Ruth talks of her work with South Rise Primary
Throughout her career in Recruitment Marketing Communications, Ruth has seen the importance of educating young people, from an early age, about the world of work and the skills needed to take advantage of the opportunities available to them. When she saw the opportunity to become an Enterprise Adviser, she immediately applied to join the London Enterprise Adviser Network, as she felt it matched her skillset and background perfectly.
Ruth began volunteering with South Rise Primary School in Greenwich in March 2016. Since then, she has worked closely with Lauren, the school’s careers lead and her colleagues Yas and Fiona. Together, they’ve done a full assessment of the current careers activity and identified both opportunities and areas for improvement. This has led to the development of a school-wide careers and enterprise strategy.
They are now working on developing a sustainable plan which can support current and future year groups and create strong partnerships with employers, businesses, and the wider school community. South Rise’s School Development Plan now includes a Careers and Enterprise strategy which aims to raise the children’s aspirations and empower them to make informed choices about their future. Enterprise aims are now embedded within the curriculum across all year groups.
Ruth feels that much of the progress that has been made stems from an early meeting with the School Governors. This helped the team secure the support of the Leadership and Management Team and identified some business and employer contacts willing to offer their knowledge and support. This quickly led to a work insight day at the BBC for several of the children. The day was a huge success and helped them learn about the vast range jobs and skills that are needed to run a business. During the visit, they were thrilled to meet newsreader Asad Ahmad and discover that he grew up in Greenwich and knew their school. This has secured a long- term relationship as he plans to visit the school during their Careers Week in May.
“After the BBC visit, the children came back full of enthusiasm and keen to share their experience with the rest of the school. This proved hugely motivational by showing how much could be achieved just by networking within the school community” says Ruth.
A Sports Careers Week, which focussed on the teams behind the athletes and sports people, together with an emphasis on healthy eating, was able to attract many participants and volunteers from the local community. This proved very successful in introducing the children and their parents to a wide range of local sports activities and clubs. It also increased their awareness of the variety of careers in the sports and fitness industry.
Lauren and Ruth recognised how the aspirations and encouragement of parents would be a big influence on the children and aim to involve parents at every opportunity. With this in mind, a plan is in place to offer a ‘drop-in’ facility for parents and carers during the Careers Week, where they can participate in CV workshops and interview training.
“It’s not just about the children– if we can support the parents and increase their employment opportunities, they are more likely to be enthusiastic in encouraging the children to value their education and widen their aspirations”, says Ruth.
Throughout their partnership, Ruth and Lauren have built contacts with local businesses, universities and the school’s local MP, but it hasn’t always been easy. Ensuring the careers and enterprise strategy is embedded within the curriculum - and is sustainable - has required regular meetings, constant networking and brainstorming and a communications plan to maintain support and interest.
Through taking part in the London Enterprise Adviser Network, South Rise Primary School has raised the profile of careers among its pupils, parents and wider community. Ruth and Lauren are helping to ensure that children at South Rise are ready for the variety of opportunities available to them.