Former pupils pass on pointers at speedy school careers fair

Eastbury Community School students hear insights from the working world.

Eastbury Community School students hear insights from the working world. - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of teenagers heard tales from the working world at a special careers fair.

Around 600 pupils from Eastbury Community School met with representatives from organisations including the NHS, Royal Navy and tax collectors HMRC at a ‘speed networking’ event on Friday afternoon.

Speakers from 25 employers, including some former students, spent six minutes with year 9 and 10 students talking about their organisation and different roles.

When time was up, the children swapped seats and gained insights from another branch of the big, wide world.

“In an increasingly competitive jobs market it is crucial we give our students the skills and training necessary to stand out,” said Stuart Gander, head of careers at the Hulse Avenue, Barking secondary school.

“While it might seem a little early to ask young teenagers to think so far ahead about their future, it really can open avenues that pupils have previously never considered, and that is why it is important.”

Year 9 pupil Jessica Shkalla said: “I found it really interesting and got a lot from it.

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“After speaking to Goldsmith’s University, I want to pursue a career in journalism.”

Fellow year 9 Mofiz Ali said: “The event taught me to chase my dream and not wait for my career to come to me in the future.”

Barking and Dagenham Council says the borough ranks among the top 20 local authorities in the UK for Progress 8 performance figures, which measures how well pupils progress in secondary school.

“It is fantastic that students are given the opportunity to have an insight into the working world,” said Cllr Evelyn Carpenter.

The cabinet member for educational attainment and school improvement said: “Barking and Dagenham pupils have proved time and time again that they are as good as young people from anywhere and events such as this will only help inspire them to choose a career and not a job.”

Eastbury Community School was the top performing school in this year’s GCSE exam results, with 99 per cent of pupils achieving grades A* to E or equivalent.