Work experience is back in fashion!
When thinking about your own work experience, your memories may be dominated by photocopying and tea-making tasks. While you came to understand the world of work firsthand, the learning may have been limited and the level of responsibility may have been low.
Times have changed and I am pleased to report that Carey students are increasingly opting to complete a range of work experience, professional placements and real world learning opportunities that will prepare them well for the future of work and life. During the last break, I signed a notably larger number of applications for a range of amazing placement experiences.
Our career advice – to focus on real world learning and social justice – seems to be having the desired effect on the wise, independent, motivated learners at Carey. The research is clear, that young people want to make an impact on the world, but they need to develop an idea of the impact they want to have. They need to make their own decisions about how and when they will act to make the most of the learning and experiences available to them, giving them purpose and direction. In pursuing work experience, Carey students have bravely sought and accepted a range of learning experiences that complement their more traditional learning.
The Middle and Senior Schools careers programs at Carey encourages students to think critically about their future career paths, and encourages them to take part in external work experiences.
For example, this year during Year 10 Enrichment Week all students participated in the My Dream Job program. They explored a range of work options and considered what their future career pathways could look like by creating resumes for their future selves. They had access to a variety of resumes from past students and current parents who had volunteered their resumes so students could see real life examples of career journeys. Furthermore, in the first weeks of Term 4, Year 9 students participated in the Careers unit in the C-Change program. Students have had the opportunity to undertake job exploration activities to consider their future career direction. Students also focussed on more current employment goals in terms of attaining a part-time job. Students developed their resumes and searched for a job to apply for and then participated in a mock interview process. It was pleasing to see students engaged with this learning and so many interested in and already in the process of looking for part-time work. The importance of the skills and experience students can develop in a part-time job should not be underestimated. They also had an opportunity to explore the Carey Careers website and discover all the information it provides, from career data to work experience processes and pathway information. Former Carey students Maddy Jackson and Mia Calder spoke to the Year 9 C-Change students about the importance of part-time work in addition to other experiences such as volunteering and internships, which in turn helped to shape their career direction and future employability.
This year we have had students undertake a wide range of different work experience placements which have been very successful. These include placements at the Monash Medical Centre, Cliff Ho Productions, a video production company in Collingwood, DFK International accounting firm, Glen Iris Primary School, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, The Alfred Hospital, the Children’s Court of Victoria, a Doctors surgery, The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, NIDA, Victorian Opera and the Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University. The great thing about work experience is the ability to take it in whichever direction the student wants. Thanks to all these organisations for the learning they offered Carey students.
In the September holidays a group of Year 11 students took part in a design sprint at NAB Labs. They learnt about the design processes and the importance of creativity, but equally they learnt about the world of work and could imagine in more detail the pathways that may be ahead of them. Talking to these students, they were surprised, provoked and inspired in ways I could not have imagined when the program was arranged. Our thanks to the NAB Labs team for their inspiration work with our students.
Working with the NAB Labs was definitely a vision-broadening experience. I have always longed for a chance to find out how a national giant corporate works and how people come up with brand new thoughts and carry them out. Surprisingly, when we sat down in the workshop room, we were not asked to innovate right away. Instead, it was like we were going back to Prep, thinking about what we wish to do in future. After discovering our own interest, we looked into the journey of an idea, from raised to implemented. It was definitely valuable for me to understand how a research and development team can diverge and converge twice in a full process. When I was notified that our team was going to make a 60-second advertisement for a certain theme in two days, I was questioning the possibility of completing such a project. However, step by step, by learning methods and investigating, we did make it happen. Although the two-day work was just a slow-motion version of how real NAB stuff works, it has helped me glimpse into the future workstyle and thinking style a successful business needs.
Sunny, Year 11
Commitment to their studies and drive to grow and learn are always heightened as a result of this type of learning. Clarity about their chosen direction or the need for a change can be pivotal during the early days post-school.
Students interested in STEAM for example are often invited to experience university life through programs designed to attract students, especially girls, to these careers. These invitations are appreciated and do indeed give the students and staff some visibility of the exciting opportunities that may not have otherwise been apparent.
Talking to Old Grammarians shows too that professional placements and internships are an important part of their post-school learning. Many higher education institutions find placements and internships so powerful that they are a compulsory part of each student’s learning journey. Old Grammarians report that the learning and networks they develop during these placements can contribute greatly to their career success and life satisfaction.
As our students face a complex and sometimes uncertain future, one of the most valuable lessons they can learn is that they need to be lifelong learners who seek support and experiences. This ensures they can face the world with courage and a sense of the positive impact they can have when given the chance. We appreciate the support of members of the Carey community who help our students when they seek these experiences.