2022 Work Experience Programme
We were so pleased to reopen our work experience programmes this year. Year 12 students participated from Monday 28th March to Friday 1 April, and Year 10, Monday 4th April to Friday 8th April. Despite Covid restrictions 67 out of 125 Year 12 students found a placement, as did 138 out of 242 in Year 10. This is a fantastic effort on the part of students, parents and staff, as well as all the amazing employers that supported our programme by offering a placement.
We are very proud to hear the fantastic feedback from employers. Below are a few comments that were fed back from our staff following a visit or phone call with the student’s employer.
St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School
“Megan has worked brilliantly while on placement. Staff were very impressed by her attitude, effort and work with the students in class. Megan discussed her ambition to pursue a career in teaching so this placement was very well suited for her”.
WH Tildesley Ltd
“Fabulous attitude to work even though only doing administrative work to start, this was purely down to age and the restraints of health and safety on the shop floor. Today he’s doing some design work which Samuel is really enjoying. Overall very pleased with his attitude and effort”.
Acorns Charity Shop
“Contact for the placement could not praise Jasleen enough – said she has fitted in really well with the team and has been a delight to have her working with them”.
“Alex has flourished at his WEX placement and they would have him back again”.
NHS Futures Zone
St Thomas More Catholic School has participated in the NHS Futures Zone work experience programme for a number of years. This fantastic offering gives our young people an overview of the vast array of health-related careers. The intense week is packed full of useful information from a range of healthcare professionals. Catering for a maximum of 12 students the programmes popularity is fierce. All students completed an expression of interest to gain their place.
This year Wolverhampton NHS Trust managed to secure student Midwife Olivia to speak with our pupils. As an ex St Thomas More pupil Olivia participated in the programme herself as a Year 10 student in 2018. Olivia discussed what she gained from the work experience opportunity and her journey to becoming a student Midwife.
The Work Experience Alternative Programme
We partly anticipated it would be more difficult for students to find a placement this year, with this in mind we developed an in-school work experience alternative for students that were unable to source a placement. The aim of this was to ensure all students could benefit from a mixture of employer and career related activity during the week.
Thankfully we had support from some amazing local employers.
Gleeds is a world-class independent property and construction consultancy with over 135 years’ experience. Staff from their Birmingham branch joined us during both weeks to deliver a 2-hour work shop to generate greater awareness of the different careers in construction, and some of the skills and attributes required to be successful in the industry. The teambuilding task required students to exercise their creative, problem solving, and design skills, as they worked together to create a structure out of paper, straws and sticky tape that was strong enough to hold a specific object. The session was fun and interactive and also helped create awareness of career opportunities that our students would otherwise be unaware of.
Midlands Air Ambulance delivered sessions to both Year 10 and 12 across the 2-week programme. Each student received CPR training using medical training dummy’s linked to iPads that allowed for precise monitoring and accuracy during the process. The session delivered to our students used the same equipment the paramedics use to train. Part of the session also involved the bleed control training as well as an overview of typical work carried out by Midlands Air Ambulance Charity.
DIS are a graphics, design, and printing company located in Wolverhampton. They currently have the Wolves contract for marketing and signage. Dave, Sales Director at DIS is also an ex St Thomas More Student. He provided 15 students in both Years 10 and 12 the opportunity to practise their skills using a real project brief. To keep the process from brief to print as realistic as possible students were given a strict deadline to adhere to, just like in real life. Dave visited the school on Monday of both weeks to set students their task and tell them a little about his career journey after leaving St Thomas More Catholic School. He also shared some of the amazing projects that DIS have worked on over the years.
Our students’ brief was to design a megastore, shop window front for the Molineux. The key points stipulated both the Castore and Wolves logo should be present, no prices could be shown, and both the male and female kit should be represented.
After the 2-hour brief students were given an additional 4-5 hours across the week to create their design before their deadline on Thursday. On Friday students visited DIS for a tour of the workshop and to see their designs being printing using state of the art equipment. The experience the students received was true to that of a physical placement. They also got to keep their printed designs as a souvenir. The whole experience was fantastic!
St Thomas More Catholic School and A.F. Blakemore have worked together for a number of years. Following the gap during the pandemic Blakemore were keen to reengage and presented a fabulous in school project as well as offering placements to student on site. The in-school project was a realistically presented problem that many similar businesses are currently facing.
“Create and present a PowerPoint presentation showcasing your ideas on what AF Blakemore can do to be a more environmentally sustainable business.”
Students were presented with the problem by 2 representatives from AF Blakemore on Monday. Beth, the Community and Wellbeing officer, and Darshika, the Environmental Sustainability Manager, started by introducing the company and their different divisions. After presenting the brief students were given an additional 5 hours across the week to prepare their findings. Beth and Darshika returned on Wednesday to support students partway through, and again on Friday to view the student’s final presentations and offer feedback. This was a fantastic project that provided students the opportunity to address real life problems businesses currently face.
The Army delivered sessions both weeks to Years 10 and 12. They had 2 projects, one based on humanitarian aid and the other was to design an army barracks. These were fun teambuilding tasks that gave students ample opportunities to develop and utilise specific skill sets such as teambuilding, problem solving and creativity.
In addition to those mentioned individually we hosted a wide range of other career related activity. See below for a detailed summary of how all the employers and providers above were involved in our comprehensive programme.
- SIPS education delivered a CV workshop to our Year 10 students. The workshop included 3 hours of contact to explore student skills, help them to understand what they must showcase, and construct the CV.
- DWP hosted workshops to both Year 10 and 12 on the local labour market and the skills employers are looking for. This included a mini assessment centre where students simulated how to make a good first impression.
- Talent foundry and the NHS delivered a session titled NextGenNurse to provide our Year 10 students with an overview of careers in nursing.
- Walsall college spoke to Year 10 students about courses they offer post 16. Although we have a highly recommended 6th form provision, we pride ourselves on transparency and ensuring all students are aware of the full spectrum of options post 16.
- Additionally, those interested in engineering were taken to the In-comm training centre in Aldridge for the day. Here they got to explore the facilities, learn about the apprenticeships they offer, and the employers they work with. The day long event also included team challenges related to STEM.
- St Thomas More Catholic school has also been selected to be part of the Try a Trade Programme in conjunction with Amazing Apprenticeships and HomeServe. We delivered sessions to students with an interest in trades during both weeks. This involved an overview of the main trade related careers, we explored the national shortage for Domestic Trades People, and had 2 guest speakers in to support delivery of the sessions. Katiya from the Calriyon housing group delivered a talk to Year 12 about her career journey and dispelling the myth that’s all trade related careers are for men. Year 10 received a talk from Amanda from Juniper Training. This focused on the education side and what a training provider like Juniper can offer if students decide to take up a traineeship or apprenticeship next year.
Lastly we also used career resources available to us to further expand what was on offer during the week. Theses sessions were delivered by STM staff. Below is an overview of the resources accessed.
- Unifrog – a whole school careers and destinations platform for students Sign In – Unifrog
- The Black Country Careers Expo – a virtual take on the traditional Careers Fair with over 72 exhibitors including apprenticeship providers, colleges and universities. Created by the Black Country Skills Factory for students in the area we live. Black Country Careers Expo (blackcountrycareers-expo.co.uk)
- NextGenMakers World of Work Video – this video introduces students to NextGenMakers, a platform that aims to raise awareness of careers in engineering, challenge perceptions of those careers, and connect manufacturers to the best young talent in our area.
- Click here to access the NextGenMakers prospectus http://www.nextgenmakers.co.uk/prospectus/
- Click here to access the NextGenMakers apprenticeship finder https://www.nextgenmakers.co.uk/apprenticeship-finder/
At St Thomas More Catholic School we take enormous pride in our efforts to create opportunities for students to explore possibilities and grow throughout life. A major part of their development and helping them to prepare for a successful future is the opportunity to participate in work experience. Helping to support our young people in their future career choices is paramount, and we are extremely grateful to all that offered their time to facilitate placements or deliver sessions in school.