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Careers support during Covid-19: This week’s blog from Simon Duff, Head of Careers

At Bethany, the philosophy of the Careers department is that it is a collective responsibility of all teachers and parents to inspire pupils to fulfil their ambitions and just because we are in lockdown, it doesn’t mean that this responsibility has to be put on hold. Indeed the @BethanyBusiness Twitter account has been busy tweeting out careers related posts during these surreal times.

In the sixth form, pupils have a weekly careers lesson entitled ‘Project Horizon’ where guest speakers from all walks of life present to try to inspire pupils in their career choices. In the past academic year we have had a speaker from Falmouth University, a local Apprenticeships recruiter, an American University spokesman, a cyber security industry expert and an Allied Health Professional representative to name but a few. During lockdown, this provision has been conducted remotely using Microsoft Teams via a pre-recorded lesson posted every Wednesday during tutor time from 8.30 – 9.00am. These sessions have covered the following:

This ‘Team channel’ has also been populated with remote work experience opportunities, virtual careers fairs, virtual UCAS university fairs and virtual apprenticeship question and answer sessions. Therefore it is clear that although lockdown has changed the nature of careers support, the national picture is that the support has evolved and opportunities are still out there for the proactive. Indeed, one wonders if some of these evolved changes may well stick in the future; conducting university fairs virtually certainly makes a lot of sense on many levels.

A platform we use to support all pupils in regards to careers is Unifrog. All pupils from Years 7 to 13 have an account which they can access through its website using their school e-mail address as a username. The name of this careers platform is slightly misleading as it covers so much more than universities as the following screen shot demonstrates. As a School, we have incorporated Unifrog into the PSHCE curriculum for Years 7 to 11, and subject staff/tutors are encouraged to utilise it at every opportunity, be it via the CV building tool, or simply to demonstrate what careers are available in the world of Geography for example. We also thoroughly encourage parents to log-in and explore!

It is a tough job preparing pupils for an ever-changing workplace, and arguably jobs that don’t exist at the minute – never mind the extra hurdle that the current pandemic throws in the way. However if teachers, tutors and parents are all encouraging a proactive approach, pupils can take these ‘virtual’ opportunities in both hands and continue with researching and fulfilling their career ambitions.