Career Footsteps at Aycliffe Secure Centre

Career Footsteps finished this academic year’s series of events with a visit to Newton Aycliffe, home of Aycliffe Secure Centre. A secure environment for vulnerable children aged 10 to 18, Aycliffe Secure Centre welcomed volunteers from the world of work to talk to the students there about their jobs and show them what they can aspire to.

The average stay of a student at Aycliffe Secure Centre is four to six months, and there they have access to 25 hours of education of week.  In such an environment it was an important location for Career Footsteps to make its presence and to give these students access to enrichment opportunities. The day focused on employability and building the students understanding of what opportunities are available to them.

Students had the opportunity to talk to volunteers from a wide range of careers and discuss the pathways into employment that are available. In the speed networking session students spoke with volunteers from UBS, the NHS, Eldon Financial, Baines Jewitt Princes Trust, HMRC and many more.

After a brief break the students then took part in three workshops. They explored the world of tax laws, and debated whether Jaffa Cakes are cakes or biscuits, with Hilary Bevan. Fun fact: they are classified as cakes. They learnt about the apprenticeship routes available in the HMRC with Lesley Smith, along with the perks available to staff including £2 monthly gym memberships. With Dorothy Parkin, former International Examinations Inspector for the University of Cambridge, they learnt about the importance of building their resilience and power to continue regardless of set backs.

The students enjoyed hearing about careers first hand from real people from the world of work. Student Feedback included:

“I liked listening to the volunteers talk about their careers”

 “It was interesting to see hear that you can change your career”

“I want to do an apprenticeship, but I liked the lady from the tax. Seems like it might be a good place to be”.            

The participating volunteers were pleased to have taken part in the event, with one commenting:

“On a personal level I am so glad I volunteered for this one as it gives a different perspective and certainly provides lots to think about and challenges us to be more understanding.”

Career Footsteps was delighted to have the opportunity to help support students to reach their aspirations, no matter where they are. Career Footsteps is a programme run in partnership with the Edge Foundation that aims to open students’ eyes to the wide range of routes they can take into the world of work with a focus on vocational and technical paths. Find out more here, and if you took a vocational pathway into the world of work and would like to inspire the future generation to consider the same sign up at the top of the page.