Careers Talk

Today we are living in ‘Exponential Times’. The skill-set needed to navigate the future world of work and employment is ever-shifting and boys need to be prepared to think about jobs which don’t even exist yet. With boys often needing to choose GCSE options in Year 9, only a few months after leaving SHS, it is key that we offer boys the opportunity to start thinking about what they love, how they might make a career of it, and tap into the 21st century skills, to maximise this. With Artificial Intelligence and the need to exploit our distinct Human Advantage in the soft skills, and be ready to learn, relearn, unlearn, and fail and risk well in order to succeed, we need to help our boys to think about the future world in which they will be living and thriving.  Mrs Cross has begun an excellent rotation of Sixth Form speakers from senior schools in the autumn term, with talks from our current parents in the summer term, so that our Year 7 and 8 boys are well prepared in this area. Today was yet another of those valuable talks.

To this end, three of our parents joined us this morning to discuss their careers, in a highly interesting talk to our seniors in Year 7 and 8. Mr Horne (Noah – Year 7) spoke about the Mining Industry. Through an informative video, explaining how Mining worked, he also discussed its multi-layered and interdisciplinary approach, from signing the deal, to working with the environment, health and safety, rehabilitation of the land after the life of the mine has ended, community work and shareholders and commerce. There is a space for all kinds of careers within Mining itself. Having trained initially as a lawyer, Mr Horne has worked in a number of places around the world, and his role is to ‘pull together’ all of the elements, to enable the company to decide on whether the deal is sustainable and will generate profit for the shareholders.

Mrs White (Rufus Year 7) introduced us to the world of Investment Banking and Equities, and how a summer job at university led to her passion which became a life-long learning opportunity in a job in which ‘two days are never the same’. Mrs White talked about how the idea to join the banking profession was fuelled, strangely enough, by her passion for horse-riding, and the need to pay for her lessons while at University, and how so often these ‘dots’ connect in ways we can only see in hindsight. Mrs White explained how she interviews and works with clients and looks at the share prices and the need to watch the news (and Tweets!). All can change in a heartbeat as shares are driven by events and news.  Mrs White spoke about the different kinds of people we find in the City today – vastly different from stereotypical same-suits and bowler hats of yesteryear. All kinds of work is needed, from those who are scientists, to actors, historians, lawyers. The list is endless.  

Mrs Clark (Otis Year 6) introduced the boys to a career in innovation and entrepreneurship and taking an idea from conceptualisation to infancy to shelf. Having previously worked as a cardiac nurse, but with a head full of ideas she wanted to see grow, she knew she needed to do something with her idea and wanted to see something happen with it. And so, the idea germinated and fanned out from a business she had begun previously. The Re-Nourish soups are her creation. As with the careers above, there are so many involved in the product, from design, to sustainable and correct packaging to protect the environment, to target market and audience and understanding behavioural economics, essentially.

What followed after each of the speakers had concluded his or her presentations, was a flurry of fascinating questions, from our young curious inventors-in-the-making, to budding engineers. The boys asked some most pertinent questions, which enabled each of our speakers to go into Patents and making mistakes and the importance of failing, and loving what one does and being flexible.

Many thanks to our parents for giving up their time, for their priceless intellectual and career nuggets, and for our boys for their interest, questions and manners in thanking the parents for their time after the presentation had concluded. I wish we had had these kinds of talks when we were at school. ‘It is in spending oneself that one becomes rich’.