Students at Whitley Academy benefit from careers fair

Keynote speaker Robert Zajko with School Reporters Keynote speaker Robert Zajko with School Reporters

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A careers fair was recently held at our school - supported by the national charity Inspiring the Future.

It took Mr Price, our curriculum leader for business, and Mrs Nguyen, our Learning Resource Centre manager, many months to organise the event.

Here is our story of the day.

10:30 BST

Auditorium - As everything begins and the visitors arrive, Joseph & Amin (the Year 7 cameramen) set up the video recorders and Jack (the photographer) takes the first photographs of the day.

The visitors, 13 business volunteers from Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire, get to know each other and determine which company they represent.

We can sense some people are getting along quite well. As more arrive, the atmosphere gets more exciting.

10:55 BST

End of our morning break. Year 11 students line up outside the Auditorium ready for the Careers Fair!

Inside the Auditorium, the Year 7 School Reporters grasp the opportunity to talk to the volunteers.

School Reporters will all the volunteers School Reporters pose with all the volunteers who came into the school to share their experience

11:00 BST

All the 13 tables are full with the business volunteers and the Year 11 students. We walk around the big room listening to the talks.

Session 1 - David Thing is talking about people management and team building, asking the student reporters many questions about their personal qualities.

Jenny and Alan Cox are talking to the students about being a balanced person.

Phillip Poole is a construction planner and is showing the students of Year 11 how to build a construction out of spaghetti, sticky tape and other adhesives. Everyone gets involved!

David Smith, chief executive of a parcel delivery company, is talking to students about trying new things and how businesses like theirs have a range of jobs and experiences for a range of young people.

Session 2 - Now we move on to the table of Peter Hughes. He is talking about leadership procurement. He is asking if they have had any work experience and explaining how it is good to have it before you start out on your chosen career.

Helen Brittain is a clinical psychologist, she has been explaining about counselling and that job role in practice, and asks them if they know what they want to do when they are older.

Steve Webb is the Head of HR at CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development), he is talking to the Year 10s about their apprenticeship programme.

Karen Griffin is from a consultancy company and answers questions and tells the students about how their skills can help them in lots of different jobs.

Session 3 - As session 2 comes to an end, the students get ready to move tables for the last time. Once again, very orderly and well-organised.

Richard Hardcastle is from the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors and is talking about how important surveyors are in the areas of safety, as applied to building projects whether they are underground or above.

Cherry Shaw is talking about her career and how she came to work in her current role. She recounts how she went to university despite leaving school when she was 16.

Scott Shore is a tax manager and is talking about how there is VAT on things we buy and pay for and how you get tax from how much you earn and about pensions.

Stuart Bentley is from a recruitment agency and he is talking about how you should be yourself when you are applying for a job and how you should try and make yourself standout from the others.

Presents for the volunteers The volunteers each received a special gift as a thank you for their efforts

Kevin Tanner from a facilities management company and is talking about organising project teams and planning projects very carefully before you go ahead with them. He is also talking about how planning is the key to success and how it is always good to think about what you want as a career and then to aim for that goal.

13:00 BST

Keynote Speaker in the afternoon Robert Zajko, the Director of Talent Acquisition in Europe, Middle East and Africa for a leading hospitality company, arrives to talk to the Year 11 students and some visitors from an RSA Academy in Birmingham about his experience in the industry.

Robert comes in very early and just sits quietly at a table while the other business volunteers in the morning sessions are having their short break before moving back on to their jobs. We then realise who he is!

It is also time for the Year 11s to come back into the Auditorium.

Robert starts by sharing with us that Coventry is actually his home town. From the talk we realise that he went to Bristol University.

We find it really fascinating that he went to Whitley Abbey School (which became Whitley Academy) years ago. How amazing! We then find out that his father came to England from Poland at the end of World War Two.

Robert then goes on telling us about a variety of jobs he used to do before getting this job of recruiting high-fliers for his company. We feel amazed!!!

14:20 BST

So as the careers fair comes to an end, the Year 11s return to their normal lessons and the visitors go back to their normal jobs.

Mr Price warmly thanked the guests and expressed the gratitude of all the Year 11 students who got such a lot from the day's activities.

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