Hilary Tait, Head of Careers at La Sainte Union Catholic Secondary School in Camden
As I’m sure you are more than aware, the careers ‘landscape’ is undergoing a period of change, which offers tremendous possibilities for the young people in our care. However, this in turn creates huge moral pressure for us as a school to provide the right support for students to navigate these opportunities with increasingly limited resources in terms of teacher time, money and centrally provided support.
Whilst visiting speakers are a great asset, and we are fortunate to still benefit from excellent Careers Advice and Guidance from Camden Connexions, it is also really important to have subject staff who know something about the realities of relevant careers in their own department. From our internal evaluation, backed up by the external studies, we have established the strong influence of subject teachers on our students’ career decisions and clearly this must not be ignored – we intend to embed careers across the curriculum and throughout the school.
Fortunately, we have found an excellent way of getting teachers to think about how their subject relates to careers.
We are using Central Careers Hub and sending relevant teachers to their career sector lectures and update events. These half day events which focus on particular career sectors such as Engineering, Finance, Theatreland, Art and Design and NHS for example, are attended by relevant curricular staff.
Even the very best teachers are overstretched, and can be resistant to leaving school for training. However, after the first members of staff attended the lectures a positive buzz spread through the Staff Room and more staff are putting themselves forward for the lectures as they see the benefit of being able to underline the relevance of their subjects to the real world. A simple, unannounced walk through our Year 9 options talks a few months ago enabled me to witness subject leaders using the knowledge from the lectures to talk to Year 9 students about the various career pathways leading on from their subjects. Needless to say the pupils were listening, hard!
We intend in the very near future to build on this new interest and goodwill to feed into in-house staff INSET and curriculum development, which we are now confident will be positively received. That’s why we think training our own workforce is so important and why Central Careers Hub is so helpful. There is no way we could acquire the same contacts or knowledge of the labour market or achieve the same result with the time and resources we have available internally.
Here are some of the comments from staff who attended events at Central Careers Hub:
Finance Career Sector Lecture: “Very useful information, gives you knowledge to inform students”
Art and Design: “It is so long since I had to think about working in Art and Design, this was really helpful”
Theatreland: “Emphasised that while getting into acting is really difficult, there are opportunities on the technical side”
Enterprise in Schools: “Ideal for taking ideas straight back to school to work on immediately”
Careers in Tech: “The new Careers in Tech Matrix provides a great way to demystifying the Tech industry. Plan to adapt the presentation and pass to other IT staff and students”
We have more staff due to attend events at CCH in the future. We are genuinely hoping that CCH continues in its goal of linking Teachers as well as Careers Advisers to opportunity providers so that young people make more informed decisions.