Careers Talk - Your Future, Your Plan
As part of the graduate scheme at my company, we sign-up for STEM Ambassadorship and are encouraged and supported to get involved in the various STEM opportunities filtered down to the graduate community.
When the opportunity arose to be a part of the George Watson College careers fair I was excited by the chance to share my career experience. Not because I had some how cracked the ‘Holy Grail’ of career paths but because I have experienced first hand the challenges of graduating and job hunting in the climate of recession and job cuts. One of the main reasons I now sit on the graduate scheme of a good company (despite being dropped by my sponsorship company of 5 years and losing my first career job position after 6 month due to economy job cuts) is due to following the career advice and encouragement of my Dad from an early age.
It was on this advice that I structured the careers talk explaining the importance of having a plan, even if that changes over time, in order to have something to aim for and measure against. The talk looked at:
Thinking about the Future
What I love doing.
What Subjects are easy for me?
What are my Hobbies?
Taking the right Subjects
Get Good Grades
Meet the Requirements
On the Job Training
Year in Industry
Extra Curricular Activities
Following on from this my fellow graduate Sophie and I talked through our own individual careers paths. Taking very different routes, we have both ended up in the same job as Graduate Project Managers and together we were able to present contrasting career paths. However, each of us was able to point to the essential elements of our path that included thinking about the future, taking the right subjects, obtaining appropriate education, work experience, and the building up of transferable skills.
It was interesting to note that as we engaged the students their higher-grade subject choices were based only on a general career choice of “Something science-y” or “Something to do with Biology”. Additionally out of the 50 students, only one currently had a job and none of them had had any specific work experience. We therefore felt that what we had to say was very relevant as the students begin to plan their careers.
We had additionally prepared a short project management exercise to introduce the students to the fundamental practises of managing Cost, Quality, and Time on projects. This was done to introduce the relatively new career of project management applicable across STEM subjects. The students were challenged in groups to forecast the time required, the material to be consumed, and the tolerance achievable in a paper folding exercise. They then attempted to complete the exercise in accordance with their forecast with varying success and so learning practically the challenges of managing projects.
We really enjoyed the opportunity of sharing with the students at George Watson College and hope that the students will remember our take away idea, “Your Future, Your Plan”. We ran the talk for four sessions during the day with a great lunch in the middle provided by the college that gave a good opportunity to chat and network with teachers and other STEM ambassadors.