Empowering Students through Careers Education

In times of COVID, where would you find all these people together at the same time? A BBC news producer, an engineer, a doctor, an author, teachers, a banker, a policewoman, a cinematographer, personal trainer, agriculture and landscaper, university student, an accountant, a local newspaper editor, RAF personnel, professionals in marketing and PR, recruitment, occupational health, logistics, retail and business, travel industry, childcare, hair and beauty, horse racing and breeding, and Army working dogs?

You may not find them in the same room but they were all part of three virtual careers sessions attended by over 750 Catmose College students. This event was an idea posed by our careers team, with the assistance of parents and links within the local community, and came to fruition as part of the National Careers Week.

This eclectic mix of speakers spoke with Key Worker students in College and via Teams to those working from home. Our students heard different ways to get into various industries, and potential career and training routes. A unique chat area was set up so students were able to ask questions of the speakers. One teacher said what “a great chance this was for the students to ask real people real questions” and that “some of the questions were very searching”.

The theme for National Careers Week was Empowering Positive Change Through Careers Education. Although careers information is discussed in class as part of the curriculum this event gave students the chance to listen to specialists in their field. The careers team put on this event to inspire our students to think ‘outside the box’ and reflect on the different opportunities that exist for them. In feedback, over 98% of students said they were satisfied with the event.

A parent said, “I just wanted to thank you for today’s talks. All three talks that my child attended gave them some hints about options for the future. I am especially thankful to the author for her advice and tips to budding writers. I went home today to find my child working on a chapter of her book. It was heart-warming to see that little spark of inspiration. Sometimes, all these kids need is the permission to dream big… and if it comes from someone who had the courage to do it themselves, even better!”

We thank all the speakers for giving up their time to share their work experiences and knowledge with our students as well as the support from our staff who moderated the sessions and the IT team who assisted logistically and allowed the ‘magic’ to happen.

As part of our careers programme we work towards Gatsby Benchmarks, which has been developed to give schools a framework for good career guidance. We are therefore able to provide students with the best possible careers education, information, advice and guidance. Part of our programme involves keeping parents up-to-date with details of post-16 options so they can have relevant conversations with the children and notify them of local labour market information. We send a termly careers newsletter to parents where we highlight local apprenticeship vacancies as well as the National Careers Service website, which is available for all adults in helping them find work or training.

We are always looking for companies or individuals who want to work with our teachers and highlight their knowledge and real-life experience within lessons. Those who are interested should contact us at careers@catmosecollege.com.