Step up to careers

Loredana Roberts, Director of Global Learning & Communication for Gumley House School FCJ, recently run their annual sixth form careers event.

How do you incorporate employer engagement and careers education into your students’ learning?

Employer engagement is critical.  The scope we provide for students includes:

  • Careers events
  • App design projects with companies such as Amazon Web Services
  • Conferences
  • Workshops with Southbank’s Women of the World
  • Initiatives that are leading on improving gender balance in the STEM and finance industries, such as the Lord Mayor’s ‘She Can Be’ campaign
  • Internships
  • Apprenticeship provision, as more companies embark on combined study and employment schemes.

Inspiring the Future provides an amazing range of individuals across many private and public sector organisations.  It has also enabled our school to achieve quicker access to a broader range of specialists in their fields.  As an example, our recent sixth form careers day resulted in support from a Global Marketing Director and a Casting Director, both of whom brought a new perspective to the event.  In both cases, it was the first time we had been involved with these types of businesses, which was really inspiring.

What impact were you looking for by running this event?

At Gumley, we understand the importance of engaging with professionals and industries to ensure our students are experiencing current market intelligence in addition to developing relevant global skills and competencies.  Jobs are constantly being created and evolving.  Therefore, the most expedient way to stay informed of these market changes is to interact directly with employers.

Step Up To Careers is an annual event.  It comprises of a wide range of employers, each implementing a series of two 45 minute workshops on a rotation basis.

Our student evaluations show that their learning is broader and deeper through this format.  They increase confidence levels, too, through direct employer engagement with some students also gaining work experience placements through this initiative.

How was the event received by your students?

Students scored the event very highly on all issues, from increased knowledge to feeling inspired and enjoyment.  Through the research we conduct, we can also assess that students attain a much improved understanding of the variable study to different careers, the type of training development provided by companies, and the scope of roles in any one organisation (the latter is always a real eye opener for them).

What was the impact of the event?

Prior to identifying employers for our careers events, we evaluate students’ study and career interests, applying that information when establishing which employers to seek.  However, we also target additional sectors that don’t feature in the data, to ensure students continue to broaden their knowledge of the range of industries and roles.  As the saying goes: ‘They don’t know what they don’t know’ and unless we are providing that expansion, students’ aspirations and knowledge cannot increase.

Inspiring the Future particularly helped with the latter aim, as Christie’s Auction House or an Acting Casting company is a typical example of a business/industry that would not necessarily appear on a student’s future career list, but these employers certainly opened them to new possibilities.

How are you going to deepen this impact?

We have clear goals that include:

  • Increasing the frequency and diversity of career events
  • Continuing the development of internal and external employer engagement
  • Building on industry sector priorities, such as TECH Field
  • Building on sectors that are driving improved gender balance
  • Aligning our evaluations and measurements with the Gatsby Benchmarks
  • Continuing 360 degree assessments, as this also helps with employer retention

What are the benefits of using our online platform?

  • Great scope of professionals and organisations to work with
  • Enables efficient and quick access to experts in their fields
  • Increased learning for staff as well as students, as we discover more about different industries and roles
  • Identifying sectors is very easy and helps the school to link into specific curriculum subjects, topics, or initiatives
  • Employer profiles are really valuable if you are aiming to secure a particular role or responsibility level

Thank you Loredana for sharing your school’s experience with us and providing so much information about how you run your events.

If you would like to organise a similar event for your school, register with Inspiring the Future to start inviting volunteers and to have access to loads of resources to help you plan for your event.

Alternatively, you can contact us by emailing