The Form 6 ‘After Oakham’ programme launched this week with a day off-timetable to focus on pupils’ plans for their short and long term futures.
In the morning, pupils started to complete their UCAS forms and started looking at how to write an excellent personal statement. These sessions included advice from UCAS and the University of Bath, as well as working with experienced Upper School tutors to evaluate sample statements and start drafting their own.
The day’s keynote speech was given after lunch by James Darley from Transform Society, an agency that recruits for a number of top public sector companies such as Police Now and the NHS. James talked passionately about the graduate market today and the increased competition facing young graduates. He encouraged pupils to use the next few years, both at school and at university, to develop their transferable skills and gain some valuable experience in the workplace. He concluded with the message, ‘If you are going to university, you should do what you love not what you think will get you a job because graduate recruitment is more about your skills and experience than your subject knowledge. Keep the spirit of your School alive and stay involved in the co-curriculum long after your Upper School career is over’.
With James’ advice in mind, pupils then attended a choice of afternoon seminars on everything from meaningful gap years to communication skills, from writing job applications to applying to US colleges. James also ran some simulations of online assessment centres, which are increasingly used as the first stage of the application process by recruitment agencies.
The day ended with a hog roast social and some time to reflect and catch up with friends and tutors.
Head of Upper School, Megan Fairley, says ‘Having a whole day of complete focus on their next steps is so valuable for our pupils and fits into the wider After Oakham programme which is running in their tutorials. We are also keen that we are genuinely giving advice for life which goes beyond just getting into university, which is why our work with James and Transform Society is so important.’