We are constantly being told that students today will have to change careers many times during their lifetime and in many cases will actually be inventing their own jobs. Being ‘good at school’ and even gaining a good undergraduate degree are no longer guarantees of a good career and lifestyle. It is with this in mind that Brentwood is putting more emphasis on preparing students for life beyond the classroom. Part of this emphasis comes in the form of a revised career education program.
Traditionally, we have relied heavily on our yearly Careers Day where alumni return to tell their stories and offer advice from their perspective on the worlds of education and work. Building on this foundation this year, the Careers Day speakers included parents and local community members in addition to alumni. Broadening out the range of career areas covered, by increasing the range of speakers, allows our students to take a look at the pathways towards such diverse careers as media production, software development, graphic and interior design and music as well as the more mainstream professions such as medicine, law and finance. Within these sectors there are various areas represented. In the health field, for example, we had a nutritionist, a nurse, a veterinarian, an intensive care physician and a general practitioner.
Students signed up for two sessions in areas of interest but they were also treated to a synopsis from each speaker at the opening assembly. Keynote closing speaker, Gary Briggs, Chief Marketing Officer at Facebook, told students not just about his career in marketing but also gave advice on how to navigate the world of career building and the importance of being ready when opportunity presents itself. Following the talk, all of the presenters were available in a networking format where students were able to ask more questions and discuss ideas one on one.
In our initial outreach email to alumni and parents, we also gave the option of being an on-line source of advice and mentorship. There have been many who have volunteered in this capacity who were unable to make the Career’s Day as a result of other commitments or simply travel logistics. I anticipate that this network of mentors will become the most important part of our careers program as students email their questions, watch presentations online, and seek out job shadowing and internship experiences. I encourage any alumni and parents who wish to take up this opportunity and be accessible to give student advice via the Careers website, to contact me via email. Meanwhile, please take a look at the site http://careersday.brentwood.bc.ca for a flavor of the event.