This article is part of a series on the work of our Secondary Work-related Learning team.
This term, we delivered two different one-day sessions at the all-boys William Ellis School. We introduced around 250 students to 30 volunteers from a huge range of professions, industries and backgrounds.
Our Careers Carousel workshop brought volunteers into the school to talk to students from Year 8 in a fast-paced session of speed networking. Splitting the students into small groups, they had time to talk to each volunteer, learning about their jobs and career paths.
The volunteers were a diverse bunch, employed in sectors from Construction to Marketing, and the students clearly took this diversity to heart: after the session, 87% of students had a better understanding of the range of jobs available to them. One student said their conversations with the volunteers ‘were all different and fascinating experiences’, while another was truly excited by their taste of the world of work: ‘I’m looking forward to my future’, they said.
Special thanks must go out to the volunteers for battling a Tube strike in order to attend: thank you for your perseverance!
Another session, Get Ready for Work Experience, worked with all of the school’s Year 10 students to prepare them for their upcoming placements. For many young people these placements are their first taste of the working world, and sessions like this one ensure that students get as much as possible out of them.
Our long-time collaborators, the actors of Stand Up Theatre, used sketches to bring a range of different scenarios to life for the students, demonstrating the right and wrong ways to react to professional situations. Employee volunteers, supported by the Inspire! team, then worked with the students to explore their responses to the sketches, through roleplay, brainstorming and group discussion.
The feedback proved that the lively day was a great success for all involved. Our brilliant employee volunteers not only felt that ‘all the children got something out of the day’, they also felt that the session was useful for their own development: ‘interacting with Year 10 students was very helpful to improve my communication skills’, said one.
The students got a great deal out of the session as well. One said that they were ‘no longer nervous’ about their pre-placement interview. Another made this lovely comment: ‘Thank you very much for this enjoyable and informative day that has developed my understanding tenfold’. A wonderful endorsement of the programme!
The final word on the session goes to one of the teachers who attended the workshop: ‘Students definitely gained confidence and they are more ready now for work than before’.
We’ve now reached the end of our series highlighting just some of the brilliant programmes delivered by our Secondary Work-Related Learning team over the past term. Lauren Thomas, Senior Programme Manager, had this to say: “The Secondary Work-Related Learning Team have had an exciting and busy summer term. Everyone has worked really hard, making sure our students experience engaging and informative sessions, develop their skills for work and leave their programmes feeling happy, inspired and well-equipped to take the next steps towards their future career choices. Of course we’ve had a fantastic network of volunteers helping us too, and we’re always impressed by the level of enthusiasm and effort they put into supporting our work with young people. Over the summer holidays the team are looking forward to taking stock of our programmes and thinking about how we can make next academic year even better.”
Looking back on the wonderful contributions from our volunteers, the overwhelmingly positive responses from young people and the support we’ve received from school staff throughout Hackney and Camden, all that remains is to say thank you to everyone and to look forward to a similarly rewarding and inspiring Autumn term!