An early insight into an exciting world of suits and skyscrapers is in store thanks to Introduction to Working Life, an initiative funded by The Nomura Charitable Trust.
A few of our school contacts suggested last summer that Year 6 would be an ideal time to start introducing children to careers, business and the importance of workplace skills. Not only would this be valuable head start on their work-related learning, but it would also be a useful experience in the run up to the often difficult transition to secondary school.
We were able to secure the support of The Nomura Charitable Trust (The Trust) to pursue this idea. Introduction to Working Life continues the expansion of employer engagement provision in Southwark after The Trust funded our Working in the City programme for Key Stage 4 and Sixth Form pupils in the Borough last academic year.
There will be visits to some top employers in the City and Canary Wharf taking place throughout the summer term, and we can’t wait to get started.
The pilot workshop took place last October and was kindly hosted by Sapphire Systems. Sapphire have been looking to establish a connection with a local primary school, and inviting the school to visit their office and meet a variety of volunteers from the business seemed the perfect way to build that link.
Pupils from St Joseph’s RC Primary School relished the opportunity to take the short walk up Borough High Street, over London Bridge and into the hustle and bustle of the world’s biggest financial centre.
The whole experience, from riding the glass lifts in the Northern & Shell Building to enjoying a ‘posh’ lemonade sitting around the boardroom table, was thoroughly enjoyed. The clear highlight of the day was the chance to meet and informally ‘interview’ some City professionals, where the participants got to ask their own questions about working in business. Questions ranged from ‘how many hours do you have to work here?’ to ‘who earns the most money here?’ to ‘why are your lifts so scary?’. Our personal favourite question during the session was ‘do people call you names?’ — happily the answer was no.
The students gave some really positive comments after the visit, including ‘I learnt a lot about the people who work here’, ‘I loved my day at Sapphire!’ and even ‘I never want to leave, I want to live here.’ High praise indeed.
Their enthusiasm obviously impressed the staff at Sapphire. They told us ‘the children were all wonderful and it was lovely spending time with them’, ‘it was great taking part and hopefully answering all the children’s questions to their liking’ and ‘that was amazing, they are so cute!’. One volunteer said that ‘My favourites were two boys who said I looked younger than I said I was, my second favourite was the boy who said he wanted to do five jobs when he grew up but could only remember two: explorer and a man who works in a lab. I had three boys who want to be footballers, one an architect, one a stockbroker and one an engineer. I only spoke to one girl and she thought, very sensibly, that she would wait a while to see what her options were. It was great fun and thanks for organising it.’
The group obviously enjoyed their taste of the business world, as Sapphire have since worked with the school on an Apprentice-style business challenge. You can see the amazing results of St Joseph’s going into business with Sapphire here: http://youtu.be/jCfVVaMWAdQ
To find out more about the programme and how you can get involved in both this and other school engagement initiatives, please contact the programme manager.