South Tyneside students brush up on career choices

Pupils at South Shields School take part in a diversity event.
Pupils at South Shields School take part in a diversity event.

Hundreds of youngsters at a South Tyneside school have been learning about the world of work.

The students at South Shields School, some as young as 11, were given an insight into paths to successful careers around the globe.

South Shields School Year 11 student Jordan Kwok, 15.

South Shields School Year 11 student Jordan Kwok, 15.

Around 600 pupils met employers, talked with college staff and developed their employability skills as part of a diversity day.

Twenty-six employers peeled back the layers of a variety of jobs and professions and helped students consider how to improve their interview techniques, communications and enterprise skills.

South Tyneside College and Marine School staged workshops whilst Year 9 students took part in a ‘speed-dating-style’ careers event.

Youngsters were given a taste of further education and training options and took part in quizzes to see the type of career that might suit them best based on their skills and personality.

It is a really good idea to stage a day like this at school as it gets us in the right mind-set for interviews

Jordan Kwok

The diversity day was part of a five-year careers programme designed to help students appreciate the range of opportunities available to them and secure rewarding jobs.

Assistant headteacher Ali McIvor-Cross said: “It can be really daunting for young people when they approach the end of their school days to think about the next step. We believe it is never too early to start, which is why we involve our Year 7s.

“The support from business and other agencies has been fantastic and I was immensely proud of how our students committed to the initiative and very impressed with their attitudes.”

Year 11 student Jordan Kwok, 15, said: “I learnt a lot from the mock interviews. They went smoothly enough when I was answering questions, but I hadn’t considered what to do if they asked me if I had any questions for them.

“I didn’t know what to say, which was awkward, but I will be better prepared next time.

“It is a really good idea to stage a day like this at school as it gets us in the right mind-set for interviews we may have in the near future in the workplace or further education.”

Work-based assessor at South Tyneside College, Vicki McQueeney, said: “It is a big thing for the school to stage something like this and it has been a huge success. It is vital investment in the future of these children.”

Emma Vickers, of the Legal Aid Company, added: “It is a great opportunity for us to explain to students the opportunities available in the Civil Service, particularly around paid apprenticeships which lead to guaranteed jobs.

“We were able to offer hints and tips to improve their interview techniques and also break down perceptions that just because their family may not be in employment it doesn’t have to be that way for them.”