Having recently joined Wellingborough School, I am delighted to be the new Head of Careers. I have enjoyed a varied career, with jobs including legal secretary, chamber maid, hospital administrator, radio promotions and double glazing sales. My longest role was within Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’s Education Department, where I managed all Higher Education courses and looked after the work experience, internship and gap year students. This sparked my interest in helping young people find their ideal career path, which led me to becoming Head of Careers at Berkhamsted School and, ultimately, here to Wellingborough School.
What is the purpose of the careers department?
The aim of Careers at Wellingborough School is to provide all-encompassing, effective and stable careers support which helps to raise the aspirations of our students throughout the entirety of their school career. Our hope is that we help students to become flexible, dynamic, resilient, innovative, proactive and collaborative in order to thrive in workplaces, or to create work for themselves.
To achieve this, we aim to address the needs of each student, by providing them with enriching career and educational related experiences and support, to ensure they are fully equipped with the information to enable them to make informed decisions about important life and school choices.
The majority of schools have a Careers Department, sometimes it is a responsibility taken on board by one of the teachers as opposed to a dedicated member of staff.
Do most students know what they would like to do after school?
There is a huge mix; some know from an early age, others have a range of potential careers in mind, some are keen to join their family businesses and others have no clue at all – all of whom I can help with providing resources and tools to help them identify their next steps.
I will be working with students from Year 7 and joining selected PSHCE lessons throughout the Senior School. I meet individually with Year 11 and Year 12 and by request with Year 13 students. Students will also engage with me at options evenings, open days and at the events that I run. I engage with parents, teachers and students and am here to support the whole school community.
What sort of support do you give?
Students are given the tools to research careers, higher education institutions, courses and apprenticeships that may be of interest to them in order to make informed decisions. I also help with CV and cover letter writing skills, with any applications that students may be writing, interview skills and share current opportunities for Insight Courses, apprenticeships, university taster days, work experience and online resources.
There is the more traditional university route, vocational colleges, apprenticeships, degree apprenticeships, school leaver programmes. Some choose to go straight into working life and other entrepreneurial students may choose to create their own businesses.
Do you help with UCAS applications?
I am not so heavily involved in the final UCAS applications – this is the work of the Head of Sixth Form, Headmaster, Tutors and Heads of Houses. By working on CVs with the students, I start to pave the way for them writing their personal statements, by helping them to identify their transferrable skills, work experience and listing their achievements and interests.
Do you give support on how to get into specific areas?
Our careers platform, Unifrog, is a helpful tool in getting the students to think about different careers areas that may fit with their chosen GCSE and A Level subjects. Students can also explore their personality types and interests by way of quizzes that can also help them to think about what type of career may suit them best. With so many growing career areas that did not exist even five years ago, for example, technological and green careers, students are often discovering areas that they have never heard of or thought about.
Do you have any events planned?
We will be running an apprenticeship evening for students and parents from Year 11 to Year 13 in March, an exciting programme of Careers Lunches which will be starting this term for students from Year 11 to Year 13. The Medic Portal has recently run a very successful interview practice session for our Year 13 medics who are now in the process of being interviewed by medical schools. Our Careers Convention will take place in November 2022 where representatives from higher education institutions, employers, apprenticeship providers and gap year organisations will be there to give advice and guidance to our students and for those visiting from other schools.
Do you help with work experience and when is that?
Year 12 are due to go out on work experience in July 2022 (COVID permitting). With the current work from home guidance, it is hard to judge whether this will indeed be possible. There have, however, been some great developments in the virtual work experience area which means that students can still experience what it would be like to work in a particular field and see if it would spark their interest even from a distance.
What is your favourite part of your job?
It is a privilege to be able to support the students in making their first steps into the working world. Students have shown so much resilience in the face of COVID and it is great that resources and technology are enabling students to fill what could have been a skills gap with exciting new opportunities.
Find out more about Wellingborough School on 01933 222427 or visit Wellingborough School