For anyone who follows me on Twitter @EnterpriseSBox or other Social Media, it will not be a surprise to learn that last week (4thto 9thMarch) was National Careers Week across the UK.
We thought it was going to be a big week – according to web visits, downloads and some of the interactions on Social Media (NCW started on Twitter after all and that’s the main place for gathering and sharing news and information) – but nothing could have prepared us for just HOW BIG the week turned out to be.
Nick Newman, the CEO of NCW spoke at our launch event at the Houses of Parliament and kicked off the day by celebrating our past year’s success and toasting our sponsors and participants online and in person throughout the year since #NCW2019…Nick also spoke about our new video channel and also the importance of supporting young people in as many ways as possible.
Our Headline Sponsors RBS Early Careers have been with us for more than 5 years and at the launch in the Houses of Parliament Sandra Beattie the Head of early Years at RBS highlighted the success of the young people on their graduate and apprenticeship programme. Her message for everyone was Stop and think once in a while, Focus on what you want and then Take Action to make sure you move towards your career goal.
We were also lucky enough to hear from one of the RBS Apprentices, Jody Tebbutt, who outlined the faith the bank has had in her and what amazing experiences she’s received as being part of a supportive scheme.
The launch in Portcullis House was hosted by Emma Hardy MP and attended by Robert Halfon (ex-Skills Ministers) both of whom outlined the importance of quality careers advice, meaningful work experience and adequate funding.
Emma Hardy pointed out that we in the UK are very good at putting our achievements down – ‘Oh I’m *just* a Manager’ or ‘Oh I’m *just* doing a PhD in educational philosophy’ – we need to eliminate JUST from our vocabulary because it diminishes our skills, our confidence and our ability to promote our skills and attributes.
Robert Halfon in his role as Chair of the Commons Education Select Committee made a number of salient points about the importance of joined-up careers education and online materials and activities to promote equity in careers guidance. The standout phrase Mr Halfon uttered was: “Poor careers guidance is the enemy of personal fulfilment” – if you don’t know what’s available to you, you can’t aim for it.
We heard from the brave and beautifully spoken Junior Leadership Team from St Stephen’s Primary School – four Year 6 pupils who spoke passionately and eloquently about how meeting people from different roles and careers helped them to see what their futures may look like…already their aspirations included an aerospace engineer and a doctor. It is NEVER too early to picture your future!
Hilary Tait is a French language teacher from La Sainte Union School in Camden and she brought a sixth form student along who spoke movingly about the changes he has made in his life with some careers support and guidance after some poor GCSE results. The support he received has helped him to believe in himself, focus on his future, secure a university place and change his Linked In profile to proclaim he is ‘the Best Student in the World’.
Hilary, for her part, spoke chillingly about the challenges her school faces – not just poverty, lack of opportunity, affordable housing and high numbers of pupil premium students – her borough is the one where students are more likely than in any other area across the country to be stabbed…the air stood still for a few seconds.
Some of her students are scared of their streets and are limited in their mobility on a day to day basis…without a compelling future to focus on danger and distractions are everywhere for her students. Mrs Tait also spoke about applying locally for some funding to pay for a dedicated careers support officer two years…she decried the fact that this was local to Camden and that sufficient ring-fenced funding was not available to support their students in perpetuity.
We heard from sponsors and supporters BeReady, Careers in Racing, Careers at Sea, The Careers and Enterprise Company, Stephen Logan from Malet Lambert School and The CBI.
Notice how the messages from the partners involved are consistent – support, help, guidance, experiences, skills – and the word PARTNERSHIP came across strongly on the day and, WOW, was it evidenced throughout the week? Just cast your eyes down the @CareersWeek Twitter or Instagram feeds to check out the official hashtag #NCW2019 on those platforms…the variety, depth and quality of experiences educators and employers put on for young people of all ages and abilities is truly inspirational. It’s this inspiration and support we encourage and receive back that makes us even more determined to grow the power and reach of National Careers Week in #NCW2020.
Finally, at the House of Parliament Launch, I spoke about why NCW works, why it’s free for schools and pupils to use, how our supporters and sponsors love to get involved in supporting young people and teachers and, of course, Sending the Ladder Back Down…which I am going to make sure is the theme of everything we at Innovative Enterprise and, hopefully National Careers Week for #NCW2020 too.
Are you with me?
If so, email me and get involved with us here at Innovative Enterprise on info@Innovativeenterprise.co.uk or contact the National Careers Week team through the Twitter page.