Do you know what your future holds? Often for indecisive people like myself, establishing where you want to progress to can be extremely daunting and seem to be an irrevocable decision. However, there is more scope to your career than you may imagine.
On Thursday 25th March, John Leggott College participated in their college collaborative Virtual Venn Careers Fair, helping students to explore their future options. The virtual event was then accessible until the 24th April, which was inclusive to all those deciding on post-16 college education, Higher Education in degrees, apprenticeships and work experience opportunities. North Lincolnshire Council (NLC) advises students to “stay focused, work hard and don’t be afraid to try different types of careers.”
Looking round the fair was a simple process and could be returned to as many times as needed, unlike an in-person event. While this year has posed magnitudinal challenges, perhaps virtual careers events will be the revolutionary ‘new normal’ for tech-savvy students everywhere. You can save videos to your YouTube ‘watch later’, download prospectuses and documents directly to your email address and even save travel time in the process. Those interested in the militia, law, medicine and more can open a new channel of discovery and explore their options via pre-recorded videos and virtual exhibits.
What do Nestlé, Oxford University and North Lincolnshire Council have in common? They all attended the Venn Careers Fair! Over 60 employers and Higher Education providers were at your fingertips, available to be chatted to via a networking question function. Sixth Form Colleges Franklin, John Leggott, Wilberforce, Wyke, Scarborough (Venn Group) also opened up the opportunity to secondary school pupils considering their next steps. One of the disadvantages of virtual events is the limited ability to perceive the ‘vibe’ of a college, especially crucial given the minimisation of face-to-face contact; it’s important to take the opportunities available, increasing your chances of making the right choice. Individual college open days may exude this better, nonetheless making it harder to compare options directly. JLC Careers Advisor Katharine Atkinson guides students to explore “understanding the career you are aiming for to see if this suits your skills, interests and preferences is very important so you know what to expect and know you have a real interest in that, i.e. what’s involved, when you work, salary, etc.”
We’re living in stressful times and it’s easy to feel consumed by the multitudes of online events available. It’s up to you to decide if this is a ‘less is more’ situation; weigh up which events and sectors interest you the most, focusing your research. Perhaps try setting aside an afternoon to look through the resources and make some notes, or decide on a plan of action for post-lockdown work experience. Katharine Atkinson recommends, “creating some SMART targets to help you break down steps to make these realistic and achievable. It might be: complete your CV in week one, apply for 2 jobs in week 2, etc” (SMART targets are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed).
It may be challenging, even in normality, to visit all the universities and employers in consideration as favourable progression routes. JLC provides various university open day portals, and this event gives you the chance to explore the breadth available, including the universities of Hull, Lincoln, Oxford, Leeds, Sheffield, York, Manchester Metropolitan and the University of Law. JLC is lucky to have close connections with North Lincolnshire Council and proudly employs, as a NLC representative praises, “many successful employees who have studied at JLC” as a “local quality education provider with excellent results.” Being virtual, more employers are accessible than could have been fitted in the West Common Sports Hall and this valuable support continues in college, with 1-1 career appointments, support with next-step applications, and support with CVs and interviews. We’ve all had to adapt, some more than others, and it won’t be long until we can reap the benefits of our sacrifices. “We have now dramatically changed the way we work and have seen incredible improvements. I am sure work experience will start to fit into the new ways of working very soon,” say NLC. How can you adapt to seize future prospects?
Chloe Smith, Journalism Internship Student