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20 February 2015
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Lorna Creith
Click here to listen to this article Industrial Visits

On day two, the pupils were going on their industrial visits. We decided to have two different workplaces that they were visiting and they had been chosen several weeks in advance. We had spoken to the people in both businesses and had sent out questionnaires in advance of the visit so that they were aware of what was going to be required on the day and what the pupils’ expectations would be. Ten pupils went along to McDonalds in Ballymena and ten pupils went to Marks and Spencers.

The visit to McDonalds was particularly valuable, and although we had planned a two-hour visit, it turned out to be a three-hour visit. During the visits, the pupils, first of all, completed their questionnaires. The main emphasis of the questionnaire was on the skills required to work in the business because we were trying to address the objective of qualities and skills that pupils need in terms of employability. They then were given a tour of the businesses and were really given an insight into the workings of everyday business. Then they were allowed to ask any additional questions that they wanted to pose.

When the pupils returned to school, they were given one hour for preparation of a presentation of their findings from the visits. We divided the two groups into four groups again, so there was four groups of five people. They were allowed access to the Internet to carry out additional research on the businesses and access to any other ICT facilities that they wanted to use to enhance their presentation. The presentations were particularly successful and the pupils gained a lot from both the visit and from preparing the presentation. They developed communications skills from the presentation and also developed an awareness of the kind of skills that they would need in the workplace.

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