This article is part of a series on the work of our Secondary Work-related Learning team; for the first article.
Today we’re continuing our look back at some of the many one-day programmes delivered by our Secondary Work-Related Learning team over the past term, focussing in on workplace visits.
Visits gave groups of students first-hand experience of the workplace and access to employee volunteers in situ. One such visit took 15 Clapton Girls’ Academy (CGA) students studying for their BTEC in Health & Social Care to the University College Hospital Education Centre. There they met volunteers from a variety of professions, including nurses, paramedics, a radiographer and a midwife.
The volunteers talked the students through their career paths within the healthcare sector, following up with practical demonstrations of CPR and advanced ‘minimal access’ surgical techniques. When we asked the students what they thought about the visit, it was clear that the day had provided them with concrete insights into their future career plans: ‘I enjoyed learning about midwifery, nursing and paramedics because I am interested in these three sectors and it has helped me a lot and given me an insight into what I can expect’, said one; ‘I enjoyed the demonstrations because we got a clear understanding of healthcare sector jobs’, said another.
Another workplace visit, organised as part of Linklaters LLP’s Realising Aspirations programme (formerly Learn for Work), brought Year 9 students into Linklaters offices to learn about the huge range of careers available in a City law firm. The Year 9 students, all from CGA, had an action-packed day: as well as getting a taste of dispute resolution (one of Linklaters’ specialisms), the students also heard about different volunteers’ career paths, finishing up with a quiz to make sure they’d been paying attention…
Again, the feedback showed how valuable experiences like this can be to the young people we work with. Many of the employee volunteers the students met had not taken the most direct route to their current position – they had worked in other professions, taken time out or followed a less traditional path. Discovering that people working in City jobs had such a range of backgrounds was really useful for the students who took part: ‘I especially enjoyed learning about the volunteers, their struggles and how they got to where they are’, said one. Another ‘enjoyed learning about how people began working at Linklaters and what job they had before, whether it was a good career choice’.
Pre- and post-visit questionnaires showed that the proportion of students who would consider working in the City increased from 80% to 95% – a fantastic outcome for young people from an area of high deprivation and youth unemployment.