At Danesholme Infant Academy, in Corby, Northamptonshire, part of the Greenwood Multi-Academy Trust, Principal Carol May is impassioned about starting exposure to jobs and careers early and says Primary Futures was a vehicle to achieve what she already believed, in an easy way.
Three Year 2 classes of 6 and 7 year-olds took part in a virtual Classroom Chats on 10th November 2020, where they heard from three volunteers spanning different job roles and sectors and were able to ask questions about the world of work. The activity allowed the children to start learning about different jobs, meet exciting role models and begin to link their school work to future possibilities. Danesholme has previously organised an Aspirations Assembly as part of their annual careers week in 2019, and has shown their children the pre-recorded NHS Classroom Chats and ‘What’s My Line?’ Festive Special videos, making sure aspirations are embedded in school life. Volunteers make the learning concrete for the age group using props, uniforms and stories.
During their live virtual activity in November, children heard from a Radio Spectrum Engineer, an Architect and an Airport Manager. The volunteers made sure to explain their jobs in easy-to-understand language for the children, and used relatable reference points to explain their roles. The Airport Manager even took his computer to show the children the airport hangar where all the planes were stored – which led to lots of excitement in the classroom!
Children’s questions included: “do you wear a special uniform?”, “what are the most important skills?” and “where’s the strangest place you’ve worked?”, and they learnt about “lots of different jobs and what was involved in them”, “different types of things a radio is involved in”, “how a plane lands”, “how long it takes an architect to build buildings”, and that “maths is important”.
Principal Carol May commented: “I think it’s so important that our children are prepared for the world of work – even if they’re only four or five, they need to know the attributes of getting into the world of work and working towards them… starting from the basics of very simple stuff and gradually building it up as you get older. . [Primary Futures] was an avenue of promoting what I already believed in… it almost took the pressure off – until I knew about Primary Futures, I was doing a lot myself.”
“The advantage [to virtual] is that we’ve been able to continue as if nothing’s happened – our children haven’t lost out on their career education because we’ve had to go virtual… Often the person who’s come on screen will take us or show us things that is probably better than if they came in person.”
The headteacher spoke of the impact on many individual pupils, in particular a Year 2 boy who was a reluctant reader and has since taken a great interest in reading once he learned that this was necessary to achieve his dream of becoming a police officer. 100% of pupil participants said they learned a lot about new jobs and said ‘I now know there are lots of jobs available to me when I grow up.’