Professional Guidance at Bedales – Autumn update

By Cheryl Osborne, Teacher of Biology and Careers Advisor

This term has been a busy one for the Professional Guidance department. Firstly, students from Blocks 3 to 6.1 have signed up to the online Unifrog platform. Unifog describes itself as “a one-stop-shop where students can easily explore their interests, then find and successfully apply for their next best step after school”. Students in these year groups are receiving support from their tutors to access the platform and complete tasks, such as recording their activities and hobbies, during Tutor Time. As well as this, Block 4 receive half a term of careers sessions with me during Badley Time, during which they have used Unifrog to investigate their wider interests and personality traits, search careers that match their strengths, start recording their employability skills/competencies, look at CVs and learn about apprenticeships and how to find one.

At the beginning of term, Block 5 completed their MyFutureCareers assessments and interviews to aid them with their A Level choices. I followed up on this later in the term, offering students support sessions on Wednesday afternoons. Students in 6.1 have been shown how to use Unifrog to search for degree courses, alongside advice about what they need to be doing over the coming year to prepare themselves for life after Bedales.

Many 6.2 students have been completing university applications, working closely with both their students and Head of Professional Guidance Vikki Alderson-Smart. Students have already started receiving offers and a number have had online interviews for courses that require them. Sarah Oakley has been supporting overseas applicatons and the Art, Design, Music and Drama departments have been working hard helping students with conservatoire and foundation applications.

Work with each year group will continue next term. Vikki will start interviewing all 6.1 students to find out what their post-Bedales thoughts are. These discussions will be on-going with their tutors.

Whilst we would hope that 6.1s will be able to visit universities next year, we will also be advertising virtual events. Two such events are the UK University & Apprenticeship Search Virtual Fair on 27 January, featuring a vast array of exhibitors and ten vital webinars (students and parents can find out more and sign up here) and a Meet the Russell Group virtual event on 10 February. This event will feature all 24 universities and essential webinars for students considering applications to these institutions (students and parents can find out more and sign up here).

We wish you all a restful Christmas.

Business careers event for students – 31 January

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By Alex Beckmann, Alumni Liaison Manager

Following the successful industry focused careers event that took place in October, we are pleased to announce the next careers event for students is taking place on Friday 31 January, 5.40pm-7pm, in the Reading Room.

We currently have speakers from Google, McKinsey & Company, Technopolis Group and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development confirmed to share their various experiences and participate in a Q&A with students.

We are hoping to confirm additional speakers that work in Law and IT. If you are a parent working in either of those fields, and you would be happy to talk to the students, please email Alex at abeckmann@bedales.org.uk.

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Careers update: ‘Beyond Bedales’

By Alex Beckmann, Alumni Liaison Manager
Photos by Abby Hilton, 6.1

The inaugural Beyond Bedales careers event took place on 11 October, when Old Bedalians Peter Grimsdale, William Miller, Claire Whalley and Kirstie Allsopp returned to impart a wealth of knowledge about careers in television to 36 students across Block 5 (Year 11), 6.1 (Year 12) and 6.2 (Year 13).

Students were delighted to hear from OBs with varying paths to success and the visiting OBs were equally pleased to spend time encouraging so many interested young Bedalians.

Block 5 student Milo Whittle said: “I thought it gave really useful insight into the industry and I would recommend to students to come along to one of these events in the future – even an industry they don’t have any interest in, because they will still get something out of it.”

‘Beyond Bedales’ Media Careers Event

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By Cheryl Osborne, Teacher of Biology and Careers Advisor and Alex Beckmann, Alumni Relations Manager

We are very lucky to have four Old Bedalians with successful media careers coming to Bedales to talk to students about how they got into the industry, what their current job entails and share experiences and advice with interested students.

The event will focus on TV careers (producing, editing, pitching ideas, presenting, setting up your own business) and possibly cover scriptwriting and writing. Visitors include Kirstie Allsopp (pictured above), Peter Grimsdale, William Miller and Claire Whalley and students will have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A with the OBs. 

We are excited to launch this as the first ‘Beyond Bedales’ careers event and hope to be able to offer more in the future, focused on different industries throughout the year.

The event is predominantly aimed at students in Block 5, 6.1 and 6.2 if they are interested in this as a future career field, but all students are welcome to attend if they would like to learn about what it’s like to work in the media.

Careers education and guidance at Bedales

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By Cheryl Osborne, Teacher of Biology and Careers Advisor

The beginning of the new year seems a good opportunity to introduce myself. I am in charge of careers education and guidance at Bedales. This involves taking a careers activity with Block 4, introducing them to the world of work, and supporting Block 5 to make informed A Level choices.

We do this via My Future Careers online tests, which are followed by interviews. Block 5 are currently doing the tests and the interviews take place with external, independent advisors in October. These are then followed up by myself and tutors as Block 5 start to make their A Level choices. I also work with Sixth Form students who are interested in apprenticeships, as well as mentoring potential medics and vets.

This year I am working closely with Alex Beckmann (Alumni Relations Manager) in External Relations. We are hoping to offer students the opportunity to meet Old Bedalians to discuss their career paths.

Our first event is on Friday 11 October, when we have 4 Old Bedalians who work in the field of Media coming in. This event is open to any student at Bedales and we hope that students will take this amazing opportunity to find out about this career field.

Engaging head and heart

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By Magnus Bashaarat, Head of Bedales

A report which ran in The Times on Monday was difficult reading for arts undergraduates sharpening their pencils and adding more memory to their smartphones ahead of the new university year about to start. Freshers will be worrying whether they have made the right choices, and those nearing the end of their degree courses might be facing even more than the standard amount of Brexit-tinged uncertainty laced with a thick layer of debt.

Figures previewed from The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019, which is published next weekend, found that the best-paid graduates were those who had studied computer science at Imperial College London, topping out at £50k six months after graduation. The course with the lowest average graduate salaries was drama, dance and cinematics at Liverpool Hope University, whose graduates earned a mean figure of £9,000 after six months. In this context I think ‘mean’ could mean more than average.

As an arts graduate myself (English Language and Literature, although the Language bit was scarily scientific and not what I had signed up for), I can sympathise with the frisson of doubt chilling bedsits of those undergraduates not doing the Milk Round, because there isn’t really one for actors, dancers and cameramen, when their suited and booted friends with computing, maths and physics degrees move into a world where they seem to have more choices about where to sign than Eden Hazard.

Both routes, of course, are equally valid and important to our nation’s economy. If you have a skill that is in short supply, and demand is great, then you have positive choices to make. But Polonius’s words to Laertes from Hamlet resonate at such a time, ‘This above all: to thine own self be true’. If you’re making a choice now, as so many students in their final year will be, putting the final touches to their UCAS application, then don’t opt for a degree course because you think you will be well paid when you come out at the end of it with a degree. If only life was that simple (it isn’t). Three or four year degree course study will only be rewarding, stimulating and worthwhile, if you are studying a subject about which you feel passionate and with which you have a visceral and intellectual connection. You only get one chance to do your first degree, and whilst it’s important to have an idea of what your next steps will be after university, money shouldn’t be the most important motivator. The statistic that will be most illuminating when the university guide is published, is that which shows what the completion rate for each degree course is, by subject, and by university. Drop-out rates are increasing, and there are complex social reasons why this is the case, but fundamentally there are more undergraduates on courses they don’t really want to do, and after the alcohol-fuelled enthusiasm of Freshers’ Week is over, the cold reality of study, sacrifice and cost dawns.

So make the choice with head and heart fully engaged, and leave the pound signs for later.