Pupils and teachers from Sedbergh School welcomed employers and HE institutions from the UK, Europe, North America and Canada on Friday 23rd May. The Next Steps Show, organised by the school in response to a national demand for improved careers advice, put 500 pupils aged 13 to 18 in front of experienced professionals representing a range of industries.

Matt McVoy, Head of Careers said: “Rather than adopt the traditional careers fair approach, we set this up as a conference with 10 seminars taking place at the same time as the exhibition. If careers fairs are approached as standalone events, they do not demand any follow-up conversation or action. We wanted the event to start a conversation – and we know that it was a success.”

Seminars included Impact International’s Andrew Broadbent, who focused on ‘agility’ and how to manage challenges and opportunities, and Danny Savage, the BBC North of England Correspondent, who talked about life behind and in front of the camera. Eaton Smith LLP presented routes into Law and other seminars explored working with animals, interview skills, crowdsourcing and bidding for investment, Building a Technology Company and The Future is Digital.

Andrew Broadbent, from Impact International, said “The pupils who attended my session ‘Are you Agile enough?’ really entered into the spirit of it. I focused on increasing the pupils’ openness to opportunities and to demonstrate that to succeed in their future careers they should be prepared to be agile and flexible to overcome challenges that they will face.

They were asked to engage in a number of interactive exercises that helped to demonstrate this learning. In each of the session that I ran the students were engaged, interested and were hungry to learn. I was particularly impressed with a number of students who had clearly mapped their future progression.

From doctors to lawyers, from international rugby players to bankers and from diplomats through to actors the range and ambition was very impressive.” 

Exhibitors included The University of York, Newcastle University, Laureate International Universities, New College of Humanities, The University of British Columbia, Chartered Institute of Taxation & KPMG, Camargue Chambers LLP and Sedbergh Business Network.

Grace Shaw, 17, said: “The day was a huge eye-opener. The freedom to tailor our own choices of seminars in addition to the availability of the university exhibition at any time really made us feel in control of getting what we wanted out of it. Everyone I talked to was very insightful and helpful, and I hope we get the chance to see something similar happen next year.”

Pupils are encouraged to follow @The_Next_Steps for details of follow-up events and links to internships and careers and HE study news.

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