Last night I attended a Chamber of Commerce networking event. It’s the first time I’ve been to one and it was quite an eye opener. There must have been 25 people from different organisations in attendance and all that was expected was that you spoke to the others to find out if there was anything to be gained from further contact. Until recently this wasn’t the sort of thing that educational leaders were expected to do. Now it is. It wasn’t hard work!
I had conversations with someone who was a well being consultant, a gentleman who worked for a company which organised apprenticeship programmes, a couple of lawyers, a chap who organises alternative learning experiences for primary school children and someone who marketed a chain of hotels. There was one man who was a private investigator but I didn’t get the chance to speak to him. They were all very decent people, all working hard in their different ways, all seemingly talented in their different ways. You might say they were all shining brightly in their chosen fields.
Whenever I meet people from outside the world of education I find it useful. People running their own businesses or working for companies unrelated to education often have a different take on the world. We obsess about examination results – and who can blame us given the pressures we are under –but employers don’t see them as being all important. Last night I again heard people say they wanted to see young people emerging from school with a range of qualities : resilience, team working, numeracy, communication, imagination, self-sufficiency. These are the words that are used. They always are.
Across the Trent Academies Group we are keen to ensure the skills that make young people highly employable are developed as fully as possible. Interaction with employers, work based projects, visits to places of work...... All these matter. On February 22nd we are holding a staff training day which will revolve around how we, as a trust, can do more to help our pupils to become even more employable whilst still keeping focussed on the need to maximise examination results. All staff in the trust will come together for the first time. It should be interesting. It is important.
If anyone wants the a name of the private investigator or the well being consultant please let me know as I have their business cards!