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National Careers Week took place the week starting Monday 6 March 2017. This annual event is used to promote the importance of good careers education in schools. To mark the occasion, St Thomas More Catholic School held a number of workshops and seminars, and invited a number of volunteers from the education, careers and business sectors to talk with students. It was the biggest careers week yet!

David Higgins

The Sixth Form was happy to welcome Professor David Higgins, Professor of Real Estate, at Birmingham City University and past Visiting Professor at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and Xiamen University, China. He spoke to both Year 12 and Year 13 students, giving them an insight into his career within property which spans over 30 years. David provided them with information about his experience working for industries such as: Colliers International, Bayley’s Real Estate, Jones Lang LaSalle and Tyndall Property Fund Management.

The Year 12 business students had the opportunity to engage with the professor in lecture style sessions as well as extremely interactive group discussions. Subject areas which were covered were: property market performance and strategies, property finance/social housing and new concepts of property risk.

Overall, it was a very successful morning and a great opportunity for the Sixth Form to learn more about further education and the possibilities of careers after they complete a degree.

Nova Training Drop-in Interview Session

This training took the form of a drop-in interview session to give advice and guidance to Sixth Form students about interview techniques.

Barclays Life Skills Presentation

Representatives from Barclays spoke with Year 11 students about interview techniques and enhancing their employability skills.

CV Building Workshops

One hundred students took part in various CV building activities during a day of workshops.

RAF to School; IT Support Manager Career Journey

Gary Wood, our ICT Support Manager, led an ‘interactive assembly’ discussing his career from the Royal Air Force to St Thomas More Catholic School. It was a fantastic ‘eye opener’ for our Year 8 students, many of whom incorrectly assume that all staff have only ever worked in schools!

Year 11 Mock Interviews

A cohort of eighty students (Year 11 and Year 12) met with our members of the Education Business Partnership, local businesses and other organisations including Tulip Ltd, Walsall Housing Group, DLH Marketing, Rushall Olympic (a local football team) the Department for Work and Pensions, Shaylor Group, Walsall College, RMD Kwik Form and South Staffordshire Water Authority.

Students had previously completed application forms and curriculum vitaes which included details about their career aspirations. The students were able to experience the opportunity of a ‘real life interview’.

The interviewers were matched to the career aspiration of each student. Overall, feedback from students and interviewers was excellent.

AF Blakemore Assembly and Interviews

Community Affairs Officer, Liz Bell, from well established local company AF Blakemore, addressed the students with regards to work experience opportunities available next academic year.

Liz was also joined by three other members of the Community Affairs Team and led fourteen careers interviews for Year 10 and Year 12 students, prior to the start of our work experience placements during the summer term this year.

Peter Pyne Hair Dressing and Barbering Academy Drop-in Sessions

Visiting representative Sue Crook, from Peter Pyne Hair Dressing and Barbering Academy, invited students to open days in the near future and explained their apprenticeship scheme and the application process.

National Careers Service (NCS) Visit

On Thursday 9th March the National Careers Service came in to take part in National Careers Week by running back to back skills and employability sessions with Year 12 and 13 students.

The plan was for the students to engage in activities that would allow them to put their current skills into practice and develop new skills that they would require for future interviews.

The sessions started with an opportunity for any students to write their name on a blank piece of paper and enter it into a draw, allowing those confident enough the opportunity to take a risk on the unknown.

All students then took part in both individual and team activities including building their CVs using their current set of acquired skills, to group activities which highlighted leadership skills in competitive team games. The management abilities of team captains was put to the test as some members of their team were on secret sabotage missions!

The sessions concluded with a ‘speed interview’ game that included quick fire questions that the student could face during a typical interview scenario. These were designed to identify weaknesses and to also learn from challenges they have faced in their lives.

By the end of the sessions, the students felt that they had improved their employability and interview techniques, as
well as their confidence. Brandon Clarke of Year 12 said: “The employability session taught us how to put a positive spin on our weaknesses during interviews in order to strengthen our chance of employment”. He also added: “The session integrated a combination of Year 12 and 13 students who hadn’t necessarily worked together before to complete activities.”

NCS continued to support our students the following week by delivering assemblies to both Year 11 and 12, advertising their summer skills and activities programme and the opportunities available to our students during the holidays.

Engaging Education

Media Director Greg Bennett visited the school on behalf of the National Careers Week organisation. He interviewed staff and students and took media footage of them engaging in a variety of different activities throughout the day. It is hoped that this footage will become part of the 2018 NCW campaign.

Year 10 Assembly

RAF Recruitment Corporal Sarah McCallum from AFCO Birmingham Assembly ran a ‘drop in’ session with Year 10 and Sixth Form students.