Steyning Grammar School showcased its innovative work on Employer Engagement and embedding student employability skills during a visit from Christine Hodgson, Chair of the Careers & Enterprise Company as well as Capgemini and the Director of Business in the Community.
The visit involved a tour of the school, including a Year 12 BTEC Business Studies and Year 13 Economics session. A group of Sixth Form College students also presented passionately about how high quality work experience had either changed or reaffirmed their ambitions in the worlds of work, apprenticeship or university.
Amy Burroughs a Year 13 student said: “It was a brilliant opportunity to meet with Christine Hodgson, I received helpful and professional advice about my career aspirations, as well as guidance about what path would be best for me to take in order to achieve my goals.”
Key members of the school also outlined how ‘Learning Characteristics’ are crucial to developing the skills needed for students to flourish in the workplace as well as in further academic studies and training.
Steyning Grammar School has gained countrywide recognition for its innovative work on the development of student character strengths. People that build these character strengths have been proven by psychologists to be more likely to go on to live happy, fulfilled and successful lives. These character strengths are highly valued by employers who want students to believe they can come up with innovate developments and be effective in working with others to implement them.
Andrew Wood, Assistant Headteacher in charge of Steyning's character work said: “It was great to see such a prominent person in national enterprise and careers initiatives be so enthusiastic about our character work, verify its value and consider how it could influence the work of The Careers and Enterprise Company.”
Steyning Grammar School is committed to embedding ‘Learning Characteristics’ at the centre of learning to ensure all students leave with not just the qualifications for success but also the skills to be successful in the workplace and to flourish in life.
Steyning Grammar School Headteacher Nick Wergan explains: "Employers complain that students leave school without the skills needed to be successful in the workplace. Our focus on Learning Character shows our commitment to bridging this gap, and ensuring every student that leaves our school has the skills to reach their true potential in their next steps in academic study and the world of work.
"We are determined to showcase every possible pathway to our students, including the fantastic potential of apprenticeships as well as university pathways. We were delighted to show this to Christine Hodgson and to discuss with staff and students every way to embed the best possible employability skills and employer engagement.
"We are now working with local business and industry in different ways and are pleased to have been selected as a pilot Enterprise Advisor school; we now work closely with Corinna Allen, Head of Communications and Community Engagement from Southern Water, as our school Enterprise Advisor. This relationship is making a real difference to how we engage with local businesses."
Corinna Allen who gave a valuable contribution to this visit on employability and employer engagement said: "I'm really delighted to be working with Nick and the team to use my skill set to support Steyning Grammar school. I believe it's vital that local employers invest time in their local schools. It's about making the business real to students in terms of the kind of attitude we look for in employees and ensuring that we're on their radar as a great place to work in the future.”
Christine Hodgson, Chair of the Careers & Enterprise Company said: “It was wonderful to see in action how Steyning Grammar has embraced the Enterprise Adviser programme and the positive impact this is having on their pupils. With the support of over 1,000 Enterprise Adviser volunteers across the country from great businesses like Southern Water, we are working to ensure all young people receive the encounters with employers they need to support them on their pathway to employment. I urge all secondary schools to sign up to have an Enterprise Adviser and businesses to get involved to support their future talent pipeline.”
This event was a real success and has reaffirmed the need to inspire and prepare students for the fast-changing world of work. Working with the Careers & Enterprise Company and our Enterprise Adviser is proving key to bridging the gap between education and employment.