Ipswich primary school students inspired to aim high in their careers
- Credit: Archant
Primary school children in Ipswich have been finding out what it takes to become career high-fliers at an event designed to tackle social mobility in Ipswich.
Organised by The Careers & Enterprise Company, the World of Work event on Monday at Chantry Academy and Stoke High School saw up to 500 year four and five pupils from across Ipswich mingle with an eclectic mix of just over 20 employers, from big names such as EDF energy, Tesco and John Grose car dealership to individuals including a judge, an accountant, a doctor and a florist.
Ipswich is one of 12 opportunity areas in the UK identified by the government as ranking poorly when it comes to social mobility.
Organiser Jordan Holder explained that he wanted to “challenges stereotypes, and show children that girls can be engineers and boys can be nurses.”
Daniel English, an accountant for Louise Rogers Accountants in Martlesham, said he got involved to show kids that “life skills are much more important than whats on a piece of paper.”
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Speaking at the event, Mr English said he was getting as much out of the interaction with the children as they were. “I find it really interesting getting direct feedback from them. It can be quite humbling and also interesting in terms of my self awareness.”
The Careers & Enterprise Company is the national network set up to inspire and prepare young people for the fast-changing world of work. Whilst much of the company’s work in Ipswich lies in broadening the career horizons of secondary and further education students, Mr Holder believes it’s key to inspire children from primary school age onwards. He points to a survey published by OECD Education and Skills in partnership with Tes, the NAHT and UCL Institute of Education in January of 20,000 primary school children, which found their career aspirations have little in common with projected workforce needs, and gender stereotypes in job aspirations still apply from a very young age.
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“Every young person deserves to access opportunities, regardless of background,” he said.
Michael Parker, doctor based in Ipswich, said he decided to attend the careers fair because he wanted to broaden the children’s horizons.
“If we can encourage these young students to see that actually if they work hard and engage at school, they can succeed in later life,” he said. “The best bit about today has been its important for education and business to work together. These students are the managers of the future, the leaders in the local area, so if they can get invested in business from a young age, then in the future, we will have not only a talented group of people going forward but they will be driven and motivated in the right areas.”