Timetabled Career Lessons
Laurelhill Community College works tirelessly to match the curriculum with the aspirational careers of individual pupils. Careers Education is a statutory cross curricular theme of the Northern Ireland Curriculum. All teachers and subject departments contribute to careers education through their individual programmes of study. In addition a variety of strategies to ease pupils' transition to adult working life, were adopted by the Careers Education Information Advice and Guidance Department, and were undertaken in conjunction with personnel from the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL), Lisburn as well as with representatives of local industry and businesses.
As part of the Learning for Life and Work Programme pupils in years 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 all receive timetabled Careers Education lessons as modular courses within Education for Employability Modules. This timetabled provision is intended to raise pupils' awareness and understanding of their individual abilities, aptitudes and skills in relation to post-sixteen education, training and employment opportunities both locally and globally and so ease their transition to adult working life.
A careers programme has also been developed to suit the needs of students in years 13 and 14 (sixth form). Lessons include students assessing their strengths and weaknesses, an introduction to both local and global occupational structures and employment opportunities. Students were also encouraged to investigate opportunities in third level education and were assisted with their applications including UCAS.
Individual Career Guidance
The Careers Education and Guidance programme deploys a number of strategies to individualise the knowledge, understanding and skills required by pupils as part of their preparation for entering the labour market and adult working life. Firstly, classes in year 12 were allocated a careers guidance teacher. The class careers teacher assists pupils to formulate and develop their knowledge and understanding of post-sixteen training, education and employment opportunities. All pupils were encouraged, as part of their personal career planning, to identify their own skills and abilities and to undertake individual research into several job specifications within career paths of their own choice. Individual pupils were assisted in this task through personal interviews with their careers guidance teachers and careers advisers from DEL. Sixth form classes, Years 13 and 14, also have a Careers Guidance Teacher assigned to them to support individual Higher Education and career choices.
Education - Industry Links
A third strand in the Careers Education Information Advice and Guidance Department's arrangements for preparing pupils for the transition to adult working life involves external links with organisations and representatives from local industry, business and public services. Visiting speakers representing local employers also contribute to Careers Education lessons. During the Spring term mock interviews are arranged for pupils in year 13 (sixth form). The interviews are conducted by representatives from local industry and business. An annual Careers Convention is held for all pupils in years 12 and 14 at the Lisburn Leisureplex. The Convention is well attended and is supported by representatives from local training, industry and business providers. The College is represented by its Head of CEIAG at the monthly meeting of the Lisburn Business Education Partnership Group (LBEP), an organisation which seeks to bring local schools and industry into closer partnership with one another.
Experience of Work
All pupils, during Key Stage 4, are given the opportunity to spend one week in a place of employment, a real life vocational experience which is regarded as an integral part of the careers education programme. Parents are encouraged to support the programme by assisting pupils to negotiate their work placements.
During work experience, pupils are given a log booklet in which to record their observations of the workplace. Pupils are encouraged to reflect on their experiences, while employer reports, returned to the College, form part of the evaluation of the work experience. A thorough visitation programme is co-ordinated by the Careers Guidance team who seek to meet each pupil on at least one occasion during the work placement. Careers Guidance teachers subsequently review the pupils' work experience as part of a final interview in year 12 when pupils were encouraged to reflect on the outcomes as part of the programme's evaluation.
Sixth Formers are given the opportunity to visit open days at local universities and provided with structured advice in preparing applications to universities and Colleges of Further and Higher Education.