National Careers Week and National Apprenticeship Week 2018 5th -10th March

In order to celebrate National Careers Week and National Apprenticeship Week 2018 5th -10th March we invited a range of external speakers into school to raise students’ awareness of the range of opportunities open to them beyond school and to develop and widen students’ aspirations.

An organisation called Ahead Partnership were invited in to facilitate an interactive employer panel and year 7 students were given the opportunity to ask the panel of employers a range of questions about their career paths and to find out more about labour market intelligence and growth sectors. Year 8 and 9 students had an introduction to Higher Education from the University of Leeds and were also introduced to Degree Apprenticeships. Year 10 and 11 students were given an overview of apprenticeship opportunities from the National Apprenticeship Service with a focus on new apprenticeship opportunities particularly around Higher and Degree apprenticeships.

In addition, a wide range of opt in lunchtime sessions were offered, for which year 11s were given priority but which was also opened up to other year groups where possible. Medical Student Ambassadors from the University of Leeds came in to talk to students about the realities of studying Medicine at university. We also had representatives from the University of York and the University of Huddersfield who had stands in the Swann Hall and were on hand to answer enquiries from any students. The University of Newcastle upon Tyne came in to deliver workshops about STEM Careers and Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Careers. In addition we invited in a STEM Ambassador and 2 young people who are Apprenticeship Ambassadors from Yorkshire Housing, one of whom is a female Apprentice Surveyor and one young person who is doing a Business related apprenticeship.

York University came to Heckmondwike to deliver an excellent session on Higher Education to our Year 10 students. York University gave a very inspiring talk to our students on Higher Education, they outlined how higher education works, how university life is structured, how students are assessed, how the costs can be managed and how well supported students are by the university. Our students gained an excellent insight into the large range of different university degrees they can undertake and learnt how they can choose to study individual subjects or combine various different subjects. They learnt how York University degrees are structured through a combination of lectures, seminars, lab practicals, workshops and tutorials. Our students learned about the life skills they gain from university degrees as well as the employment skills that are needed for the workplace. Our students learned about the earning power university degrees provide, they also gained valuable information on how students are provided with excellent careers support in sourcing good graduate employment opportunities. Our York University Ambassador spoke to students about their collegiate system and the benefits of it, such as the excellent pastoral support. They outlined to students how they support every single student and endeavour to include all students in various social activities which are completely different and separate to their academic studies, hence promoting a good healthy academic and social balance. This was an extremely inspiring and informative talk that gave our Year 10 students some valuable information that will contribute to them being able to make fully informed decisions about their futures.

National Careers Week activities were very successful and in spite of snow disruption on several of the days before and one day in between 167 students booked onto optional lunchtime sessions and many more also talked to the university representatives in the Swann Hall and attended careers related assemblies. One comment from an employer on the year 7 employer panel was ‘I had a great time at your school, what a wonderful group of young people.’ Some feedback from students from the week were ‘I have learnt that no matter how hard something is you have to be resilient and persevere’ and another student commented ‘I’ve learned that you need to follow your passion and you’ll find a job that suits you’. 92% of students who answered a survey about the week said that it had made an impact on raising their awareness of the different types of career opportunities open to them in the future. The students have also suggested lots of career related activities which they would like to have in the future, so we are looking forward to offering some of these soon!