September 2019

Expanding careers programme offers unique opportunities for Withernsea High School students

On Tuesday 24th September, Year 7 students at Withernsea High School took part in a Business Breakfast networking event. The hour long session gave the 173-strong cohort an opportunity to meet and engage with over 25 local employers and representatives from colleges and higher education providers.

It was a fun and informal introduction to the school’s careers programme – a programme which, over the next five years, will offer the students comprehensive information, advice and guidance aimed at equipping them with the skills and knowledge required to achieve their aspirations. 

Working in small groups, students were encouraged to get to know the representatives who had been assigned to each table and learn about their lives and careers. During this time, a team of Year 11 and Sixth Form student waiters delivered a selection of drinks and breakfast snacks to each group. 

After breakfast, groups competed against each other with a general knowledge quiz before taking part in a mind mapping session to demonstrate the knowledge they had learned from the experience.

The Business Breakfast was organised by Careers Leader and Key Stage 5 Coordinator Viki Foster. Mrs Foster commented: ‘Our Year 7 Business Breakfast was a brand new event, launched this year as part of our ever-expanding careers programme. While decisions about future careers may seem quite a long way off for our youngest students, it is important that they begin to start thinking about their futures. Next year, this cohort will choose their GCSE options which will refine their learning to focus on subjects that they are passionate about and subjects which will pave the way for access in to higher education and future careers. 

Feedback from students and guests alike has been overwhelmingly positive and I am grateful to all our visitors for giving up their time to help introduce Year 7 to an important element of their high school learning.’

Among the many representatives were former students of the school who had returned to help support a new generation of learners. One such guest was Ian Battye - former Factory Manager at Kohler Mira. Mr Battye commented: ‘It was a very energetic and inclusive session and it was a pleasure to be involved. The students were full of life; asking relevant questions and fully engaging with the experience.’

Fiona Headridge, Careers Hub Lead with the Humber LEP, added: ‘Engaging Year 7 students at an early stage is really important. We had a great time and the students clearly enjoyed learning to work as a part of a team as they explored their future career options.’

Among the variety of companies and organisations represented at the event were the Soper Group, SALT Architects, Sandersons Solicitors and Humberside Police. Also represented were Easington-based Centrica storage who, earlier this year, were recognised by the Humber Careers Hub for the strength of their continuing partnership with the school.

Thanks to established links such as this, and with new connections being forged all the time, there have never been more opportunities and support for the young people of Withernsea High School to secure the future careers they aspire to achieve.

While Year 7 students were being introduced to careers at one end of the school, at the other end a group of 20 students in Year 11 also began work to develop their employability skills as part of the Aspire Igen ‘Accelerate’ programme. 

Accelerate aims to create a pathway for students to follow towards a traineeship, an apprenticeship or entry in to work or further education. Each participant is allocated a key support worker who will be on-hand to ensure that the programme is tailored to suit each student’s individual needs. Activities undertaken will be closely related to the participants’ interests and aspirations.

The programme includes training on key employability skills, plus careers information and progression planning. It also offers an opportunity for students to take part in work experience – a valuable element of the programme which offers hands-on experience in the world of work.

Deputy Headteacher Bob Wardman commented: ‘We are keen to develop work experience opportunities for the students taking part in the Accelerate programme and believe such experiences are vital in preparing students for future long-term employment.

I would welcome hearing from any local businesses who are willing and able to facilitate a work experience placement for a student aged 15 or 16.

Businesses of any size are welcome to volunteer and the cost of the relevant work experience checks, which allow students to take part, will be met by the High School.’

For further information, or to offer a placement, please contact Mr Wardman via or 01964 613133.

ABOVE: Some of the Year 11 'Accelerate' participants with Viki Foster (Careers Leader and Key Stage 5 Coordinator), Susan Duke (Aspire Igen) and Bob Wardman (Deputy Headteacher)

ABOVE: Year 7 students with former WHS student and retired Kohler Mira Factory Manager, Ian Battye.

ABOVE: Year 7 students with Sarah Didsbury (Careers Leader at Wilberforce Sixth Form college)