The Inspiration Programme enables students to explore new options, and self-determine their strengths, weaknesses and interests.
Too often careers advice falls into the trap of only exploring a student’s strengths and weaknesses through a school-focused lens and aligning them to a suitable career option through personality and skill surveys. It is important to allow students to immerse themselves in different environments, gain first-hand experience and use this opportunity to gauge their interests, strengths and weaknesses. By taking this approach, they may find something which truly suits and engages them, including a sector or subject matter that they may have otherwise not considered, or previously discounted.
Implementing The Inspiration Programme provides a wide range of hands-on careers experience from the arts to environmental work and everything in between. This gives students the chance to explore new options, and has encouraged them to self-determine their strengths, weaknesses and interests.
For example, all school children should develop a grasp of critical thinking and problem-solving, whether that was learnt through the sciences or humanities. If they also participated in a broad range of work experience, they would be given the opportunity to see how these abilities can be applied in various real-life situations and to develop these skills further.
On top of drawing out and enhancing the skills that young people already possess, comprehensive work experience also introduces those who participate to a whole host of new knowledge and skills – how different sectors operate, how to communicate in the workplace, how to adapt to new environments, and how each employee’s unique talents and experiences shape the business in which they work. It also gives young people the opportunity to build up a network of professional contacts, levelling the playing field between students of different backgrounds.
Having a grasp of these key concepts can help to narrow the skills gap between employees and employers, making young people more employable and successful, which in turn ultimately stands to benefit employers in the long run as well.
When regularly immersed in different workplace environments, young people can harness the vital skills and experiences that give them the necessary self-confidence, knowledge and abilities and above all broaden their aspirations to pursue and excel in the right career path for them.
Mark was an unmotivated Year 12 student, regularly missing classes and becoming a habitual truant until he was introduced to The Inspiration Programme by his school. The changes in his communication skills, relationship with other students, engagement levels in class sessions and on trips to employment partners were clear to see. The value he attributed to these changes, is summarised when the school suggested to Mark that he can only continue with the Programme if he started to attend his other lessons.
Mark, The Inspiration Programme participant
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