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Careers Convention

Karen Smith

The theme of this year’s Careers Convention, held on Friday 19th March, was ‘Start building your dream career today.’ Canford’s annual Careers Convention is now in its 17th year but up until now, the event has taken place on the school site, with large numbers of OCs and parents within various industries giving their valuable time to help Lower Sixth pupils learn more about career paths they may be interested in pursuing in the future. This year due to Covid-19 restrictions, the event moved online, but with the additional benefit of allowing all Sixth Form pupils to be involved in this valuable opportunity, particularly as the current Upper Sixth had missed their event in March 2020 as a result of the lockdown.

The morning session led by current parent and business owner of The Change Man, life and career change mentor, Simon Phillips, covered many useful and thought-provoking tips, most importantly, the positives of networking and using your contacts successfully. Simon used a variety of slides and videos, as well as the poll function, chat and breakout rooms on Zoom to encourage involvement from pupils and get them ready for their afternoon networking sessions.

All current Sixth Form and 140 OC and parent volunteers joined the afternoon session for a series of panel and 1:1 sessions. Despite some technical challenges of co-ordinating 420 attendees for 560 networking sessions in 168 break out rooms, overall the sessions ran very smoothly online, and as always, pupils were enthused to talk to those who have experienced the career paths they are interested to follow. One volunteer said: “The pupils I spoke to were very respectful, engaged and certainly had good and probing questions lined up.” Some of our pupils talk about their Careers Convention highlights in this short video: 

Michael Doherty, Head of Careers, commented:

There are an increasing number of different higher education and career options open to our pupils when they leave Canford, and we are extremely fortunate that we are able to draw on experiences of so many former pupils and parents. This event is such a valuable experience for our Sixth Form and an important part of our preparation for life beyond Canford. The opportunity to put into practice interpersonal and networking skills to gain insight into potential career directions will stand them in good stead in the future. The digital world will also play an increasingly prominent role in the world of work. Many first points of contact with future employers and interviews are likely to be online, so being able to make a positive impression through the experience of virtual panels and 1:1 sessions is a vital skill to develop.  

Rowena Gaston, Development Director, commented:

What a day! This was a very challenging event to put together but worth all of our hard work. We felt it was even more important this year to allow Canfordians to be able to practice networking, talk with industry professionals and find out about the industries that interest them. Our 140 volunteers made up of Old Canfordians and parents were amazing. I am always delighted to see how much time and energy they give to the day and they really enjoyed talking to our pupils. Many said that the pupils were a credit to Canford and that they feel inspired by these young people who will join them in the world of work in a few years. One volunteer quoted ‘I’ve been to a number of Careers Conventions at Canford and this was the best ever.

For more information about careers support at Canford, please visit Canford Careers

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