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Ian Williams’ staff support career planning for young people

Last week, David Sewell, Lou Elliott, Ingrid Nolan, and Paul Claydon from Head Office visited Chipping Sodbury School to participate in a careers event organised as part of Year 10 Work Experience Week. To prepare for the session, students were asked to create a C.V. and covering letter for a job vacancy, before experiencing mock interviews with visiting staff. Although several students were very nervous about what to expect, school staff were able to reassure them the session would take the form of a more general conversation about their aspirations and plans for the future, as well as offering tips and guidance to calm interview nerves.

Ahead of the session, students had met with a school careers advisor and begun to think about their future plans, as well as completing a worksheet exploring their career ideas and evaluating their personal strengths and areas for development. During the session, our staff were on hand to discuss their plans in detail, which the students really appreciated. David Sewell, Finance Director, found the session very enjoyable and thanked the Academy for the opportunity to attend, adding ‘most students had a good idea of what they wanted to do and hopefully they gained something from our chat!’ Also supporting the careers event was Regional Sales Manager Lou Elliott, who found the students eager to participate: ‘They were polite and happy to engage. It was inspiring that the students were thinking about their future career and which direction to take after their exams next year.’

The event also provided a great opportunity for staff who missed out on the previous Future Frontiers initiative to act as mentors for young people, and to offer advice and support based on their experience of the world of work. As Recruitment Officer Ingrid Nolan explained, ‘I really enjoyed the session – most of the children were really nervous but were prepared to speak about “life after school”.’ Equipping students with the skills needed by employers is also seen as vital by school Careers Lead

Tracey Cheverton, who organised student work experience placements in addition to mock interviews, added, ‘A work experience placement is the perfect opportunity to ‘identify’ these types of skills, as they will be more obvious and pronounced within a working environment as opposed to within the classroom setting, but also selling themselves in an interview is a skill we need to develop.’

The careers day was seen as a great success by both Chipping Sodbury School and Ian Williams. Following the event, the school has requested further information on our apprenticeship programme, and we hope to continue working in partnership with the school to provide careers advice and opportunities for young people.