WGS Careers Convention 2021 – shining a light on bright futures

We knew that our Careers Convention would have to take a different format for 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic but, in true Withington style, Mrs Cottam, WGS Head of Careers and the Development Team were determined to embrace this as an opportunity to engage with an even wider range of contributors and give our students the chance to explore many more careers and professions.

We were delighted that so many alumnae, parents and friends of the school came forward in response to our request for help in creating a series of videos shining a spotlight on different careers and sectors.  These were released once a week for six weeks for students and their parents to watch before the event. Having taken the decision to be online, we are exceptionally grateful to all our contributors who have taken the time, in this most exceptional of years, to put together a brilliant series of thoughtful and useful insight videos.  Their support has been absolutely wonderful, and, with nearly 80 videos created, we have had more people than ever contributing to the Careers Convention.

Another first was our collaboration with a charity partner. We have been thrilled to work with I Can Be, a small charity that aims to break down barriers to opportunity for disadvantaged children.  Their core programme introduces 7 and 8-year-old girls to the world of work, aiming to broaden their horizons and raise their aspirations by helping them explore jobs to which they may otherwise never be exposed.  A number of the contributors to the WGS Careers Convention have also agreed to create video resources or host virtual visits for I Can Be, and it is wonderful to see such a worthwhile partner benefiting from the generosity of the Withington community, as well as our own pupils.

The video series culminated in the live, online forum event on Thursday 4th March during National Careers Week. Students from Year 9 and above signed up to a range of one to one and group sessions where they were able to interact with our contributors and ask questions. Whilst we all missed the ‘buzz’ of the live event, the evening was very successful, with contributors taking part from all over the country and as far afield as Sierra Leone. Feedback from students and parents has been very positive, with students feeling that they were able to attend more sessions than they would usually.

“Very interactive and informative, videos were a good way to provide information about the jobs before the online sessions.”

“The talks in similar areas were at different times, so I was able to attend multiple talks on similar careers. The questions in some of the talks were closer to a more informal conversation which enabled me to gain more knowledge. The speakers were all really informative and interesting.”

 “I was amazed by how helpful the speakers were, the positive energy and enthusiasm that was shared for a variety of roles as well as lots of good questions being asked by pupils….It broadened out my daughter’s thinking and exposed her to possibilities. … In a time when we know national morale and energy has been at a real low, my daughter left the evening fired up, excited and motivated to experience more.”

The WGS community can always be relied upon to pull together when times get tough, and we would like to thank every single person who has been involved – thank you for inspiring the next generation of Withington students and for truly embodying the saying “we rise by lifting others”.

*All the videos created for the Careers Convention remain available for students to watch via the school’s Microsoft Stream.