On Thursday November 19th, 2015, Carluke High School in South Lanarkshire held a Careers Day. The event was organised by Head Teacher Andy Smith, John Shearer of Pupil Support, and four other members of staff. At this event, employers were invited to give talks and workshops with all students S1 – S6. Students signed up for a minimum of one and a maximum of four sessions, with the average being two per student.
The choice of sessions on offer were extremely diverse. These included:
- Civil engineering
- Sports coach
- Primary teaching
- Hospice work
- Retail industry
- Electrical engineering
- Environmental science
- Web development
- Sports journalism
- Music performance
- Stage manager
Prior to the event, all students chose their workshops based on their personal career interests.
There were several presenters who had personal links with Carluke High School and were supporting their alma mater:
Gordon Nelson is Manufacturing Manager at Martin Aerospace in Lanark. He is a graduate of Carluke High School and went on to complete a Modern Apprenticeship at Martin Aerospace and has worked there since that time. Also, he has a child in S6 at Carluke High and is a Scout leader to many of the S1 – S3 students in the school. Martin Aerospace currently have 12 Modern Apprentices. They take on an average of 2-3 apprentices per year for a 4-year apprenticeship and have done so since the 1980s.
Nikki Strachan is a former pupil of Carluke High School. She went on to study Geography at Strathclyde University. She earned her teaching qualification and has now taught at Carluke High School for three years.
One of Nikki’s high school classmates in Advanced Higher Geography was Fraser Russell. He also studied Geography but at the University of Glasgow and then completed a Master’s degree at Strathclyde University. He is now an Environmental Consultant at Envirocentre in Glasgow. When asked how he found out about Carluke’s Careers Day, he said, “Nikki sent me a message on Facebook!”
The keynote speaker for the day was Derek Stewart, Managing Director of Strategic Asset Managers Ltd. (SAM). Derek left school after S5 and went straight into employment in a variety of jobs. He worked his way up over the years and has now worked in Finance for 37 years. 17 years ago he set up his own business and is very supportive of work placement opportunities for students. Also, he does inspirational speaking based on his endurance competitions such as the Ironman Challenge to raise money for Maggies Centre of which he serves on the Board. The theme of his address was “Growth Mindset”.
Skills Development Scotland (SDS) were also present at the Careers Day. Helen Sutton and Adele Duffy have worked for SDS approximately 13 years each. They work in Carluke High School 3 full days a week. They provide CIAG for Senior Phase students. Also, they advise on Modern Apprenticeships in Construction, Hairdressing, Plumbing, Mechanics and Childcare. They informed us that Lesmahagow High School is going to be an early demonstrator of the Career Education Standard in April 2016 with S3 students.
At the end of the day, I spoke to a S5 student. She stated, “I still don’t know what I want to do”. But the promising news from the Careers Day is that she said she was now aware of the many pathways available to her including volunteering, work placement, apprenticeships, college and university.
As part of the Careers Day, each student completed a logbook for each session including the speaker’s name, their profession, how and why they chose their job, their qualifications and notes on the talk. Then the students linked the sessions to the subjects they are currently studying. In the logbook, they completed a list of careers linked to each subject, why it might appeal to them and how interested they are in doing that job.