Chamber Brings Together 30 Businesses for School Careers Day

Fri, February 17th, 2017

Students learned about a variety of further education and career options

Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce, in association with Archbishop Blanch Church of England High School, based in Wavertree, hosted their biggest careers day on Wednesday 8 February. The day brought together more than 30 external providers including universities and private businesses. Students learned about a variety of further education and career options as well as valuable insight from professionals.

Eye opening
17 year old performing arts students Jess Taft and Adam Scully agreed that the day had really opened their eyes and helped them to better understand their options.

Jess, who aspires to be an actress in musical theatre, said: “I decided a while ago that I definitely want to go to university, but always thought that would mean leaving home.

Ambitious Jess had considered courses at Salford, The Guildhall and RADA. “Speaking to the universities here today, I have realised that there are lots of options closer to home. It’s appealing as it means less debt and my mum can still do my laundry” she joked.

Adam, who also plans a career either on the stage or building them, added: “I was quite interested to learn about apprenticeship opportunities in construction and carpentry, which could be useful if I choose to go along the stage and set build and design route”.

A breadth of experience
The 30-plus local businesses involved in facilitating the day offered advice and insight into the world of employment.
Vanessa Woodcock, audit supervisor from DSG accountants said: “Today for us is about encouraging students to realise how diverse careers can be.

“Accountancy probably doesn’t sound like an exciting career when you’re 17. But we’re trying to help them understand that it can involve working with some very dynamic businesses, offer job security and a potential to earn.”

Natasha Bintley, corporate business advisor at DSG added: “We’re big ambassadors of apprenticeships at DSG, particularly following the hikes in university fees – it just isn’t a feasible option for everyone.

“Apprenticeships offer flexibility, the potential to earn right away and often a faster route to full-time, paid employment.”

Paul Bibby, managing partner at MSB Solicitors agreed, saying:

“Alternative routes into professional careers aren’t simply something we support, it is something we actively promote. I’m proud that we have been able to support a number of staff through the non-academic route to law – including 3 of our partners.

“The opportunity to be involved today and potentially inspire new generations of lawyers was too good to miss. I’ve been impressed to find students – even the younger ones - asking some very thoughtful questions. I’m also pleased that, Daisy Cooper, Year 11 student from the school is joining us in April for work experience.”

Relatable mates
Archbishop Blanch students also had opportunities to speak to university students Danielle Rawlinson, Christina Rousseva and Maciej Janiak from The University of Liverpool.

Danielle, who is currently completing her masters in Medical Law said: “I remember very clearly applying to medical school and feeling like if it didn’t happen, my world would end.

“It’s so important that young people know that they have options.”

Theoretical Physics student Maciej added: “I think lots of the student have been reassured by the fact that we still don’t know our next step – we still don’t necessarily have it figured out.”

Medical student Christina agreed, saying: “We’ve tried to help them see that their training and education can be applied to help them along various career paths.”

Two-way benefit
Head teacher at Archbishop Blanch, Heather Duggan, said that the day was as much about educating employers as students. She talked about changes to the grading system for GCSEs and highlighted the need for employers to get on board.

“Employers won’t realise that many 16 year olds will be leaving school with a set of numbers now, rather than letters. The new grading system 1-9 is a significant change, and we have a responsibility to ensure that employers are aware of the changes.

“Grades now start at 1 and work up to 9, with 9 being for exceptional performance. It’s a sort of swap and reverse – and something employers need to look out for when reviewing applications.”

Summing up the day
Heather added: “We really do find careers days incredibly valuable – and this has been our biggest and best yet.”
“University isn’t a realistic option for everybody now – added to that, we’re moving at an increasingly faster pace now, and so it’s not always an attractive option in any case. It’s so important that our students know about other options.

“Apprenticeships arguably offer a much more immediate route into employment, with more flexibility and cash in their hand. Working with the Chamber has really helped expose us to those organisations who may provide opportunities for our students in the future.”

Deputy Head teacher, Vicky Ellis added: “The atmosphere has been great today, there’s plenty of chattering, lots of questions and lots of smiles. I know the students have really enjoyed the day and have benefited from having all the information there in front of them.”

Joyce Youds from Young Chamber said: “The preparation the students have had has made the day more worthwhile for everyone involved. Armed with the right questions, the students have been able to really engage employers and I’m sure everyone feels it’s been very rewarding.”

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