen without their support.”

Mike Cargill, school link Governor to Careers and Technology, added: “It was fantastic to see and hear the number of rich conversations between students, employers and training providers. It’s essential that every student has the opportunity to find out for themselves what their next steps could look like and for students to find out that there is so much out there  - it’s really exciting for them! This is one of a growing number of employer engagements that Withernsea High is delivering on. Congratulations to the team behind the event for such an amazing evening.”

Vice Chair of Governors, Alex Henderson MBE, said: “I was so pleased to see how well attended the evening was. The school hall was full, with a buzz of discussion seen at every presentation - with questions being asked and practical and honest information being provided. I know our Careers Leader, Viki Foster, will be on-hand to provide further information as our students look towards working life after leaving education.”

In recent years, colleges and secondary schools have been given more responsibility to arrange independent careers guidance, and meaningful encounters with employers. This includes working with many different partners, including qualified careers professionals, businesses and training providers, to make sure young people receive impartial information and guidance to understand the full range of options available to them.

To help achieve this, education providers use eight benchmarks developed by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation to set a standard of excellence in good careers guidance.

The Gatsby Benchmarks were created by Sir John Holman, a former Headteacher and founder of the National STEM Learning Centre, as part of an independent, international review of career guidance that was funded by the foundation. In the resulting report, Sir John identified the following qualities for the improvement of careers guidance in schools and colleges:

A STABLE CAREERS PROGRAMME: Every school and college should have an embedded programme of career education and guidance that is known and understood by students, parents, teachers, governors and employers.

LEARNING FROM CAREER AND LABOUR MARKET INFORMATION: Every student, and their parents, should have access to good quality information about future study options and labour market opportunities. They will need the support of an informed adviser to make best use of available information.

ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF EACH STUDENT: Students have different career guidance needs at different stages. Opportunities for advice and support need to be tailored to the needs of each student. A school’s careers programme should embed equality and diversity considerations throughout.

LINKING CURRICULUM LEARNING TO CAREERS: All teachers should link curriculum learning with careers. STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) subject teachers should highlight the relevance of STEM subjects for a wide range of future career paths.

ENCOUNTERS WITH EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES: Every student should have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace. This can be through a range of enrichment activities including visiting speakers, mentoring and enterprise schemes.

EXPERIENCES OF WORKPLACES: Every student should have first-hand experiences of the workplace through work visits, work shadowing and/or work experience to help their exploration of career opportunities.

ENCOUNTERS WITH FURTHER AND HIGHER EDUCATION: All students should understand the full range of learning opportunities that are available to them. This includes both academic and vocational routes and learning in schools, colleges, universities and in the workplace.

PERSONAL GUIDANCE: Every student should have opportunities for guidance interviews with a career adviser, who could be internal (a member of school staff) or external, provided they are trained to an appropriate level. These should be available whenever significant study or career choices are being made. They should be expected for all students but should be timed to meet their individual needs.

These benchmarks are now helping to successfully drive a comprehensive careers education programme at Withernsea High School, and at schools and colleges around the country, ensuring that students are given the information, advice and guidance needed to build a successful future.


ABOVE: An estimated 350+ people attended Withernsea High School’s brand-new Careers Evening and Futures Fair.


ABOVE: Caroline Hardcastle (Partner and Head of Education) and Emma Horscraft (Trainee Solicitor) from Rollits LLP speak to a young student about potential careers in law.


ABOVE: Stuart Cromarty, Technical Trainer Specialist at Swift Group Ltd, was on-hand to promote engineering apprenticeships at Swift.


ABOVE: PC2252 Stothard and SC6784 Blades represented Humberside Police at the event.


ABOVE: Jacqui Laycock from the City Health Care Partnership helped to spread the word about careers in the healthcare sector.


ABOVE: Cllr Ian Blackburn (Deputy Mayor of Withernsea) with Viki Foster (School Careers Leader).


ABOVE: Stephen Beedham of RWE energy. Also pictured is a student enjoying a virtual reality experience at the RWE stand.


ABOVE: A number of former students of Withernsea High School returned to the event as representatives of the companies they now work for. Pictured left to right, representing Reckitt, are Georgie Peskey and Dr Sammi Iveson, both former students of the school, with Viki Foster (Careers Leader) and School Governor Alex Henderson MBE. 


ABOVE: The world of retail was represented by companies including Tesco. From the Withernsea store, pictured left to right are Nikki Eldon, Amanda Lindmark and Fran Hales.


ABOVE: Lisa Tallant and Morgan Cropp from Engineering firm Alan Wood & Partners.


ABOVE: Among the independent careers providers in attendance were Log on Move on - a free, independent and impartial website which supports and inspires young people in the East Riding.

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