The world of work is changing at pace. We know that the need for essential skills, those highly transferable skills that are demanded for almost every job, will continue to grow. Supporting learners as early as possible to connect with the world of work and build their essential skills has never been more important.
Our employer partners support our mission by helping students across our national network of partner schools and colleges on a programme with us link their essential skills development with the world of work.
The Career Insights virtual sessions are designed to inspire and motivate students, as they learn more about the workplace, various industries, our volunteers’ career journeys and the crucial role of the essential skills.
On October 12th and 13th, we delivered 15 sessions, impacting over 300 students from various age ranges, and engaging schools and colleges across the UK. We were grateful to hear inspiring career stories from 80 volunteers from our employer partners in various industries including finance, law, retail and construction.
Career Insights sessions: why they matter
Expanding students’ horizons and making the essential skills tangible
Our Career Insights sessions offer students a unique opportunity to understand the role of essential skills in the workplace. They learn to apply essential skills and gain insights into how volunteers from our employer partners use these skills in their careers and everyday tasks. These sessions also encourage students to reflect on their learnings about the world of work, the various possible career journeys, and the skills necessary for success.
They maintain the links between essential skills taught in classrooms and their real-world applications. Students get a chance to broaden their exposure to different companies and job roles.
We know schools relish the opportunity to take part in those sessions, which are highly impactful for their students. Some quotes from students included “I learnt that there was a job called a data scientist" and “I found out about lots of different jobs and the skills you need.”
Providing the opportunity for volunteers to reflect on their essential skills
Employees that volunteer to take part in those sessions benefit from these sessions as well. They have the opportunity to reflect on their own essential skills and how they use the skills on a daily basis at work, applying the Skills Builder Universal Framework. During the session, they practice and apply speaking, listening, and leadership skills as they explain their roles, share their career stories, answer students’ questions and provide advice.
For our employer partners, Career Insights sessions also provide the opportunity to increase awareness of their sector and to dispel misconceptions about jobs within their companies. These virtual sessions open doors to establish connections with schools locally and nationally, and inspire students across the UK.
Standout topics and highlights from the sessions
Students were particularly interested to hear about three key areas:
The essential skills
Classrooms taking part learned about various jobs and the essential skills required in the volunteers’ roles. They realised the importance of continuous skill development and sought advice on how to enhance their essential skills. For example, a lot of students wanted to know more about the role of creativity in various professions.
The volunteers' jobs and careers
Students were curious about the career paths of volunteers. They asked about the number of jobs they had, their dream jobs, what inspired their career choices, and even their first jobs. These questions provided valuable insights into the diverse experiences of the volunteers.
Their interests also extended to the companies where volunteers worked. This led to detailed answers about the different opportunities within those companies, expanding students' horizons and understanding of the corporate world. One student asked two volunteers from Lloyds Banking Group who had worked there for 34 and 36 years: "What have you done during your time at Lloyds?", which led to two incredibly detailed answers about the different opportunities they had taken.
Volunteers also shared their thoughts and experiences about the Career Insights sessions:
They left inspired by those sessions: "I'm passionate about helping the future generation develop their skills and gain awareness of various opportunities available to them, and this was a great opportunity to do so."
They enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on their career paths and to share the learnings (and mistakes!) they had along the way to help students starting out on their own career journeys. They were impressed with the quality of questions from the learners, and confidence when some of them stood up and came up to the camera to ask their questions.
"The moderation was spot on, and I appreciate the diversity in skills, discipline, and career experience of the volunteers. I imagine the different perspectives were valuable to the kids."
As a parting gift, we asked volunteers to share their top piece of advice:
One volunteer said, "Be kind, be happy and follow your heart" and another one encouraged students to “Keep learning and be yourself.”
Career Insights sessions serve as a bridge between education and the world of work, helping students develop essential skills and providing them with valuable insights into various career paths. These sessions not only benefit students but also employers and volunteers who are eager to make a positive impact on the future generation. We're grateful to all who participate and look forward to many more successful Career Insights sessions. Thank you!
Get in touch
If you are a school or college not currently working with us, please take a look at the Accelerator programme. Applications for 2024-25 will open in February 2024!
If you're an employer who wants to raise the profile of your business whilst supporting skills development, we'd love to hear from you! Please reach out to email@example.com