The pupil experience of Careers Education benefits from a whole school approach where every teacher and department provides a wealth of experience and opportunities to connect pupil learning to the world of work. At the heart of the school’s vision for Careers Education is the hope that pupils will identify their interests, skills and aptitudes in order to open opportunities for their future studies and possible career pathways. The Careers Department, teachers and Tutors work closely with pupils and their parents to establish a strong relationship for guidance that enables pupils to make informed decisions about the subjects they might choose to study at GCSE, AS and A2 level and the courses they may choose to pursue in Further and Higher Education. These opportunities are complemented by a virtual Careers Fair, a Biennial Careers Taster Evening and links with the Careers Service NI.
Pupils in Years 8-12 take part in a Careers programme delivered through Learning for Life and Work and in Sixth Form it is delivered through the Pastoral Programme and timetabled Careers classes.
Key Stage 3
Through LLW, pupils research various job roles. They examine what ‘Transferable Skills’ are and they identify and reflect on their own skills and qualities. This enables them to investigate which skills and qualities are needed in different jobs.
Pupils examine what it is like to be an entrepreneur. They investigate famous entrepreneurs and discover the challenges they face. Year 9 also looked at different job types and work patterns in NI. In Year 9, pupils take part in a Careers event in St George’s Market organised by 4CUR Future, an industry-led social enterprise, where they engage in employability skills with companies such as Fintru, Almac and Allstate.
In Year 10, the focus is on employability skills. The pupils work to identify their skills and qualities. The Careers Department works with pupils to provide advice and guidance on GCSE choices. This starts with a Careers Information Assembly for pupils followed by time in LLW classes to research different subjects and Labour Market opportunities and trends. Individual interviews with pupils and parents to discuss GCSE choices and options are organised. All pupils receive a Year 10 Choices Booklet in which every department give details of their subject at GCSE, how it is assessed and the potential career paths related to their subject.
Year 10 have a session with GCSE students to discuss the different subjects they study to help them make informed choices.
As part of the ‘Miniversity’ week, students have the opportunity to visit Queen’s University Belfast and University of Ulster to meet lecturers in various departments. They then research degree courses they might be interested in, and the programme culminates with a mock graduation in the Courtyard.
Key Stage 4
Through LLW, Year 11 pupils look at recruitment and selection processes for jobs. The main focus in Year 11 is work experience with students undertaking at least one virtual work experience and culminating in the World of Work Week in June when pupils are encouraged to get into the workplace for three to five days. Visiting speakers and businesses such as Survitec also provide valuable workshops for pupils during the year.
In Year 12 pupils examine opportunities for self-employment. The Careers Department works closely with Careers Service NI and each pupil receives an initial interview with a Careers Officer, followed by further interviews if required. A Careers Information Choices Morning for pupils is held with guest speakers speaking about Labour Market tends and employment opportunities. Subject Information Assemblies are held for pupils, giving them the opportunity to hear about the new subjects on offer to pupils at A Level. Year 12 have a session with A level students to discuss the different subject they study at A level.
In Year 13 Careers classes, pupils have the opportunity to explore post-18 options. They spend time exploring degrees they might be interested in, the A levels required and the degree content in different universities. They also start preparing their university application form. A major emphasis is also on preparing for virtual work and real work experience. All Year 13 pupils complete at least one week’s real work experience which helps in their decision-making process for post-18 options. All students are encouraged to participate in at least two virtual work experiences facilitated by Speakers for Schools. Year 13 Medical applicants participate in a virtual Work experience with the Belfast Trust. All those interested in Allied Health Professions, participate in a virtual work experience hosted by the NHS.
All those studying related subjects attend an Engineering workshop hosted by Survitec.
Students attend talks from University of Galway, Liverpool John Moore, University College Dublin, the Scottish Universities as well as QUB and UU and local Further Education colleges. Past pupils deliver talks on Oxbridge. Students have the opportunity to take part in the Oxbridge Summer Schools and Cambridge Masterclasses. All students attend a UCAS convention when they can talk to Higher Education providers throughout the UK and Ireland.
Students participate in QUB and UU Open Days in Year 14.
Interview Skills Day takes place in January, during which all year 14 students are interviewed by an employer in NI and given detailed feedback. They also complete aptitude tests organised by Eye4Education.
Mock MMIs are held for Medical, Dental, Veterinary, Midwifery and Nursing applicants. Mock interviews for Oxbridge and teaching applicants are also held.
Students have the opportunity for onsite visits to companies such as Fintru, Survitec, PWC, KPMG and Deloitte.