Mr Duff, Head of Sixth Form at Bethany School, gives an update from his department including his philosophy on the ambitions of pupils and how Bethany School helps them to become reality.
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. Although a pandemic and two periods of ‘remote learning’ has made the traditional route of exploring careers through guests speakers and physical work experience challenging, it is not impossible.
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 choice. In the past academic year we have had Falmouth University, a local apprenticeships recruiter, Kent and Medway Medical School and Gap 360 to name but a few. During the Easter term the sessions have covered the following:
This ‘Year 12 Team channel’ has also been populated with remote work experience opportunities, virtual careers fairs, virtual UCAS university fairs and virtual apprenticeship Q and A sessions. Therefore it is clear that although lockdown and Covid has evolved the nature of careers support, the national picture is that the support and opportunities are still out there for the proactive so our pupils will be able to stand out nationally when applying for their next steps after Bethany when all too many will be playing the “I couldn’t get work experience due to Covid” card. Indeed conducting apprenticeship/university fairs virtually certainly makes a lot of sense on many levels, so I have no doubt that this is an evolution that is here to stay.
A platform we use to support all pupils is ‘Unifrog’. All pupils from Y7-13 have an account which they can access through its website using their school e-mail address as a username – www.unifrog.org/sign-in. The name of this careers platform is slightly misleading as it covers so much more than universities as the screen shot demonstrates.
As a school, we have incorporated ‘Unifrog’ into the PSHCE curriculum from Y7-11, 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 pandemic has thrown 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.
By Mr Duff
Head of Sixth Form