There has been a lot of focus from the recent Education Select Committees on careers guidance for young people on how schools interact with employers and business to offer inspiring opportunities for students. On a national scale I feel a slight sea change coming here, as UTC’s and Studio Schools embed themselves into the soon it will be a badge of honour of schools to talk about their links with business
With this is mind I wanted to write about the local companies who go out of their way to work with us and offer a range of different provision that, each in its own way, adds to our student’s school experience. Think of this as a prestigious list of local businesses, the Booker prize of Luton companies who make that extra effort and, of course, I want more of them to get in touch and work with us! If your fantastic company isn’t on this list, why not?!?
1. Selex Galileo
These guys are great. Every year ourselves and two other local schools organise a careers fair for Year 11 and, without fail, these guys send a couple of enthusiastic young employees to man a stand all day long. On of the few local businesses we can rely on to attend. Last academic year they also, jointly with the charity Heads, Teachers & Industry, worked with us on a scheme that saw three of their current apprenticeships visit school once a week and work one to one with three of our underachieving year 10s. The three students also visited the Selex site. It was a wonderful scheme and one I would LOVE to see run again this year as I think both parties got a lot from the experience. I think I would also be more experienced at picking the right students for the program.
2. Gulfstream Aerospace
Based at Luton Airport, these guys are so, so helpful. The link came through the STEM Ambassador scheme – an engineer at the firm volunteers his own time and has, so far been out three times to speak to groups of students at school. We’ve taken a small group of Year 11’s to the hanger for a tour and see the jets and, this year, we hope to run a two-week work placement for two Year 10’s. Lots of young people do see engineering as an aspirational route but it’s schemes and links such as this which can turn that dream into reality. Massive, massive thanks has to go to Andy Jenkins, the engineer in question, for the dedication, enthusiasm and fresh ideas he offers to keep the relationship with the school working and for being so approachable to both us and the students. Gold stars all round.
It wouldn’t be a Luton post without mentioning Vauxhall. Despite some testing times recently, their outreach programs have never wavered and they regularly send out emails offering visits to the production line, apprenticeship fairs and in school workshops. We have one of the school design and marketing workshops booked for the new year for Year 9 and are already looking forward to it. We need large, local employers like this to carry on reaching out to us for talented students to believe that staying in the local area is a positive option in their future.
I guess that logo should really be the NHS but, every year, the hospital host the local NHS jobs fair for schools which really help us increase the awareness of all of the career pathways to do with medicine and health care. I’ve covered in a recent post how young people’s career aims can sometimes be seduced or tainted by what they see in the media and nowhere is this more apparent than in medicine. Many dream of being a doctor, and some will be, but after talking to the employees at the hospital they begin to understand that radiographers, paramedics, health records staff etc all go into making a hospital run and offer promising careers
Another firm based at the airport who offer some of the best work experience placements our students go out on. Every year they are kind enough to take a few students on placements and the young people always come back with smiles across their faces; they love the two weeks there.
Of course a massive, massive thank you to all the firms, charities and public services that offer our students work experience – we really do appreciate it!
I will update this list from time to time but if you run a local firm or work in a nearby company would like to work with the school then get in touch!
I’d love to add your company’s name to the list one day!