Students given access to the experts

By Anita Jaynes on 19 January, 2015

The call for companies to play more of a role in the academic arena has been gathering momentum in recent years. “The British Chambers of Commerce survey of 3,000 firms, found nine out of ten thought school leavers were not ready for employment, and more than half said it was the same with graduates.” A report out September last year from the National Careers Council highlighted a lack of consistency and availability in schools for career advice.

An event to tackle this, providing the students a chance to quiz professionals and obtain tailored career advice is being organised by Villiers Park Educational Trust in Swindon, which works with able students from less advantaged backgrounds helping them develop a passion for learning, reach their full academic potential and raise their aspirations. Around 200 students in Years 10 to 13 will be taking part in the event. The advice given will provide students with a focus; in the younger years it helps them choose relevant A-levels, in later years it helps them choose their university degree and overall guide them towards a profession of their choice. The event involves students from 6 participating schools, one of which, St. Joseph’s Catholic College, will play host to this inspirational event on Wednesday 11 February.

The panel includes a diverse set of professionals from industries such as Nationwide, Network Rail, Swindon Council, Intergraph, National Trust, and many more. The professionals will give advice to students on what their role involves and what they can do to make sure they are on route to a career in their field. The Q&A will be chaired by James Phipps, successful entrepreneur and founder of Excalibur Group. He was Wiltshire Business Person of the Year in 2011 and 2012 and finalist for the IOD South West Director of the Year and Innovative CEO of the Year 2013 at the Business Excellence Awards.

“We found the career event last year benefited the Scholars, encouraging them to think and discuss their career aspirations and this year we wanted to open it up to more students. These high ability students may one day be battling it out to gain a job at one of these organisations; all of them have exemplary qualities. It is good for the organisations to see the talent of the young people in their local area.” Commented, Jeremy Reynolds, Scholars Programme Director