Marlborough and Sandringham schools look to the future with respective fairs

Marlborough Science Academy in St Albans held its first Apprenticeship Fair

Marlborough Science Academy in St Albans held its first Apprenticeship Fair - Credit: Photo supplied

Snakes, cakes, ferrets and ‘fabulous wigs’ made for an interesting careers day at one secondary school while an inaugural apprenticeship fair at another had student financial independence as a major theme.

Marlborough Science Academy in St Albans has pre-empted the Education Secretary’s focus on increasing the number of apprenticeships by hosting a fair to show the variety of career options available.

And at Sandringham School, animal carers from Oaklands College brought along snakes and furry critters, cakes and the odd wig to bring to life the many courses on offer at its Smallford campus.

Although a new law has recently been introduced by Nicky Morgan to end the perception that non-academic routes are ‘second best’, a spokeswoman for Marlborough said the school had “always believed in offering different pathways for all abilities to pursue”.

After representatives of local firms, including SA Law and BRE (Building Research Establishment), met with pupils, they reported being impressed with the keen interest shown by the academy’s Years 9-13 students.

A spokesman for Dickinson Accounting said: “We have offered one student a work experience placement; we feel that to offer this to a student helps them decide what career path to follow.”

BRE representatives said they hoped “we will see some uptake in apprenticeship applications”.

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Students’ enthusiasm impressed SA Law, with a spokesman saying pupils “are very keen to learn more about apprenticeships as 6th form or university is not always a suitable option for them.

“Joining an apprenticeship gives the student financial independence and the chance to train in a profession.”

Year 11 pupils Muhim Hussain and Shorifur Choudhury said they had taken on board advice from AAT Accounting and Selex Engineering, and are “now going on to speak with other companies”.

About 180 students - 15 and 16 year olds - took part in the careers fair at Sandringham, where they learned to prepare for challenges they are likely to face when applying for jobs in today’s competitive market.

Year 11 performance director Sarah Hebb said: “The day was an invaluable opportunity for our young people, who are on the cusp of making life-changing decisions, to benefit from the professional experience of a group of successful people.

“They were given the chance to practise their interview technique and get a grip on those nerves, before they are out there doing it for real!”

More than 30 volunteers from industry donated their time to offer their professional expertise and conduct mock interviews with every Year 11 student.

They visited from a broad range of companies, including Computacenter, Deutsche Telekom, Johnson Matthey, The Royal College of Surgeons and Royal Mail.