“What do you want to do when you are older?” Following this question is often silence from hesitant teenagers, unable to answer, despite the numerous times that they have been asked the same question. Is it the lack of information on the different careers responsible for the hesitation of this unanswered question?

In order to provide useful information to teenagers, specifically those in year 12, about the variety of careers there are, Gumley House School initiated a Careers Day on 16th January 2020. The day featured some well-known figures and organisations as well as careers students may not know exist or have much information about. Students obtained their own personalised booklets outlining the structure of their day and heard from the representatives of the organisations that they were interested in but were also assigned to talks that they may have not been considering before.

The careers represented were: media broadcast and sport (by John Fendley, a Media Producer and Presenter for the popular Saturday morning Football show ‘Soccer AM’ for Sky Sports), global healthcare (by undergraduate placement students completing a one-year employment, for GlaxoSmithKline, as part of their degrees), government and transport (by Claire Hindmarsh who is a Policy Manager for the Civil Service Department of Transport), the MET police (by Detective Constable Zoe Goring), research and marketing (by James Calcutt- a part-time Masters by Research student in History at Royal Holloway, University of London), teaching (by Susan Taylor who is a Senior Lecturer at St. Mary’s University College, Twickenham), makeup artist (by Pauline Hudson a highly trained Makeup Artist and specialist makeup lecturer at West Thames College), investment management (by Jiten Patel for Investment 20/20) and ambassadors (by Alif Alkan- a Civil Structural Engineer for ICE, Institute of Civil Engineering, and Amanda Priem who has been working in construction for Morgan Sindall Aviation at Heathrow Airport for almost 10 years).

The representatives spoke about their profession but also provided insight on the challenges that they could face for example, the competition between the television industry and other video entertainment platforms such as Netflix. They also shared the key skills needed for each job such as resilience, flexibility and the ability to ‘see the bigger picture’ in tasks involving civil service.

When asked about the Careers Day and how different it was to the normal school curriculum, Jessica Francis – a year 12 student from Gumley House said, “I thought it was quite interesting in giving me more ideas on what different career paths I could take. It was a lot more interesting than what we normally do”. Despite not hearing from all of her desired career talks, the positive response shows the effectiveness and usefulness of the day.

The diverse choices of careers meant that students were challenged to be more open-minded. The objective of the day which was ‘to broaden your [student’s] knowledge and insight of different career choices’ was accomplished and more students than before may have an answer to what they would like to do in the future.

-Amber Silva