Tag Archives: careers

KS4: Work Experience and A-level options

Here is the KS4 Assesmbly powerpoint about Work Experience (year 10s) and Options (year 11s). Also here’s the picture slideshow from before it.

Yeah, I realise it’s only the pictures you’re interested in 🙂

… but joking apart, they contain some interesting ideas. Enjoy.

Remember, the message of all this is: be prepared, be thinking about these issues and moving them along even when we’re not focusing on them in PSHE or tutor time.

Year 10s will be told when Mrs Russell wants to see them again; year 11s will need to come and make their own bookings in the black folder just inside my door. These bookings might be best saved until nearer the options choice, but take it whenever you want it – you probably only get one meeting, so use it well!

US universities – open invitation event

If you are seeking entry to the US university system within the next 2-3 years, you might want to attend this forthcoming event. Not only will you be able to meet representatives of a broad range of excellent universities, you will be able to hear the system explained to you from first thoughts through to final stages of application.

This is not just relevant to year 13, but years 11 and 12 as well – if you are thinking of entering the US university system, go along and hear about it!


A-level options evening

Here’s the powerpoint for year 11s from today’s assembly, on how the options process works for A-level. Look particularly at the first “Careers issues” page, which gives you some sense of how certain subjects link to certain careers.

Remember that this is just the first, cursory, overview summary of things. Much more detail will be available from Miss Kelly in the Options Evening this coming Wednesday.

In addition – book a slot to come and chat privately to me about your options before then. You don’t need a concrete idea what you want to do in order to have a Careers Support Meeting – in fact, they’re often just a chance to think aloud with a trained adult as a sounding board for your ideas.

Your parents – as I will say frankly to them at the Options Evening – are both the best, and the worst, source of advice. They have oodles of knowledge about their industries, the process of applying for and doing jobs, the ability to construct a career, the sense of what real companies need, and the real-world practicalities about salaries and living costs. At the same time, their knowledge of the education system is often very much out of date, gleaned from (politically biased and misrepresentative) newspapers, and whilst they are usually excellent judges of you as people, may not always be a good judge of you and your prospects as a student. It’s critical to talk and listen to them – but with a pinch of salt, and combine their advice with teachers and near-peers in older year groups.

Above all – come to the Options Evening, and make sure your parents come too. See you there.

Year 10 Careers workshop – Smart People Coaching

For those year 10s taking part in the workshops from “Smart People Coaching”, the category lists from the RIASEC self-assessment test you did recently are in this file.

On page three of the file, you can also find the two weblinks that you were shown – check them out before the next workshop.

Careers news: uni figures, temp conditions, rating degrees and careers advice

Here’s a quick gathering of recent news in the Careers field.

Firstly (unsurprisingly, in the year fees have rocketed up) the number of applicants to UCAS has fallen noticeably. Don’t get too excited – it’s not fallen by the amount youth unemployment has risen, and a degree’s not a meal ticket any more. Unsurprisingly, given that getting a degree will now cost you a quarter of the value of a house in some parts of the UK, students will increasingly see themselves as customers – which explains why Which has decided to starting rating and ranking uni courses in the UK.

However, note the rise of temporary / agency work. More and more jobs and companies are taking workers on only through agencies. This rather nasty trick is to ensure they don’t need to give them normal employment rights. Even when the EU has passed a law to give most normal employment rights to temporary workers, it turns out big companies like Tesco are asking their staff to waive their new rights – the implicit threat being no waive = no job. Don’t end up in agency work if you can avoid it. It’s slavery by another name.

At the other end of the scale, you might like to look at the Telegraph’s top ten best-paid jobs in the UK. It’s a bit of a nonsense because (a) it massively underestimates some at the top of the list, (b) it ignores self-employed in some of these fields, who tend to earn more, (c) it’s all about being “top” of the organisations they name which, whilst nice, is not a realistic aim generally – you should expect more to be a successful middle-ranker and check those typical salaries.

Lastly and definitely not leastly, it turns out that people like me are not totally useless after all – while there is an ongoing rise in online or telephone careers advice, it seems some people are missing the personal touch of a Careers advisor in their own school. Don’t forget to book a meeting to come and talk to me about your future if you like. You might like to tell the Guardian about what you think of careers advice.

ISCO / Futurewise evening

Thanks to all those who came to the ISCO / Futurewise evening the other night with Martin Minshall. (That link will take you to the website.)

To find out about signing up and payment arrangements, please see Miss Pennock.

If you weren’t able to attend but are interested – ISCO is a careers advice website with very, very in-depth resources and we recommend it to all KS4 students and up: click the link above to have a look around. A one-off fee is applicable but the support includes online and telephone support and advice right up to age 23. See Miss Pennock to sign up.

BBC3 “Up for hire”

The savvy may have noticed that BBC3 (with BBC Radio 1) are running something called “Up For Hire“, asking whether business takes young people seriously and gives them the chance they deserve.

Worth having a glance through if you’re interested in young people’s careers.

2 Million Minutes

2 Million Minutes, that I told you about in KS4/5 assembly, is a programme about the amount of time in total that American Seniors have in High School – basically, year 9 upwards. It compares two able children in each of the US, India and China and what they’re doing to make sure the have the best qualifications and break into the career they want.

You can watch the much-reduced summary videos on YouTube: part 1 and part 2, totalling about 15 minutes.

It’s worth bearing in mind not just the moral point (how lucky you are to be born where you were, to parents with a decent income, and attending a well-resourced school with excellent standards, highly qualified staff and small classes – most of the world does not have this) but also the sense that

  • if you’re not careful you’ll waste these natural advantages of incredibly supportive teachers – do you really think any employer is going to give you second chances at homework, 6 weeks’ close support to do a personal statement or tolerate poor work? bosses won’t be as forgiving or supportive as teachers
  • whilst young people in those other countries don’t have anything like the advantages you do, many of them – many millions of them! – realise that education could be their only route out of poverty, and work incredibly hard for it… are you sure you’re working as hard as them?

We don’t want you to be terrified of the career market, or think you have no future. You’re bright, engaged young people with great prospects. But don’t sleepwalk. Step it up.

It’s grim, but here’s the facts about the job market

I really do wish I didn’t have to bear this kind of news, but don’t shoot the messenger.  Students thinking ahead to careers need to realise they’re looking at a very, very bleak jobs future. Here’s a summary of some recent Telegraph articles to this effect.

With an ever-increasing number of potential employees holding good degrees, it’s worth noting that the degree is no longer a meal ticket to a good career – rather, it’s the bare minimum and you can still end up in low-paid jobs with a degree. This is particularly the case since the recession of 2007 –>, with some reliable workforce analysts speculating that the UK jobs market won’t recover for nearly a decade-and-a-half. Meanwhile, low- to middle-paid earners (the majority of the population) have seen their share of national wealth (and their prospects of social mobility) fall dramatically in the past few decades: women and those without well-off parents to support them early in their careers have been especially hard-hit.

In one article particularly worth reading in full, it notes that two-fifths of all employees are over-qualified for their job and that, despite a massive skills shortage in the UK, employers still feel there is a poor match between the skills of candidates and jobs available. Depressingly, even being very qualified can leave you without a post, even after lots of successful career experience – the moral of the story here is that qualifications are the bare minimum for success, and you will also need to be able to market yourself well to potential employers. Soft skills like salesmanship, personability, and initiative are critical: the world is not waiting to give you a job – you have to go after it yourself.

On the brighter side, here’s a lovely short slide show of ten major growth industries for the next couple of decades – careers you should really be considering as a student now.


Careers services for young people being scrapped

Let’s be blunt: you’re in competition with your peers. For university places, for apprenticeships and internships, and for jobs – and you will be for years to come. If you’re better informed and prepared than them, you can and will do better; if they’re better prepared and informed than you, you should worry.

It’s cruel to say it but consider this:

This is an advantage to you over your peers / competitors in other schools around the globe… but only if you USE IT. Come and talk about Careers, and start planning well, and early.