Careers Education and Guidance holds an important place in the learning experience of all pupils at the School. A comprehensive programme of development is delivered as a cross-curricular theme and through Careers classes.

  • Head of department Mrs F Browne
  • Teacher in charge of business & education links Ms V Seaton

Form 1 receives weekly Employability classes. This is a new initiative that has been piloted already within the School but is now being extended to include first form. Employability is an initiative that has been driven by business and industry to encourage in pupils the idea that these days, jobs are not for life. Rather, the focus needs to be on lifelong learning and the acquisition of new skills. The pupils have the opportunity to broaden their knowledge as to the opportunities that are available to them and become more aware of the Northern Ireland economy and Entrepreneurship.

3rd form is an important year in which pupils make decisions on their choice of GCSE subjects. The entire year focuses specifically on Careers Education and Guidance and is delivered by experienced staff. There is a Careers evening in the School to which all parents are invited and all pupils receive individual interviews to help guide them through their choices.

In the last year of compulsory schooling (form 5), pupils must make vital decisions. All pupils have Careers lessons weekly and take part in a programme called "Getting Connected" which was introduced a few years ago in conjunction with the Training And Employment Agency with whom the School have excellent links. This enables us to identify the pupils who require extra help and then an external Careers Officer interviews them. There is a Careers evening in the School to which all parents are invited and all pupils receive individual interviews to help guide them through their choices.

In Lower 6th, pupils receive weekly Careers lessons that focus on University applications. They have the opportunity to attend Open Days at Queen's University and the University of Ulster and a Higher Education afternoon is run when we invite ex-pupils back to School so that they can give first hand information about their experiences to the current students. A wide variety of University and course representatives visit the School regularly to talk about entrance requirements and courses available. All students are given the opportunity to participate in two days of Work Shadowing and major employers and businesses visit the School to give annual talks. Pupils complete "Centigrade" questionnaires and receive information on courses to which they are suited and seminars are held on particular Careers areas. All of the year group also take part in a Mock Interview Programme with relevant employers and businesses.

In Upper 6th, pupils receive weekly classes to help them in the writing of their personal statements for UCAS and receive an interview with an experienced member of the department. Detailed guidance is given on the completion of the UCAS forms and other relevant documentation including applications down South, Higher Education Institutions and Colleges of Further Education.

Form 3 Employability

This is a three-day programme that occurs in June and is designed to give the pupils in 3rd form a glimpse of what the World of Work is all about. Pupils are able to run their own company, visit local businesses, deliver presentations, prepare CVs, have a mock interview and interview guests to find out their jobs.

"I really enjoyed the course and thought is was a fascinating learning experience!!" "It was very enjoyable and gave us all an insight into the world of Careers and Business"

Work Experiencing/Shadowing

All pupils in form 4 have the chance to experience the World of Work for a week and this opportunity is repeated again in Lower 6th. This is an excellent opportunity to investigate particular Careers and Professions to see if it is something that the pupil would consider doing. Pupils are also able to find out entry routes into these Careers and the type of skills and qualities that the employers are looking for. Girls in second form also take part in "Take your daughters to work day" where they are able to go with a parent to their place of work.

"The experience was really worthwhile and great fun!" "I had a great time on the day and think it is a really great idea."

Careers Convention

This is an annual event that occurs in November and consists of over 30 exhibitors that fill the William Moles Hall. All the pupils in 3rd, 5th and 6th forms had the opportunity to meet with a wide variety of employers and representatives from both Further and Higher Education establishments. There was plenty of information available (as well as free pens!!) about entry routes into courses and careers and the pupils were able to ask questions directly to the representatives.

Nuffield Bursaries

These are open to members of the Lower 6th form who have an interest in Science based courses. It gives them the opportunity to spend 4 - 6 weeks in the summer working on research-based projects with someone from one of the local Universities. These projects are breaking new ground and the pupils are fully involved in the research from day 1. At the end of their time, there is a presentation in the Whitla Hall and the pupils can go on to present their research at National level. An excellent addition to any UCAS form!!

Mock Interview Programme

This is available to the Upper 6th and gives the pupils the opportunity to experience what a formal interview is actually like. Pupils complete a CV and attach a covering letter stating their Career interests and this is passed to the interviewers. A large number of representatives from a variety of professions interview the pupils and every effort is made to match up the interviewee with an individual from their chosen Career area. After the interview, the pupils are given feedback as to how they performed. Invaluable advice before they have to go through the process for real.

Oxbridge Trip

The School runs an annual trip to both Oxford and Cambridge to let the pupils feel exactly what life would be like if they chose to study there. This lasts four days and all accommodation is within the Colleges so that the pupils really do get the student experience. The pupils have the opportunity to visit approximately eight Colleges. No trip would be complete without the traditional punting on the Cam.