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Sixth Form students explore City career options

Hackney sixth form students descended on London’s Guildhall to find out more about opportunities for further study and employment in the Square Mile.

‘Careers in the City,’ organised by Inspire! with funding from the Hackney Learning Trust, offered young people the chance to meet representatives from a range of employers and educational institutions. The event was hosted at the magnificent Guildhall, courtesy of the City of London Corporation.

Many of the employers present, including BarclaysErnst & YoungDeloitteSchroders and KPMG, offer a range of opportunities for school leavers. These include apprenticeships, training schemes and the chance to study part-time for a degree whilst in paid employment.

Some ice-breaker activities helped the students relax, get to know some of the exhibitors and test out some of the qualities and attributes that employers look for. A ‘helium’ stick exercise required them to work as a team to lower a stick using just one finger each whilst good communication skills were needed to describe a shape made from Lego bricks so that the rest of team could duplicate the object without seeing it.

The real business of the day saw the students visit the various stalls hosted by the business volunteers. Jo Margrie, from Hackney Learning Trust, said she hoped the students would discover that there were a variety of different options open to them after sixth form. “I hope they see that if they don’t go to university, then there are other routes into a career and that they meet people today who have achieved a good job via a non-university route.”

Neil Cooper from Deloitte was one such example. “I’ve been at Deloitte for two years now and I didn’t go to university. I was happy to come along today as I feel it’s important to engage with young people of this age.”

Sarah Evans, Hannah Palumbo and Phoebe Ward from Barclays were promoting the scheme that they are currently involved with – studying for a degree in Leadership and Management whilst working at Barclays. “We have the best of all worlds,” said Hannah. “Barclays sees us as future leaders. They pay for our degree course which we study for part-time plus they pay us for working, so we get to spend some time as students and we work at Barclays too.”

Bridge Academy students Blessen Opoku and Trenay Watkins were impressed by talking to staff from IT and business service provider, Agilisys. “They were really easy to talk to and gave me some good, really positive information,” said Trenay, who has his sights set on a career in IT.

BSix Business Studies student Annette Asumwe was keen to leave no stone unturned. She is interested in marketing but happy to keep her options open. “There are new things happening all the time so I really enjoyed going round and chatting to everyone to hear what they had to say.”

The sixth formers who attended the event came from the BridgePetcheyMossbourne and Clapton Girls’ academies and BSix Sixth Form College.