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Air-hockey in the office

14 February 2020

Two Cranfield based businesses, Acuigen and 2sms, have been redefining the vision of the working world for Wootton Upper School students.

“I didn’t know that there were companies that did that sort of thing”

Fifteen students from Wootton Upper School visited the Cranfield Innovation Centre to gain a unique insight into the working-world by meeting with Acuigen, a customer and client feedback organisation, and 2sms, an SMS marketing organisation. 

Yvonne Ashby, Wootton Upper School Career’s Leader, said “The Year 10 programme of employer visits really allows us to bring the workplace to life, building on previous employer encounters.”

The visit gives students the chance to develop an understanding of what the working world really looks like by having the opportunity to see office environments first-hand. Students were intrigued to find a multi-sport table in the 2sms office, asking why?

“We find that the multi-sports table aids our creativity and team-work. Our team work very hard and we understand that they need time to relax and let off steam.” Tim King, Director of 2sms added.

During the visit, students met with two ex-Wootton Upper School pupils at Acuigen. One of the ex-pupils, Paige Barrett, explained her route into employment and how the skills that she learnt at school - in particular her good grade in English literature and language A-level - have enabled her to become a proof-reader, working as part of a multi-disciplinary team undertaking client feedback interviews, at Acuigen.

Having former students talk to the current students has developed their understanding of the local labour market, preparing them to take advantage of these opportunities.  It also helped them to understand how working hard at school is essential in gaining the relevant skills much in demand by local businesses.

Alongside this, students heard from the two businesses about what they do, what they’re looking for in employees, how to stand out from the crowd and what opportunities they could offer students, for example work experience.  

“I didn’t expect it to be so interesting, but it was really good”

As a result of this visit, all the students felt significantly more informed about the workforce and understood how their school subjects directly correspond with their future careers.

Paul Thompson, Employer and Skills Manager at SEMLEP, said “This a great example of the impact and importance of employer engagement to inform, inspire and raise the aspirations of young people.”

By making the connection between education and future careers, we hope to motivate young people to work hard at school or college. Young people who receive four or more employer encounters whilst at school or college are significantly more likely to end up in education, employment or training.  

Could you offer a workplace visit? Inspire the generation of tomorrow by giving an hour.

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