Careers Champion: Working Adviser meets finalist Sarah Kendrick White
In a series of mini-blogs to mark the sixth Careers Champion award, Working Adviser gets to know finalist Sarah Kendrick White – IAG & Progression Coordinator at The Canterbury Academy.
WA: Tell us a bit about your background and current Careers role.
SKW: Working at The Orchard school with students that had behaviour and learning difficulties as identified by their Education Health and Care Plans taught me many skills that have been invaluable as my career in Education has developed. I was a member of the pastoral team and involved with the implementation of individual programmes to help each pupil develop the skills and behaviours necessary to cope with life in school and beyond school in society, college and the workplace.
At Canterbury College I developed new initiatives that reached out to disengaged and vulnerable learners; those young people who had been identified as NEET. I supported these young people towards a positive re engagement in their education, training or employment.
Since arriving at The Canterbury High School I have developed an options delivery workshop for Year 8 students (225 students) and introduced the Year 10 work experience week with 130 students attending this year. I support our Year 11 students (230 students this year)with the decisions they face with their post 16 provision, college, school, apprenticeship or training programme and my role involves me supporting students accessing an alternative curriculum and guiding them to a realistic and achievable positive outcome. Our careers fairs are very popular and attract approx. 50 stands from HE, FE, apprenticeships and local employers – 600 students attend each event. Our sixth form (700 students) is ever growing with University a growing choice and last year our students achieved 93% positive destinations.
I represent the local Canterbury district schools at our County CEIAG steering group and enjoy the sharing of good practise with my fellow careers advisor colleagues. Have been invited to sit on the academic steering committee at school working collaboratively with our two local universities to support identified AA students in school.
WA: What is the most rewarding part of working in Careers?
SKW: Watching the positive progression of our learners; seeing them grow in their own self confidence and belief and know that I was a part of that process. The careers guidance appointments with our students are my most enjoyable times in the school day – seeing young people begin to realise that they can achieve is very rewarding.
I am very fortunate that my school offers a diverse range of subjects and attracts a wide range of abilities to our sixth form – showing the range of opportunities now available to young people on leaving school is wonderful – not everyone is going to go to University however and an apprenticeship or employment is equally rewarding to the young person and to us at the Canterbury High School.
I appreciate that I am in a privileged position working with young people as they make important choices about their future.
WA: How is Careers work changing and what does the future hold?
SKW: Careers work is becoming more progression focused and linked to employability skills The apprenticeship programmes are a fantastic opportunity for young people to be successful and achieve away from a school environment. We are engaging our younger students in our Primary school in careers led activities and are in partnership with a local University to expand on this.
There is a need to recognise the impact of social media influencing career and work trends. We need to prepare young people to the fact that they will change jobs many times during their careers – it is suggested that they may have six jobs at the same time!
We should expect the rise of automation to impact on some jobs that we take for granted at the moment – possibly freeing us up for more creative activities. It is clear that the Gig economy is here to stay and how to make that into a positive for the future employees.
WA: Finally, what was your reaction when you were confirmed as a Careers Champion finalist?
SKW: Disbelief to begin with and then surprise and delight as the realisation that my colleagues had nominated me began to sink in! A wonderful feeling! To be given the opportunity to talk about the IAG and careers work being delivered in our school has been very enjoyable.