Wales High School in Sheffield has a tradition of doing things differently – and Work Experience is no exception.
“We’re one of the few schools left that still do a traditional block placement of Work Experience for our students in Year 10, and one of the only ones locally. We value the experience we give our students as they will learn more about employment and the world of work that we could ever teach them in a classroom. We like to think it gives them an edge in the jobs market and employers have told us how much they value students who have undertaken Work Experience. Some schools are more like exam factories – that is definitely not the Wales way”. SBr Head of Careers.
All students at WHS are encouraged to find their own placement, and the only limit is their ambition. Working alongside families and B&E Together, the school does everything possible to make their chosen placements happen. There is often the preconception that work experience is just stacking shelves or sweeping the floor, but this year some Wales students have gone out of their way to show that Science and industry placements can be exciting, informative and very educational.
Meet a few of the students who have found their dream placement:
Connie Barton – Connie has arranged her own placement at Harley Street Skin in London – the home of the most well recognised and respected cosmetic surgeon in the world – Dr Aamer Khan. Connie says “I have been an admirer of Dr Khan’s work for a long time, and through some of my mum’s connections from Aesthetika, I was able to secure a place with him on Harley Street. My ambition is to go into cosmetic dentistry or surgery so this is the best possible start for me. When he agreed to take me on I was absolutely delighted”.
Jake Robinson has a much more unusual placement, working at the Bateson Centre Zebrafish aquarium, part of the University of Sheffield. “One of our Cub Scout Leaders works in the department, and after a talk at Scouts on zebrafish husbandary, I was really interested in her work so I decided to ask her if she’d take me for work experience and she agreed. My job involves feeding and caring for the fish, sorting embryos and cleaning the equipment. It’s fascinating”.
Michael Senior is also completing his Work Experience in London, at Ernst & Young. Michael will be staying with relatives while he completes the placement at the auditing and professional services firm. “They have given me a list of tasks to choose from while I’m here and I’m really excited to be working for such a prestigious multinational company.” Michael has been working in IT development, designing his own web apps for the healthcare industry.
“I’d really like a career in Genetics or Microbiology as I find that area of Biology fascinating, so I asked our Careers Teacher what she would recommend. She put me in touch with the Lab Manager at Greencore and I’ve been helping to analyse the microbiological quality of the food produced here. I’ve been making up agar plates, learning the importance of aseptic technique, counting bacterial colonies from samples of food, and I’ve even had a tour of the factory. It’s a great placement!”
In addition to Year 10 Work Experience, Wales High also encourages older students to pursue places to help further potential careers. A group of Year 11 and 12 students with an interest in Medicine have secured a days placement within Dinnington Group Practice. The students were invited to see how the practice runs, and were given the opportunity to see how the GPs work on a day to day basis. Students involved were George Cook, Anthony Lockwood, Rebecca Portas, Eleanor Hodgson, Chloe Sarginson and Nakiso Bvunzawabaya.
George Cook, a Year 11 student who has recently completed his GCSE exams said “This is an amazing opportunity and I’m so glad I have been given the chance to do this. Clinical experience is so difficult to get and I’m really hoping that an experience like this will give me an advantage when I apply to Medical School next year. I’m really grateful to the staff at Dinnington Practice for arranging this for us”.