Local employers help Cramlington Learning Village students make big choices

SONY DSCOlivia Watson, Ryan Ellison and Jasmine Gallagher

Businesses, ranging from a multi-national pharmaceutical company to a grooming salon for dogs, have been helping students shape their plans for the future.

In a few weeks’ time Year 9 students at Cramlington Learning Village have to decide which subjects to choose for GCSE and BTEC.

So, as part of the school’s Well Being Day, it arranged for 17 businesses and organisations – including KPMG, the RAF, Gradon Architecture, Northumbria Police, Newcastle United and the Territorial Army – to come to the school to explain the range of qualifications, training or experience which are required for the world of work.

Chemical scientist Dr Jason Gillespie from Aesica in Cramlington – one of the visiting businesses – said: “I didn’t have anything like this when I was their age. I knew I wanted to be a scientist, but that was about it.

“There’s been a lot of interest from the young people, asking – for example – how long it takes to become a scientist. But we have other roles where you don’t need to go to university. We have two apprentices studying analytical sciences and business apprentices as well. We also offer work placements and internships which is a good opportunity to see what’s going on before they have to make those big decisions in life.”

Paula McArthur, who set up Doggy Days Creche and Grooming Salon 13 years ago is a regular visitor to the school and also offers students work experience opportunities. “It can be very difficult to get a job these days, so I encourage them to do all they can to start to understand what it’s like to be at work – whether or not that’s in animal care,” she said.

Thirteen-year-old Shannon McDonald said: “I haven’t really thought about what I want to do yet, but today has made me start to think.”

Kieron Steel, also 13, said he wanted to be a paramedic and had already found out what subjects he needs to study.
Lili Blake, 13 – who plays football for the school and Cramlington United – said she wanted to become a professional player but thought it was sensible to think about other jobs as well.

The school’s head of careers Jackie Stent said it was important for students to look at all options – university or vocational – and she was grateful for the help of the local employers.

“Many of them come back year after year. The students have got their big decisions coming up and this really helps to kick-start their thinking about their futures and their careers,” she said.

“The sooner they start thinking about what they want to do, the sooner they can be making the right choices and what qualifications and skills they need.”

As well as looking towards the students’ futures, the Well Being Day also tackled current issues such as road safety, dangers online, how to ensure safe selfies and self-esteem.