Futures Week 2021
Futures Week is an annual event held by the City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College, designed to help and encourage students to think about their future and provide students with opportunities and advice around the different progression routes. This year the event was held from Monday 1st February to Friday 5th February. The pandemic may have brought some challenges on how the event was held but with the help of some clever technology and ingenuity from Sixth Form College staff, the event has been a triumph.
Previously this event was called Employability and Apprenticeship Week focusing primarily on careers that students can go on to do after studying as an alternative to university. This year the Sixth Form College have taken a more holistic approach to include all progression routes. Futures Week provided curriculum areas with the ability to link their subjects to careers and give students the knowledge on where their subjects could take them to once they have finished college.
In a usual year, Futures Week would be brimming with face-to-face activities. The pandemic has meant that this has needed to be adapted. Luckily, the shift to online learning has facilitated Futures Week with ease, accommodating all planned activities virtually. To make online content engaging to students, some adjustments were necessary.
Humanities, Languages & Literature pathway Futures Lead, Emma said “Futures week has always been face-to-face, the switch to 100% online learning has meant that all Futures Week activities have had to be done via Google Meet or GoTo Webinar. This has meant adapting activities to make students engage online and learning new programmes to facilitate talks to large numbers of students. Our guest speakers have been brilliant with adapting to this change, as well as the teachers and progress coaches managing the sessions.”
To launch Futures Week, motivational speaker, David Hyner delivered a talk to nine tutorial groups about setting goals and reaching aspirations, he kindly took part in a Q&A at the end of his talk where he was met with an array of interesting questions.
David Hyner tweeted “LOVED working for Stoke 6th form college this morning. Great staff and students who asked some AWESOME questions.”
Other motivational speakers presented to build on student’s resilience during this challenging time. Various activities were undertaken throughout the week, for example, guest speakers from employers, apprenticeship providers, universities, alumni sharing their journey and experiences since leaving and teachers sharing their own career history. Guest speakers are also invited into every tutorial throughout the week. This year, tutorial guest speakers were asked to share their career history to provide an insight into the transition from education to employment.
The aim is that by the end of Futures Week students will have been exposed to opportunities after college that they would not normally have taken advantage of.
First year student, Maggie Meredith said “Futures Week gave me an insight into the different careers that would be appropriate to suit my personality and the aspects that I would like within a job. Completing the Morrisby test will assist me when it comes to choosing my next steps, especially the ‘About Me’ section that included certain categories, for example, aspirations, aptitudes, personality, priorities and study interests, these were used to find the most suited jobs to me. This helped me to filter my choices into certain careers that matched my wishes”
Second year student, Adam Jones said “Futures Week gave me tasks that helped me explore possible employment opportunities and ways into higher education.”
Humanities, Languages & Literature pathway Futures Lead, Emma also commented “Futures Week bridges the gap in knowledge students may not have about different progression options, it makes information accessible and easily understandable to them and encourages and inspires them to think outside the box.”
Student engagement was extremely high all week and some very valuable contributions were made during question and answer sessions. This year’s event was a huge success due to student engagement and a cross-college effort with teachers, progress coaches, careers, and marketing coming together to make it an engaging, insightful week for students.