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A new approach to holistic careers support in North Tyneside

A partnership between Marden High School in North Tyneside and their Enterprise Adviser has led to a new way of supporting students as they prepare to enter the world of work or further education.

Fiona Brennan, Career Lead at Marden High School, has been working in partnership with Jane Austin, Director of HR at water retail company Wave, with the aim of strengthening careers guidance for pupils at all levels of the school and working towards achieving more of the Gatsby Benchmarks which form a central part of the Government’s Careers Strategy.

Fiona Brennan explained: “We’ve recently worked with North Tyneside Learning Trust to implement mock interviews for the whole of Year 10. Local employers including Jane’s colleagues from Wave and also representatives from the Department of Work and Pensions, Accenture and Newcastle Building Society all took part, giving our students a real taste of what interviews are like and, importantly, helping us to identify where students need additional support.

“We found that some students needed extra help in identifying and describing the skills they have that relate to certain jobs and some need help with building their confidence, for example.

“We’re now in the process of implementing a new programme of one-to-one coaching/life-coaching for students, which is tailored to the specific needs of individual students as a result of these interviews.”

Jane Austin added: “This will help the students with their confidence and self-belief as well as helping them to understand what types of jobs are out there for them and the options they have.

“We wanted to take a more holistic view of preparing students for their future careers. It’s not just about academic success and that’s why we’ve taken this step of joining forces with a life-coaching service. I think it’s amazing; I don’t know of any other school that’s doing this and I think Marden High School deserves a lot of credit for providing this kind of tailored support.

The school also organised a full day event for Year 9 students, working with members of staff from Wave to run a Super Learning Day. Students took part in a tailored business game involving a series of workshops each based on a different area of work including HR, finance, marketing and production. Students gained experience in each area before pitching ideas to their peers and the panel of business representatives – a bit like Dragons’ Den.

“The students worked in teams and not only did they learn about these different areas of work but they developed their time management and team-working skills as well,” said Fiona.

“Events like this, along with the coaching programme, are something different from what we’ve done before and they wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t been working side by side with Jane and her team from Wave.”

Find out more about the North East LEP Enterprise Adviser programme.