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Alumni share their skills and experience

On Tuesday 24 January sixth formers from Wrenn, Weavers and Abbeyfield came together to develop key employability skills with the support of alumni and Future First.

The day was designed particularly for students who were unsure of their next steps, and who would benefit from the advice and guidance of former pupils. We know that alumni are often the best role models, as they’ve been in the students’ position before, and can share their journeys since leaving school and what they’ve learnt along the way. The aim of the event was to support students with some of the skills and knowledge to assist them with decision-making, and to help students feel more prepared before stepping into the world of work.

The event brought together 85 students and 13 alumni, all of whom had taken different paths since leaving school including pursuing apprenticeships, university, and self-employment. We were fortunate to run the day in collaboration with the education charity Future First, who support schools to improve the confidence and aspirations of students by connecting them with thriving and engaged alumni communities.

Groups of students sit around tables working together A member of the CET alumni team talks to sixth form students.

The workshops on offer included ones on applications and interviews (with the opportunity to practise interview questions with alumni), professional skills and experience (learning how to make a good impression and thinking about the key skills students can already offer employers) and exploring post-18 routes and the options available after school. Each of the workshops was supported by alumni, who shared their tips and answered questions across the day.

Yellow post it notes being placed on a board by a hand with painted nails A group of adults, our alumni, sit in the front row of a theatre

After students had attended each of their three workshops, we came together to reflect on the event. Students shared what they’d learnt, the best advice they’d received, and what they wanted to find out more about. The responses indicated that students felt more equipped in writing their CVs and structuring interview responses, more aware of the skills they could already offer, and knowing more about the possible options available to them. Key take-aways from the day included messages from our alumni that it’s OK not knowing what you want to do in the future; to focus on what you enjoy and take everything one step at a time.

We were incredibly impressed by the alumni volunteers who made the event happen, and who gave up their time to make a difference to current students. A huge thank you to everyone involved!

If you’d like to find out about ways of getting involved in out schools, please sign up to the Future First hub We’re always looking to hear from more former pupils!