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Stepping towards success

CAREERS FAIR: A Virgin rep speaks to students

DESIGNED TO be a positive source of motivation, information and choice for young people, the Careers Awareness Fair held by Skinners’ Academy for Year 10, 11 and 6th form students in north and east London was deemed a resounding success by students and exhibitors alike, with one student describing it as “life changing”.

The event featured 14 universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Coventry, SOAS, Portsmouth, Westminster – as well as 25+ international and local businesses / organisations including Virgin, the NHS, Accenture, Hackney Empire, The Learning Trust and many more. Also on hand were on-air talent Gavin Ramjaun from ITV’s Daybreak; Harriet Prest, Sky News reporter and author of 3 Steps to Success, Raphael Mokades.

With the current jobless total for 16 to 24-year-olds hitting a record high of 991 recently - a rate of more than one in five (21.3%) and in a climate where words / acronyms such as “NEETS”, “recession” and “unemployment” dominate the news agenda – feedback indicates that forums like this are much needed and there was a positive buzz from all involved.

Jenny Wilkins, Principal, Skinners’ Academy said: “At this time, it is important that as a community, we are working together to increase the confidence of today’s students when it comes to their future career
prospects.

“I had a real sense of community atmosphere at the careers event as it was not only attended by our students, but also those from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, City of London Academy Islington, Islington Arts and Media School, Highbury Fields, Our Lady’s Convent and others. We need to remind students that whatever the economic climate, they can succeed in their own journey, through hard work and determination.”

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THE STUDENT PERSPECTIVE

By Ockeisha Grant, Skinners’ Academy 6th Form Student

THE CAREERS awareness fair from my prospective was a very successful day. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and I am sure many other students at the academy agree. I got the chance to meet so many people from different organisations and also I got help and advice about how to be successful, what grades I need to go to different universities and help on how to progress towards what I want to do in the future.

I have gained so much more knowledge and understanding about universities and different jobs that I did not have before and I am now looking forward to the future. I would recommend going to a careers awareness fair because it is so helpful and you get gain so much from it. Before the fair I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and now I know exactly what I want to do, therefore I’d recommend it to others. I have spoken to many friends about the day and the majority of the feedback indicated a similarly positive experience.

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Feedback forms indicate Ockeisha’s experience was not unusual. According to students, highlights and benefits of the event included “speaking to university representatives and gaining an understanding of how to apply”; “helping me with choosing the different career paths from one of my favourite subjects”; “meeting and speaking to the journalists” and “getting to hear what professionals and graduates had to say about careers”.

A Year 12 student noted that before the fair her confidence, when it came to knowledge about different career industries options, was one out of 10. After the fair she felt that had risen to a 10 – describing the event as inspiring, interesting, motivating, educational, inclusive, empowering and positive.

This would not have been possible without the organisations who recognised the importance of taking the time to inspire today’s students.

Amy Newnham from Degrees Ahead, an organisation that informs students about study opportunities abroad said, “The event increased student awareness about what they could do after school. I thought that there was a good mix of groups attending the event and thought that the students engaged well in the programme on offer on the day.”

Sabina Mitchell, Tax Manager, Virgin Management agreed, saying: “The fair was a great success and a fun and enjoyable experience. I enjoyed meeting the students and talking with them about their future prospects. I would be interested in participating next year because I feel that it was a useful way to inform the young of career opportunities in my industry and within my company.”

Jessica Cleverly, a recruiter for global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company Accenture gave the event an impressive nine out of 10 regarding how successful the event was from her perspective – as she realised her objectives of raising the company’s profile amongst students and to inform them of their Horizons gap year scheme and potential career opportunities at Accenture.

Raphael Mokades, Managing Director of Rare, the UK’s leading graduate diversity recruiter, and author of ‘Three Steps to Success,’ said: “It was a fantastic honour to be asked to speak about my book, ‘Three Steps to Success’ at the Skinners' Academy Careers Awareness Fair. Taking those first few steps into the world of careers can be pretty daunting. Part of the challenge is a personal one: believing in yourself and taking control of your own destiny. Another part of the challenge is learning the rules – as I said to the pupils, ‘If you want to play at Wimbledon, you’ve got to wear white.’”

Susana Giner, Director of Youth Media Agency, participated in the event with the aim of engaging with young people interested in getting in the media; providing young people with a portrait photo for their career made by Young Creative Associate (Alexander Hannon); to create a film of the event – directed by young people; and to network with other organisations – and considered these aims fulfilled following the event, saying

“I thought this career fair was the best fair I have EVER been to. Myself and the young people I took along had a fantastic time and valuable time. We enjoyed the networking opportunity.

“Both the staff and the young people involved in organising the event were also professional and accommodating… We even recruited over 15 young people to the YMA to help them with Media Opportunities – which is FANTASTIC.”

All students who responded to the event evaluation agreed that “Following the careers event, they feel better equipped to make decisions relating to further education and career goals” – an excellent basis upon which to look forward to the next one!

Why not attend Skinners’ Academy 6th form open evening on Monday 21st November 5pm – 6pm

For more information, contact Harvey Byram, Director of 6th Form on hbyram@skinnersacademy.org.uk

For more about the next careers awareness fair, contact Gina Visram on gvisram@skinnersacademy.org.uk or
visit www.skinnersacademy.org.uk