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Bedford School Develops Career and Professional Skills Support Course for Upper Sixth Boys

Published by Bedford Upper School on Tuesday 9th of June 2020

A new, remotely-run Career and Professional Skills course, organised by the Bedford School Careers Department in conjunction with the Bedford School Association, launched earlier this week to help prepare Upper Sixth boys for the world of work. This time of year would usually see Sixth Form boys busy revising and undertaking their exams. However, following the cessation of all public exams due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the staff at Bedford School have been working to develop a structured way to help the boys on their path to university, as well as give them invaluable advice on a range of professions. In typical Bedford School fashion, the school community rallied together to help create an enriching course; with current and former parents, and Old Bedfordians offering online seminars on their careers and areas of professional interest. In total, 15 members of the wider school community representing a varied selection of industries including financial services (banking, corporate management), the armed forces, law, education, marketing and accountancy have offered to share their knowledge and experiences. Mrs Mel Lincoln, Head of Careers, UCAS and General Education explained, “The combination of a UCL Study Pathway to university courses, and interaction with Old Bedfordians and parents with valuable experience, has proven an innovative and exciting combination. Using the school’s technology and the combined expertise of the whole community, our Upper Sixth boys have been able to reap the rewards of this new provision. They will be at a distinct advantage when they start university.” So far, seven online seminars using Microsoft Teams have been organised. Typically, the sector expert spends the first 20-25 minutes discussing their educational and life experiences in their chosen field, before the floor is opened up to the boys to ask questions. Boys from Russia, Germany, Australia and China have joined the talks, bringing a multi-national feel to the sessions. Upper Sixth Former, Oliver Burridge-Dean, who has been offered a conditional offer at St John’s College, Cambridge, in September, told us that he has found the course extremely useful in understanding the transition between A-Level and university-level learning, and it has helped him prepare for what lies ahead. Oliver explains, “The course itself has meant that from the comfort of my bedroom, I have gained an insight into the legal profession, as well as advertising and marketing, from well-regarded industry professionals. Although I have always been quite sure on a career in finance, I will most definitely explore the legal profession following those talks and perhaps even look to gain some work experience. As part of the Careers and Professional Skills Course, we are also enrolled on a Study Prep Course run by UCL.” With revision and exams no longer their priority, Upper Sixth Formers instead found that they had more time on their hands. Upper Sixth Former, Harry McPhail, explained that he has been keeping busy; writing blogs, joining LinkedIn, looking at reading lists and listening to a few podcasts to help him ahead of starting university. Harry has a conditional offer to read Modern Languages and Cultures, at Durham University in September. Harry was, therefore, grateful and keen to join the seminars. He told us, “In particular, I enjoyed the first two talks we had via Microsoft Teams. In both sessions, the speakers gave a flavour of what their work entails and the experiences they have gained. To understand the actualities of professions like law has been very engaging as well as informing us about what a day in the life of a lawyer looks like.” The first two seminars were held this week, with the rest scheduled twice a week up until 19 June. Hugh Maltby, Director of the Bedford School Association, who is coordinating the industry experts from the school community said, “We are immensely grateful to those members of the broad school community who have volunteered and given up their valuable time to make the course such a success. Providing the current Upper Sixth with insight into the world of employment and education will be invaluable as they seek their way in the world”.
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