Careers at Shebbear College is run by Mrs Aliberti. We also employ a company called Futuresmart, who offer activities for pupils starting in Form One and then join us to do workshops and more detailed Careers Guidance with a Careers Officer throughout pupils’ time at school and beyond. It offers independent professional advice through a comprehensive, expert Careers programme with access at different levels for all pupils at the school.
We also have bought in the marvellous unifrog website which gives us access to many resources some of which are detailed below. Unifrog is a fantastic resource which we use mainly at the moment for help with university choices although we will be extending its use this academic year 2019-2020. It offers comprehensive detailed information about every undergraduate university course, not only in the UK but also in many countries abroad including Europe, and the USA. It also has information about all current apprenticeships which is updated daily. Students can search for courses, for careers or other options and manipulate the information at the click of a button. Parents also have access to the site with a special login which I send out when pupils are enrolled.
Here is a brief overview of the sessions run by Futuresmart that are offered to all pupils:
Form One – Learning Styles and Skills development workshops.
Form Two – Personality and Self- Awareness workshop.
Form Three – A more in-depth look at careers and subjects, skills and temperament needed for these. It is useful for pupils who are beginning to think about GCSE option choices. They can start to think about the world of work and are introduced to a range of different career paths. They also have a half day workshop in the Spring Term on ‘Study Skills’.
Form Four – A follow up workshop to the Form Three work with related activities.
Form Five – All pupils begin the detailed Careers Guidance programme which is a comprehensive one to one career and higher education guidance programme which lasts until the pupils are 23 years old, so takes them through A level choices or other post 16 studies, researching and selecting a university, planning a gap year and preparing for employment. The pupils do a sophisticated and in depth psychometric profile which is then followed up by a personal interview and the report and resulting action plan are available for pupils and parents to access online. They are also offered further support in the form of one to one guidance interviews in the Lower Sixth and mock university interviews in the Upper Sixth. They are able to email the Futuresmart Careers Officer directly at any time with queries and she always responds very promptly. One of the advantages of using the Futuresmart programme is that over the three years that pupils are in the Upper School they see the same Careers Officer and build up a relationship with her so that the advice she is able to offer in the Sixth Form is from a perspective of real knowledge about the pupil.
As well as the work with Futuresmart, there are other events that go on throughout the pupil’s time here at Shebbear which include visits from the TSB to Forms 1-5 , Mock Trials run by local magistrates attended by Form Three , a Careers Fair for Form Five and Lower Sixth called ‘Life Beyond 18’, participation in the government backed scheme ‘National Citizens Service’, and many other speakers who visit the school to inspire and inform the pupils about the world of work and study beyond Shebbear College. During activities week Form Four pupils spend time working on how to write a CV, how to write job applications and other very useful study skills.
Form Five pupils have sessions on study skills and revision techniques with Mrs Aliberti. All Lower Sixth pupils visit the annual UCAS Universities Fair in Exeter with her. In the June activities week we also take all of the Lower Sixth on a 3 day residential where they have time to work on their personal statements and start thinking about university applications.
In terms of post 16 education, we have a thriving, well-resourced careers department for the pupils to begin to make their choices. There is a whole programme dedicated to university applications with sessions for pupils and parents on the whole UCAS application process. These include advice on writing personal statements, choosing courses and universities, roadshow visits from International universities, and talks from outside specialist speakers. We have talks on student finance, resilience, study skills, and how to be a successful Sixth Form student. Each student has individual guidance with their application, particularly their personal statement, from their tutor and from Mrs Aliberti who oversees each application personally before it is sent off.
There is also advice on apprenticeships and gap years for those who do not want to apply to university. Pupils who have previously left Shebbear also benefit from our advice and frequently ask for help with university applications during their gap year or even after that. We are always very happy to help.
One of the events we are particularly proud of is the careers morning called ‘Life beyond 18’. Mrs Aliberti has run the event for the last three years and it has grown in size and scope each year. The former Head, Simon Weale, referred to it last year as ‘one of the best events we have at Shebbear’.Being a small school in rural Devon, some of the pupils here can be quite narrow minded about the possibilities available to them in the big wide world and the idea is to open their eyes to a wider environment. It is also a chance for them to find out about careers they may be interested in but not know much about. Finally, it is really useful for them to understand that often as adults we go in all sorts of different directions sometimes before arriving at our long term career choice and that all these experiences can be positive.
In 2019 we had 26 different speakers and careers represented including all of the Armed Forces. Many of the speakers are parents of pupils and Old Shebbearians who are always very generous with their time. There are also contributors from local businesses and we are very keen to increase these sorts of contacts. It is a great chance for ex-pupils to give back to the school and for current pupils to make links with people with established careers who are willing to help and support them.
We are also keen to develop pupils’ experience of work and volunteering outside of school. At the moment we do not have a formal WEX programme but all students are encouraged to arrange something from Form 5 upwards and we are often asked to write references. For instance, in the spring term this year, two of our Lower 6 pupils did a week’s WEX at North Devon Hospital and two Form 4 pupils did week’s work shadowing there in the summer term. Mrs Aliberti organised all of these opportunities so please contact her if you feel you could contribute to any of these events. Again, we are fortunate in being able to call upon Old Shebbearians and parents of current pupils who give of their time.