Leaving school, and entering the world of careers can understandably be a source of worry for older pupils. Facing the prospect of the ‘real world’ after school is of course a challenge, but it should be one that young people are supported through and prepared for.
At Albyn School, there is a comprehensive program of career support in place to ensure that our pupils can confidently leave us with the life skills necessary to succeed in the modern world of work.
In this blog, we speak to some of our teachers to find out how they support our pupils to develop these career skills.
Danny Yeates, Head of PSE & R, told us about the broad spectrum of citizenship initiatives Albyn School has in place to prepare pupils for success after school.
“Across the school, we have Personal Social Education (PSE) and Civics as our key citizenship programmes, where we teach a wide range of different topics and skills to prepare pupils to succeed in the world both during and after their time with us at Albyn.
“In PSE, pupils cover topics including healthy relationships, mental health, disordered eating, preventing extremism and discrimination, while in Civics they cover issues such as consent in relationships, illegal drug use, alcohol awareness, safe driving, financial matters, gambling, sectarianism and much more.”
“Each topic that is taught in these programmes has its root in one of our four key life skills – citizenship (respect for diversity, empathy and participation), learning, (creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving) employability (cooperation, negotiation and decision making) and personal development (communication, resilience, self-management and self-care).
“Through these key skills, pupils can and will develop the ability to thrive in the world and enable others to do the same.”
Practical life lessons
Albyn also has in place a range of lessons and resources to support pupils on a practical level for post-school life. Dr Allan Girdwood, Head of Classics and Director of Senior Studies, explains what these are.
“Building a CV and cover letter are covered in the U6 Civics programme, along with advice on applying for jobs and attending interviews.”
“Alongside this, there are lessons on building real life skills such as basic finance, and we welcome outside sessions on this from financial institutions when circumstances permit.”
“Our pupils are also encouraged to take part in lots of activities beyond the classroom and take on roles of responsibility, for example in groups such as the Cubs, to help develop transferable skills that will be valued by employers in the future.”
“Adult life is different from school. School pupils operate in a protected and directed environment, and while some cope extremely well with the shock of autonomy post-school, for others it can be a struggle. At Albyn, we try to bridge the gap and better prepare our young people for the next very important step in their lives. Schools need to work together with parents, carers and the pupil’s home culture to prepare young people to have the resilience and ‘soft’ skills to navigate a complex world.”
Deciding which career path to follow
For young people, it can be especially difficult trying to figure out which career path to follow once they leave school. Head of Careers Susan Prentice explains how we help pupils to navigate the endless career options and decide what could be best suited to them.
“Our junior school pupils take part in various career-related activities. In U1, they carry out a careers research task, producing a fact file on a career of their choice. This introduces them to various reliable sources of information. While in U2, pupils are given advice about subject choices and the relevance these may have to future career plans.
“U3 pupils take part in ‘Take Your Child to Work Day’, giving them a chance to experience a real workplace. During the lockdowns, they were instead asked to carry out an interview remotely.
“U4 pupils complete the Morrisby psychometric careers profiling tool and have an individual interview with an external careers adviser. They are also advised about the options ahead of them in terms of further/higher education and the world of work, along with making their subject choices for U5 and U6.
“The U5 and U6 pupils are encouraged to organise and undertake work experience in their holiday time. They also have input in Civics time about the broader skills employers are looking for and how they might be able to develop those while still at school. Extensive guidance and support are offered for university and college applications.
“Various careers/university speakers/former pupil/visits are arranged throughout the year and we have run a few larger-scale careers events in school over recent years.
“Pupils in U3 – U6 are all members of the Careers team which is used to pass on details of the many career insights, work experience and university opportunities that come into school. They are encouraged to take responsibility and sign up for anything that interests them – there has been a huge increase in the virtual opportunities available over the past year which is great and helps widen accessibility.
“Our careers office operates an open-door policy and pupils are welcome to come and ask questions at any time (and they do!).”
It takes a village
At Albyn, we know that preparing our pupils for life after school is a full-team effort – so many people are involved, not only our staff and pupils, but our wonderful community of parents and carers too.
If you’d like to find out more about registering your child at Albyn or joining us at our next Open Day on Friday 11 June, please click here for more information and how to apply.