Younger years focus on the future with eye-opening ‘learn to earn’ workshop and careers advice from alumnae

Younger years focus on the future with eye-opening ‘learn to earn’ workshop and careers advice from alumnae

23 May 2023

Mrs Maria Young, Head of Higher Education and Careers

Taking advantage of the end of most internal exams, there has been a welcome opportunity for students in Years 8 and 10 to focus on the future.

On Monday 22 May, Year 8 spent an inspiring and eye-opening morning with the Young Enterprise ‘Learn to Earn’ team.

They began with a ‘dream future’ exercise, to identify how much their annual salary would need to be to fund aspects of their lifestyle they consider essential. Having set down the annual costs they thought appropriate, the resulting figures ranged from £100K to several million pounds. They then learned about the actual cost of living luxury or more economic lifestyles, taxes, mortgages, utilities etc and balanced this figure against their initial thoughts: a very revealing exercise indeed!

The students also reflected on what success would look to them individually, with answers ranging from ‘inner happiness’, ‘making a difference to others' lives’, ‘having a happy marriage’, ‘working hard to achieve my goals’ to ‘doing exactly what I want’ and ‘being rich’.

Year 8 next had the opportunity to investigate progression options into a range of careers, find out what the work involves, see what starting salaries look like and how a salary rises with experience. This was a definite reality check for many, with particular shock expressed at the modest salaries of many important roles, for example, government ministers. After a lively game about how to progress on the career ladder – and discovering the possible setbacks – the morning finished with everyone interviewing and being interviewed for a variety of roles, learning how to present themselves in the most positive way and what expectations an employer might have.

Year 8 took part in all activities with genuine enthusiasm, and we were pleased to see students’ understanding of the world of employment grow rapidly over the morning. They went away thinking carefully about preparing for their futures, and how they might make that ‘dream career’ a reality.

Year 10 took part in a Careers Panel event on Tuesday 16 May, as part of their THRIVE curriculum. They met four alumnae, virtually, who gave them a short summary of their life from Woldingham’s Sixth Form, at university and how they had progressed to their current roles. The alumnae – Katherine Bubbear, Lucia Keijer Palau, Olalade Phillips and Sarah Crothers - are relatively recent graduates and their careers encompass acting, investment management, executive recruitment and careers management/coaching. The real benefit of the session was the opportunity for students to ask questions and garner useful top tips to find and seize opportunities, plan but remain flexible, have a ‘side hustle’, deal with setbacks and build strong networks. As Year 10 starts to consider A Level choices and beyond, this session gave the students some very useful advice to help them make the most of their future options. Their Morrisby test profiles (after half term) will be another extremely useful tool to help them make informed decisions about next steps in both the short and longer term.

Next month, once their summer exams are finished, Lower Sixth students embark on their higher education conference, where they will learn how to make an impactful and successful personal statement (completing their first drafts), begin the UCAS application process, hear from recent alumnae and get their top tips for university success, learn more about gap years and degree apprenticeships, and receive a session on managing finances at university.

We will also offer Lower Sixth parents a session on the university application process, including the reference reforms for 2024 and information about student finance. The HE Conference takes place Wednesday 14 to Friday 16 June. We ask students to avoid university open day visits during that time.

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