Katie Bruce is a first-timer at WorldSkills UK LIVE and travelled from the South coast to Midlands with a hundred students from year nine and benefited from the travel bursary and funding from Careers and Enterprise Company.
Preparation and creating expectations were an important part of getting Katie’s students ready to visit. “We had an assembly that was about getting them to think about why they were going, that It's not a freebie collection service. It's really about finding out about your future, so we were giving them lots of questions to think about.
“It was more interactive stands that were the ones that drew the students in and got them involved. They were the ones that they really got raving about including engineering and universities. The students also benefited from the Spotlight Talks where they could listen to young professionals and business leaders for bitesize sessions in the middle of the floor.”
Katie thinks that WorldSkills UK delivered value to all her students, saying, “We go to apprenticeship events at local colleges and some universities as well. But then we only take small numbers, such as pupil premium students that receive some funding, vulnerable children. This time through WorldSkills UK LIVE, we were able to hit all angles. LIVE was above any other thing that we've been to before.”
WorldSkills UK LIVE offers the chance for teachers to connect with employers directly and this is something Katie took advantage of. “We particularly liked some of the talks and the interactive stands as well, and actually getting to speak to people in industry. Anything where it involved networking or where we could get involved was good. Networking opportunities were also offered in the Teacher Hub alongside seminars and up to date careers advice resources, says Katie, “Yes, that was brilliant. I've got lots of information.”
Asked how WorldSkills UK LIVE fits in with in-school careers advice planning, Katie says, “Really well, we aim this at year nine and use it as an aspiration-raising trip as well. We targeted certain students that we wanted, that we know have got the ability but actually may not have the family around them to encourage them to go on and work really hard. A lot of work that I do is trying to counter desperation. And this has worked brilliantly for that.”
Follow up after the event is also an important part of embedding the WorldSkills UK LIVE experience into students’ career planning. “I have appointments for students afterwards. Some of them just couldn't believe all the different things that they could actually go and do. I think engineering was really popular, with girls and boys, and computing as well. They were also interested in the more practical and mechanical subjects. It wasn't them just thinking about whether they could be car mechanic, they were thinking “I can work on fighter jets” and “I could go and design things”.”
For other schools thinking about visiting WorldSkills UK LIVE and perhaps having a long distance to travel Katie says, “It's a really brilliant way of opening students' eyes as to what is out there for them. Getting them to think about their future. The ability for them to get hands-on, find out about new careers, so that they can see that what they're learning in school is going to be useful to them when they get into the workplace.”
Help your learners go further, faster
WorldSkills UK LIVE is the UK's biggest, best hands-on careers event. Taking place every November at the NEC, Birmingham, the event lets young learners get to grips with their future career.