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Careers Symposium 2017 - 'Leadership - What's Your Direction'


On Friday 17th March over 80 Old Canfordians and Parents arrived at Canford to volunteer their time to take part in this annual event.  The day this year was entitled ‘Leadership – What’s Your Direction’ with an overall theme of encouraging students to discover what’s important to them, what do they enjoy and to be courageous and proactive when seeking out opportunities.

The day involved all Lower Sixth Form pupils and started with three keynote speeches:

‘Courage, Flexibility and Being Yourself’ – Anna Walker

‘Action, Logic and Transformational Leadership’ – Richard Bellars (M92)

‘The Future of Work and how it will affect you’ – Amanda Seabrook (C92)

Anna Walker talked about her experiences in the past, as a female presenter in the BBC and how important it was to build a network, be adaptable and be willing to take risks.

Richard Bellars, in the present, touched on the concept of a personal mission, finding out what you are good at and what you like doing and having a clear purpose. There were many different ways of taking the lead in this which he outlined in a model and pupils and volunteers discussed the various different types in a facilitated session in the morning.

Amanda Seabrook’s presentation then talked about the world of work in the future, the possible impact of robotics and AI and the different expectations of both employers and employees: many jobs will not exist in 10 years’ time, so the concept of life-long learning, flexibility, and the growing importance of interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence would be essential pre-requisites for success in the future.

Following the keynote speeches, where our volunteers and pupils worked together in a cabaret style seating plan, they then lunched together in the Dining Hall and by way of a careful direction and organisation, pupils were given the opportunity to sit with the volunteers and start practising and developing their networking skills in a more casual environment.

Following lunch, pupils participated in a series of question and answer panel sessions.  Seventeen different industries were represented including Finance, Medicine, Property, Armed Forces, Entrepreneurs, Marketing, Technology and Engineering to name a few.  The day concluded for pupils with a one-to-one networking session ‘speed-dating style’ in the Assembly Hall.  This provided pupils with their ‘opportunity’ to approach and meet speakers on a 1:1 basis and potentially acquire details for future contact or possibly work experience.  There was a tremendous energy in the room and the atmosphere and noise volume certainly indicated that there were many interesting and useful conversations taking place.  Many of our volunteers commented on the maturity of pupils during this session and their willingness to engage and talk with complete strangers, getting an accurate and rewarding sense of what networking skills are all about.

By way of a thank you, volunteers were invited to supper at the end of the day which allowed some time for their own networking and to discuss and feedback on the day.

Our sincere thanks go to the Old Canfordian Society who generously donated towards the event, Amanda Seabrook (C92) who acts as the OC Society Careers Representative and to all our volunteers.