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Getting a Theale for the world of work

Even as an adult, the great thing about attending a Career Footsteps event is hearing the stories of the volunteers. The people sharing their professional journeys at this week’s event at Theale Green School in Berkshire, had probably touched on most of the globe between them and there was also an animal theme.

Emma Terleske who is Director of Conscientious Communications led around 70 year seven students is a series of exercises in communication techniques; how we engage with people, the importance of listening and how we use body language. Emma has particular insight as her colleague is visually impaired and she described how she helps her in the office. Clearly it’s an issue close to her heart as she shared a picture of Lance, a Labrador and former guide dog who has found a home with Emma since his retirement. Big ‘aahhs’ all round – including from me!

Chris Snape found his career path at a career event; too impatient to join one of the long queues, Chris’s father opted for the only stand without a wait, the Merchant Navy. It turned out to be a serendipitous decision. Chris worked at sea for 20 years, achieving the rank of Captain aged just 34. Among the things I learned from Chris’s talk were;

•Old ships are recycled to make reinforcement bars

LAGER is a Norwegian word meaning storage tank

•Everybody loves a photograph of a seal pup!

The year group asked Chris some great questions. What would he have done if he hadn’t joined the Navy? Computer programming because I really enjoy that and it’s important to do something you love. The thing you’re most proud of? Coming from a not very wealthy background in Blackpool and not doing great at school and then exceeding expectations and doing better than anyone expected.

Alison Flower also worked for Shell and more recently studied for an NVQ qualification in coaching and mentoring. She shared business consultant and Good to Great author, Jim Collins concept of the hedgehog; find something you’re passionate about and good at, and that’s what will be most profitable. In both senses of the word.

It was very inspiring to hear the students sharing what they love – acrobatics, football, computing science, art and design – and the jobs they want in the future – geographer, YouTuber, policeman, archaeologist, carpenter.

What the event did achieve was to open up possibilities for the students, get them thinking about what the world of work might be like and where their place might be in it. 

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