I have always enjoyed going back into schools to talk about what I do, but in the last couple of years this opportunity has been given more direction by becoming an Enterprise Advisor.
In this role, I work closely with a specific local secondary school to help them offer a better careers education programme for their students. This means ensuring that for each year that they are in school, every student has meaningful encounters with employers and also has opportunities to experience options for continuing their education once they leave school, be that apprenticeships, college or university. I also help the teaching staff understand what employers need from students entering the labour market.
Coming from a translation background I am often asked to come and speak to students about careers involving languages, to give them a reason to choose French or Spanish at GCSE for example. With take-up at both GCSE and A level dropping at an alarming rate, it’s good to explain to students that there are many careers where languages would be an advantage, even if they are not the main focus of the job.
Students I have talked to have been amazed to find out that video games companies, famous chefs, Formula 1 teams and football clubs advertise jobs requiring languages. They begin to appreciate that a language works well alongside other qualifications, be that in marketing, law or maths. Languages become a facilitator, opening doors to a variety of careers, rather than just hard to learn and pointless in a world of Google Translate.
While I have always had a passion for languages and the fascinating puzzles that translation can pose, it’s also been a delight to have the opportunity to work with students on other projects such as challenging stereotypes and the role of women in the workplace.
A new project by the Careers and Enterprise Company encourages people from all sizes of business to ‘Give an Hour’ to help local schools with a variety of careers-related activities. It might feel like an hour is too short to have a real impact, but we know from experience that an hour can create new perspectives and inspire new ideas. You could speak to a class about your sector, play a role in a business competition, carry out a mock interview or support a CV workshop, for example.
Whatever you choose to do will help inspire students to make the connection between what they are learning in the classroom and what they will do after school. The initial results from these programmes has clearly shown that students get better exam results when they can see the reason for studying a particular subject, and that aspirations are raised by the opportunity to experience what the world of work has to offer in a meaningful way.
More information about the Enterprise Advisor network can be found here: https://www.careersandenterprise.co.uk/about-us/our-network
Give an Hour campaign: https://www.giveanhour.co.uk/