The importance of effective careers education within schools has never been greater. The increased choice of education and training pathways available to young people, the modularisation of the curriculum and the need to develop key employability skills, place careers education at the heart of the curriculum. This centrality is recognised in RSD.
The aim of our Careers Education programme is to enable young people to acquire the skills, attitudes and abilities they will need to chart their path through life with confidence. It is hoped that our pupils will develop self-awareness, an awareness of the range of opportunities available and the decision making skills to prepare and keep under review their personal career plan.
The school provides a well-equipped and modern Careers Library where pupils have access to a wide range of reference material. In Years 8, 9 and 10 all pupils have Learning for Life and Work each week. Time is spent covering Employability, which introduces pupils to Careers. In the SeniorSchool pupils in Year 11 have one period of Learning for Life and Work each week and part of the year is spent on Employability. All pupils in Years 12-14 have one period of Careers Education each week. Pupils spend time on their personal career plans and study topics such as CVs, application forms, interviews and student finance. In addition pupils in Sixth Form can spend individual research time in the Careers Library. We run an “Interview Skills Day” for Year 14 pupils each November, culminating with each pupil having a mock interview. Although initially daunting, pupils have really enjoyed and benefited from this experience.
Sixth Form pupils have the opportunity to attend the UCAS Higher Education Convention at which they can meet representatives of most of the UK’s universities and colleges. Staff from the local universities and colleges also visit the school and deliver talks to Year 13 pupils whilst Year 14 pupils have the chance to attend university open days. Sixth Formers have the opportunity to participate in work shadowing and to attend open days in a number of professions, hosted by hospitals and clinics.
Pupils use a range of up to date I.T. Careers resources. At Key Stage 3 classes are introduced to “J.E.D.” the Job Explorer Database on which they can complete a Personal Interest and Subject search. The Careers Department is involved in helping pupils with their GCSE and A level subject choices. Senior pupils make use of a wide range of websites and I.T. resources such as “Pathfinder Live”, an online career guidance program. The school has close links with the Careers Service N.I. and all Year 12 pupils have an individual interview with the Careers Adviser.