Careers Event at Christ Church, NW3
Develop a greater understanding of available career choices
Raise the children’s aspirations
Develop pupils’ knowledge of particular careers
Chance to interact with a range of professionals
What were your reasons for doing this development work?
This event gave the children the opportunity to learn about a range of careers. It was a chance for them to further develop their understanding about the need for commitment, focus and drive so to enable them to gain experience and knowledge to move forward in their areas of interest.
They truly appreciated the opportunity to engage in a mature learning experience and to interact appropriately with a range of professionals.
Who were the identified target learners?
Our year 5 and 6 children along with a year 6 class from a local school who joined us for the morning. This is an event we hold every 2 years and due to this we feel it is important to include both year 5 and 6 so they all have this valuable opportunity.
What specific curriculum area did you intend to have impact on?
PSHE – ‘preparing pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life’.
How were you intending to improve pupil learning?
We wanted the children to become aware, be inspired and motivated about the exciting opportunities that lay ahead.
To encourage them to think about other career paths that they may not have previously thought about.
What were your success criteria?
The primary aim was to allow the pupils to learn about some of the various opportunities available to them for the future. Speakers were asked to share their knowledge and experiences. The wide number of delegates provided an opportunity for the children to have a glimpse of the tremendous array of career opportunities open to them and help them to begin to understand the process of considering career choices.
What did you do - what teaching approaches did you use?
After a teaching session on career opportunities we asked the children which career paths they were interested in. Using this list, I contacted a range of local businesses and also sent a letter out to all the parents asking for their support.
Once all responses were returned I asked children to identify their selection through ranking – they were guaranteed one of their top three.
After allocating the children to four speakers the children were asked to write down appropriate questions to ask the professionals they were going to listen to.
I managed to secure a wide range of careers – 25 in total (Police, School Nurse, schools and teachers programme organiser at the British Library, Engineer, Finance, Vet, Estate Agent, Chef, Conservation, Programming, Radio Therapy, Managing Director, Conservator/Restorer, Psychiatrist, Art Director/ Designer, Facilities Manager, Fashion Buyer, Freelance journalist, Intellectual Property Barrister, Project Manager, Chef.
What specific teaching resources did you use?
The speakers arrived with a range of resources to support their sessions. They were given a free reign but visual prompts were encouraged. Many had prepared work on laptops/ PowerPoints along with actual objects to touch and use. The engineers, for example, set the children a problem-solving activity which really made them work together and they were fully absorbed in the session.
Outcomes and Impact
What has been the impact on pupil learning?
The children thoroughly enjoyed the experience. They were confident to ask questions and listened to answers attentively. It stimulated their thinking and made them look at the wider picture. It is easy to become influenced by those adults around you and what they do, this was an opportunity to find out about the unknown. The children shared what they had learnt with their peers This gave others the opportunity to hear about careers they had not been selected for during the careers morning,
There were many positive comments from the children in their feedback forms which clearly showed their appreciation of the opportunities the Careers Morning created:
It was fascinating.
It was inspirational.
I enjoyed the participation and interactive activities.
I learnt about some very interesting jobs.
I met lots of people with interesting careers.
There are loads of opportunities ahead of me.
I had a taste of the interesting things that others do.
I enjoyed it because it gave me an opportunity to learn about jobs I didn’t know even existed.
I enjoyed learning about all the different parts of the job.
What is the crucial thing that made the difference?
The support and time the speakers gave –they did this solely for the rewarding experience of working with our children and possibly the refreshments provided!
The opportunity for the children to talk to real people about their day to day tasks and what they enjoy/find challenging gave the children a real feel to what may be ahead of them. Many shared with the children their career paths and this gave the opportunity to realise that there are, for some, many steps before they reach their desired career.
What would your next steps be?
Start to look at a range of professionals beyond those of our parent and the local community to further extend the breath provided. It would be a great to ask the children to formulate the letters to send out so that the invitation for our event came from the children themselves – this would also encompass some literacy work on letter writing for a real purpose.
If another individual or school was attempting to replicate this work, where should they start?
Ask the children about their interests.
Use the parents’/ governors’ expertise.
Open this up to the wider community and beyond.
Give the children the opportunity to attend one of their top choices.
Ensure the children have a clear programme of events for the morning so they know where they are going so to ensure fluid movement at change over.
Ensure the children come prepared with questions and can feed back their new knowledge to their peers
Provide refreshments (for the visitors and children)
Don’t make the sessions too long – 35 minutes with 5 minute change over worked well.
Small groups of children – approximately 6.
Screens to divide the room where possible.
Room choices appropriate to noise/activity that the participants are planning.
Offer up resources – pens paper, laptops etc. and ensure they have identified what they need prior to the day so this is all prepared.
Have one person floating to ensure everyone is in the correct place.
Ask the children for feedback after the event and feed this back to the participants – they loved hearing how much the children gained from their sessions.
What would be the essential elements to include?
Ensure there are enough spaces around the school – possibly arrange for one class to go on a trip so freeing up another classroom.
Use of teachers and TA’s so that visiting professionals are never alone with the children – we had at least one member of staff in each room at one time. Adults were rotated so they had the opportunity to hear a range of speakers.
Ensure professionals allow enough time to set up, we had a few issues with IT which could have been sorted beforehand if they had been able to pop into school the day before so to make sure presentations etc. were compatible with our computers. Many brought their own laptops which worked well as long as they were able to log on to our Wi-Fi.