Each year at St. Paul’s Catholic School, a large secondary school in Milton Keynes, all 280 Year 10 students (aged 14-15) undertake two-week work experience placements with local employers. In preparation for this, the normal school timetable is suspended for a day so all Year 10 students can participate in a carousel of Engage Me sessions.
Paul Winter, Senior Teacher, said: “The aim of the day is to get students involved in practical real work situations and introduce them to a range of work guests from different sectors. At this school we think it is important that they develop the team working skills and creativity we know they need in the world of work.”
Post-event questionnaires showed 271 out of the 280 participating students agreed or strongly agreed that they had ‘enjoyed the day’ and ‘learnt a lot about the world of work’.
“I learnt how important first impressions are,” said one student, “how to work with people I didn’t know and how important team work is.” Another student said: “I liked it when my group trusted my judgement as the team manager”. Another said: “I learnt that life in the workplace sometimes throws unexpected challenges which you just have to handle with confidence”.
Of 27 teachers who completed Teacher Evaluation questionnaires, all agreed that the students had been motivated to learn. One said: “The students learnt a range of valuable skills and by meeting employers they were able to recognise how the world of work operates.”
“The best activity for the students was Produce Goods,” said another. “It was good for them to have to choose their own managers, realise the importance of task specialisation and then reflect afterwards on how the team could have done better.”
“It was great to hear them talking about each other’s strengths in the team,” said another. “When they realised that others saw strengths in them that they hadn’t seen in themselves, they became very serious…in a good way.”
69 out of 72 work guests agreed they had enjoyed participating and felt they had made a valuable contribution. “It was great to see the students discover and demonstrate their talents,” said guest worker Tom Loake of MK City Orchestra. Kieron Whiley, manager of Costa Coffee, said: “It was good for me to re-cap my career.” All 72 guests said they would be happy to take part in the same event next