November 2014: Skills event gives students food for thought

COOKING and bricklaying were just two options outside of university life that were offered to Haslingden High School students.

The school’s 250 Year 9 students went to the Lancashire Skills Festival at Burnley Football Club’s home ground Turf Moor to discover a world of work where various providers offered hands’ on experience of vocational courses and apprenticeships.

Feedback was very positive with students enjoying the activities on offer and getting an insight into the possibilities open to them post-16.

James Turner, 14, is interested in law and considering becoming a lawyer, but he also enjoyed the introduction to sports journalism that the skills day provided.

“There was a range of different careers and it helped me to know what is out there as an alternative to university,” he said.

“I would like to be a lawyer though because I like a good argument.”

Laura Colligan, 13, is considering a nursing career and got some practice in looking after a lifelike baby doll.

“I did manage to settle the doll when it was crying,” she said. “I want to do nursing and go into either neonatal care or paediatric nursing. It helped me to see what I would be dealing with.”

It was the first year that the school has attended the Skills Festival, but Assistant Headteacher Sally Finney said it would be on the agenda for future years.

She said: “We attended to raise awareness of the different vocational areas and to help raise the aspirations of students and get them thinking about potential jobs.

“On one stall they could learn about hospitality and cook an omelette and on another they could learn about bricklaying.

“Most sectors were represented from engineering to manufacturing, computing to financial services.”

The visit fitted in with the school’s Careers, Education, Information and Guidance programme that helps prepare students for transition after high school.