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World of Work days offer students a glimpse of the future

WOW! Year 10 and 12 students have taken part in three days of World of Work workshops and activities this week (July 12-14) with over 26 local industry partners!

Students worked alongside inspiring business volunteers in a group of activities which helped them discover more about themselves and develop key skills valued in the workplace.

Monday saw Year 10 complete the Young Enterprise Launch Pad challenge, where they worked in teams to launch a fledgling business, balancing a budget as well as creating a brand identity and a marketing strategy. Students learnt about the importance of teamwork and the different roles that contribute to a business. The activity was supported by seven industry volunteers.

Meanwhile, Year 12 had the choice between four different two-hour workshops, either with Reading Scientific Services Limited (RSSL) who ran an experiment to produce aspirin; BMW who ran team-building activities based around creating landmarks out of paper in teams; DP Architects who delivered a chair design workshop, with our assistant principal Jennie Thomson being invited to test the creations at the end; and Mel Gladwin holding the Vortex Bid Workshop, where students learnt how to bid for a cyber-security contract.

‘The BMW [session] opened my eyes to what employers want from apprentices and taught me that qualifications and work aren't everything. Your personality and soft skills are the main thing that make you stand out from the crowd’

The workshops were followed by two hours of speed networking with 11 of our amazing Alumni. Imashi Panditha (nutritionist for the NHS); Adam Taylor (motorsport engineering graduate); Amy Reeves (NG Bailey); Jordi Orwin (cyber-security and forensics student); Jordi Clancy (Worley Parsons); Becky Morris (AWE); Hashim Khan (Cisco); Rhiannon Dodson-Edwards (Cisco); Frances Dresser (3D design student); Sam Batting (kitchen designer); and Owen Tivey (Royal Navy) spoke to groups of students for eight minutes each as the students sought to find out certain bits of information about each Alumni. Only six students managed to get all the answers!

The day ended with an interactive talk with Charlie Hiscox from Usports, about entrepreneurship and how he uses LinkedIn.

On Tuesday all students followed the same programme based around the Armed Forces and the police. The Army gave a careers talk in the hall and then there was a round-robin of Army elite skills sessions on the field; Combined Cadet Force (CCF) first aid and tent building run by our CCF cadets (special credit goes to Elise Hammond, who pretty much ran the first aid sessions by herself!); Thames Valley Police sessions on cyber crime and policing operations; and a careers session introducing our new careers and destinations platform Unifrog.

'I enjoyed the Army and the AWE talks because it gave me an insight into careers I've never thought about before’

The final day, Wednesday, was launched by Dene Botha from Empowered Youth, an organisation aiming to inspire growth mindset, talking to Year 10 about life mastery and Year 12 about super human skills.

The day also gave all students the opportunity to take Microsoft Professional Qualifications with the support of Prodigy Learning (who also brought in goodies for the students!)

‘I really enjoyed the Empowered Youth Talk. It really inspired me and lifted my spirit. Their motto, which is GOAL, PLAN, COMMIT and BEING WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE, - that I will use till I am 100! ’

Year 10 had the choice of three different workshops from AWE on project management, computers of the future and engineering, plus a Fusion session from UKAEA (UK Atomic Energy Authority).

Year 12 had a choice of four different workshops from Social Retail Group on running an online business; Covea Insurance with an activity building your own insurance company; Centre Space Design running a bridge-building workshop and Thames Water providing students with their Network Challenge.

Amy Sutcliffe, events lead at UTC Reading, said: ‘The World of Work days were designed to whet students’ appetites of what is to come over the next academic year.

"Unfortunately during the last 18 months we have not been able to offer employer engagement in the same way as usual and while we have made the best of virtual events, it was great for students to finally have some face to face engagement with local employers."

Now that really is WOW!

  • Active Learning
  • Microsoft
  • Cisco
  • University of Reading
  • Network Rail
  • Peter Brett