The Abingdon Independent Schools’ Careers Convention is an annual event jointly run by St Helen and St Katharine, Abingdon School and Our Lady’s Abingdon. The event has been running since 1997 and is open to all students and parents from Years 10, 11, and Sixth Form. It provides a fantastic stepping stone towards discovering more about a career, potentially finding a future work experience placement, as well as picking up tips on applications and interviews.
Although the event could sadly not be face-to-face this year due to the pandemic, the career departments from each school were determined that the event must still happen! Therefore on 12 March, students and their parents were able to pick from 205 live Zoom sessions from the comfort of their own home. Whether it was joining a careers meeting from the 70 volunteers representing 40 different career areas or attending the five practical webinars from which they could pick up some helpful advice and tips, we hope that it proved a useful evening for all.
The volunteers representing each career area led group discussions for 25 minutes and covered areas such as what different entry-level jobs are like; what knowledge, skills and qualifications are essential to gaining employment; what typical career progression looks like; and what they see as the pros and cons of working in their career. The meetings were limited to 25 attendees in order to foster discussion and provide meaningful Q and A for all attendees.
The event also provided a great opportunity to pick up tips and advice from experts. Running concurrently with the career representatives’ discussions were webinar presentations being given by guest speakers. The presentations were especially designed to be of help and value to the students now as well as while they progress through their early careers. The topics were ‘Essential Employability Skills’, ‘Apprenticeships Explained’ and ‘Secrets to Writing a Strong CV and Cover Letter’, as well as a special webinar for parents.
We were so fortunate to have so many volunteers offering their time to represent such a wide variety of career areas. From the feedback received there has been an overwhelming response from the students and their parents as to how grateful they were for the event being held and the opportunity it gave from to immerse themselves in all that the Careers Convention had to offer.
'Although it was a little different because of COVID, I really enjoyed the online careers convention this year! One of my favourite talks that I went to was the Film and Sound Production talk, where they explained a variety of jobs that are available in the industry and outlined the many different pathways that you can take. Since film is such a broad subject, it was so helpful to talk face-to-face with professionals in the field and ask questions about their personal experiences. All the advice I have been given will be extremely helpful to guide me in the university process, and I would really recommend the convention to any younger students next year as it's a great way to explore a wide range of careers!
Again, thank you so much for organising the evening - I and many other students found it really helpful, and it's really jump-started my search for unis! The evening was extremely interesting and all the advice that I've been given has been super beneficial for me!'