On Monday 1 December 15 students from King Edward VI College travelled to London to take part in A Capital Experience, a national event organised by Career Academies UK for more than 1,700 young people across the UK. The event, which included a visit to some of London’s biggest employers, marked the start of this year’s Career Academy programme at the college.
Career Academies UK is a national charity that links education with business to prepare young people for the world of work. King Edward VI College has been running the programme for the last 8 years which provides students with internships, mentoring by employee volunteers, masterclasses and workplace visits.
A Capital Experience provides the first workplace visit for students and this year they visited Santanders Head Office in London. During the visit, students were given an insight into working for a large financial organisation.
In the afternoon, the students joined their colleagues from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, at the Dominion Theatre in the West End. They heard from students who had already completed the programme, as well as motivational speaker Action Jackson. The afternoon was rounded off with entertainment from Citi Bank’s choir, who recently featured in the BBC’s The Choir – Sing While You Work, and a Samba performance by CEO Dancers.
Speaking of her experience in London, business student Harvin Kaur said “The trip to Santander opened my eyes to all the opportunities that are there for me rather than just university. From the lecture I learnt that I can do things and motivate myself and the best part of the day had to be the fact that Action Jackson were there. The whole experience was brilliant.”
Taking part in the Career Academy programme can significantly improve students’ achievement and attainment. Over 85% of Career Academy graduates progress onto either university or directly into employment or work-based training, such as apprenticeships and school leaver programmes.
First Year student William Davies who lives in Lichfield said “I really enjoyed the trip to the Santander head office. It was a great experience walking around such a large business and hearing from people that are high up in the business and get an understanding of how they started working life. I also enjoyed the experience of commuting to London, making me realise what life would be like in the morning if I was to work in a place like this.”
Anne Spackman, Executive Director of Career Academies UK, said: “It is always fantastic to welcome students from right across the country to experience work and life in the capital. We know that for some of them it will have been their first trip to London, and to walk into the glass and marble towers of the capital and realise that they are welcome and that someone like them could work there, is an inspirational moment for students.
“We hope that moment of inspiration will stay with them throughout the programme and motivate them to aim higher in their future careers.”
Sam Gawn, Business Academy Co-ordinator for the college said “We are committed to giving our students the best opportunities possible and the Career Academy programme is a fantastic way to inspire young people to consider careers they may never have dreamt of previously. The trip to London is always a highlight for them and it’s great to hear how much they enjoyed it again this year.
“We are always looking for more businesses to offer our students support during the programme, whether through mentoring, internships, workplace visits or offering to give a masterclass. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org”