“Authentic, real-world learning” and “insightful” sessions – get inspired by recent school activities

Exploring ways to inspire and inform your students this summer term whether they’re still in school or off timetable? Look no further – here are some fantastic examples from fellow schools who have organised motivating careers sessions with our diverse range of volunteers. 

Pupils at Kemnay Academy in Aberdeen explored the fashion and beauty industries in their project-based learning, and so the school arranged an activity to address the questions, ‘What makes Fashion Fashionable? How are people impacted by Fashion?’ The school was joined by Jamila, Founder of makeup app Slapp which promotes inclusivity in the beauty industry.  

This was a great way to meet Gatsby Benchmark 4, linking curriculum learning to careers. Hear from the teachers about their activity and the impact it had: 

“In Kemnay Academy, our pupils engage in project-based learning experiences through their Interdisciplinary Learning (IDL) projects. Through these projects, pupils make connections from learning across their different curricular areas and learn knowledge and skills in a variety of different ‘real-world’ contexts.  

“The meaningful engagement with business and community links brings authentic, real world learning and a greater understanding of the world beyond school as pupils develop their skills and experience for learning, life and work. 

“Jamila has really helped our pupils to understand the Fashion Industry and the opportunities within the business by sharing her own experiences with them.  She has inspired and informed our pupils in the IDL project they are working on and also prepared resources for us to use in class. Thank you Jamila, we just wanted to let others know what great interactions and support our pupils have received from you!” 

– Mr Cameron MacKenzie (PT Curriculum) and Mrs Chris Dunhill (BCSO) at Kemnay Academy 

Jamila talks to students about her career via Microsoft Teams 

Students at Notre Dame RC High School for Girls heard from two exciting guests in the world of entrepreneurship: Kike Oniwinde, CEO and Co-Founder at Black Young Professionals Network, and Oliver Pawle, Chairman at Korn Ferry. The two guests took part in an interview on what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, before answering further questions from the students including, “What advice would you give to your 15-year-old self?”, “How did you find studying maths and further maths at A-Level?”, and “When you feel unmotivated, how do you bounce back?”. 

Four volunteers streamed in to chat to young people at Burnt Mill Academy in Harlow as a way to give Y10 students purpose to their learning: Robert Halfon, their local MP for Harlow, an Aircraft Engineer, a Cyber Security Certification Specialist for the Civil Aviation Authority, a CEO of a Biotech company revolutionising cancer therapy. Each speaker discussed their roles and personal journeys, and answered questions from the students.

Key advice from the volunteers included: 

“Things always turn out alright in the end – speak to your friends, speak to your family, and don’t bottle it up inside you.” 

“These people are just like you – they don’t come from fancy backgrounds, some are more academically bright than others, but all of them have chosen to give their lives a really good go and take the opportunities that come along… There’s lives out there for all of you if you want them.”

In other activities… 

  • Loreto College in Manchester put on their Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure industries session, with volunteers including train driver Emily. The teacher commented, “Fantastic event, our guest volunteer Emily was insightful and inspiring. Our students particularly enjoyed being able to ask Emily questions in the Q&A part of the session.” 
  • Year 12 students at Folkestone Academy in Kent took part in a Degree Apprenticeship Insight talk with a focus on the finance sector. 
  • Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School for Girls in London organised a mock interview workshop, ‘Presenting Yourself’, for year 11 pupils. Guests interviewed the students in groups and gave constructive feedback. 
  • The Bournemouth & Poole College organised virtual careers talks with professionals in the creative industries as part of their Virtual Work Experience Week, providing inspiring work-related encounters in lieu of physical work experience. 
  • Aquinas College in Stockport arranged an innovative Virtual Speed Networking event for aspiring engineers. 
  • Year 9 and 10 students at The Bemrose School heard from NHS workers during their virtual event, where they guessed the roles of the volunteers before gaining insight into their careers. 
  • Leeds City College put on a Career Insight Talk for Cabin Crew and Aviation Students, with a real range of volunteers from the industry. 
  • Students at Barking & Dagenham College in London had generated business ideas as part of their enterprise programme, and prepared a pitch to share with a panel of volunteers – ‘potential investors’! Volunteers from a range of sectors observed the pitches and gave the students feedback on their ideas and presentations. 

What’s next? 

Would you like to support activities and inspire children in your local area and beyond? Log in or sign up to volunteer now.