Microsoft, John Lewis, BP, ITN, Warner Bros, Thomson, Whitbread and Deloitte are just a few of the organisations that will be arriving at Sir John Lawes School on Thursday 17th March for a Careers Day like no other.

The Sir John Lawes School (SJL) annual Careers Day event which takes place next Thursday has become such a success that over 65 organisations representing some of the country’s biggest companies and most sought after graduate employers will now be attending.

The daylong event takes the format of employer talks in the morning followed by a huge careers exhibition in the afternoon which fills the very large sports hall at SJL.

Year 12 students from the other Secondary Schools in Harpenden (St Georges’ and Roundwood Park Schools) will also be sending students to attend and they will also be joined by students from the Samuel Ryder Academy and Loreto in St Albans and Bushey Academy in Bushey, meaning that nearly 600 students will be attending this event.

The Careers Day, which has been developed in connection with the Sir John Lawes Enrichment Programme, provides Year 12 students with a greater knowledge of the opportunities that are available to them at all entry levels, from school leaver programmes and apprenticeships to graduate recruitment schemes, across a broad selection of industries.

The objective of the day is to educate students about the post A Level employment options that are available, ranging from School Leaver and Higher Level Apprenticeship programmes to Graduate entry schemes.

The increase in University fees has seen a change in emphasis with more companies, every year, introducing alternatives to their traditional Graduate Level recruitment streams, which run parallel to these but demand a high calibre A Level entry requirement. Some of SJLs students have been successfully recruited to these programmes and now act as advocates for their employers to advertise this alternative to Post Graduate entry.  For example SJL student Sophie Roche joined KPMG directly from her A Levels, is salaried and KPMG paid for her to undertake their sponsored University degree in Accountancy.

The Careers Day is divided into two sections. The morning provides a carousel of talks, delivered by industry professionals, from which students select to attend 6 talks.  Each talk provides a broad overview of careers in that particular sector. The talks are structured so that there are various themes running throughout the morning e.g. medicine, engineering, media, finance etc.

In the afternoon there is a Careers Fair where students approach company stands to elicit more personalised information about specific careers opportunities offered by that employer. This year we have the largest Careers Fair to date with many of The Times Top 10 and Top 100 Graduate Employers in attendance. 

The Careers Day is an invaluable event and the student feedback from last year was outstanding, demonstrating a significant improvement in the students’ confidence in their career direction. Students have also benefitted from securing work experience and placements for their University courses.

Mrs Honour-Jones, Sixth Form Manager, Sir John Lawes School, said:

“We were delighted to provide our largest Careers Fair to date with so many high calibre companies attending and sharing their opportunities with our students, and those from 6 other secondary schools in Harpenden and St Albans.  Our students have gained far more knowledge on the choices available to them post A Level both in terms of the actual roles they would like to peruse and also regarding the various entry level options into those companies.  Students have come away armed with contacts to support them in the future and a few even managed to secure themselves some work experience.”

Suzy Style, Head of UK Graduate Recruitment at BP, said:

“Thank you for enabling BP to come to the Sir John Lawes Careers Day. It was an excellent event and it was great to get the opportunity to see so many fantastic students. I was impressed by the questions the students asked, their interest and enthusiasm. It provided BP with an excellent opportunity to engage students and highlight the multiple career opportunities available at BP. The students were a credit to their schools. Thank you also to all the students who helped us on the day. They did Sir John Lawes proud. Well done on such a fantastic event.”

Jason Goodhind, Audit Director at BDO, said:

“A great event that was well organised by Sir John Lawes again. Students had the opportunity to interact with some excellent companies who offer school leaver apprentice and graduate programmes like the award winning ones offered by BDO. Students who attended were really engaged and had clearly thought about the options open to them post A level.”

Gemma Palmer, Apprenticeship Manager at Gist, said:

“Our impression of the fair was exceptional as well as the students.  Their approach and manner was very professional and we can’t wait to come back next year.”

Matt Dodd, Recruitment & Talent Advisor at Whitbread, said:

“The event was really well organised and the calibre of the other organisations attending and the students was fantastic and we at Whitbread can’t wait to come back next year.  Talking to the students gave us good indicators of the potential talent that is coming though.”

Quotes from Sir John Lawes Sixth Form students:

Alys Lloyd:

”Careers day was really beneficial and insightful due to the vast numbers of companies that attended and it helped us gain a wider understanding of potential future careers.”

Dan Sambrook:

“It opened my eyes to new career pathways after school and made me consider opportunities that I was unaware of previously.”