Me: ‘Are you the pilot?’
Handsome man with beard: ‘No.’
Me: Face momentarily clouds with disappointment.
Handsome man with beard: ‘I’m the Formula 1 mechanic.’
Me: Face breaks into beaming smile.
It’s funny that no matter how old we are, how wise we might be to the reality of the world of work and whether the job requires a perfectly tailored pilot’s uniform or an oil-smeared overall, certain professions have a carapace of glamour.
Such were the credentials of the volunteers who generously gave their time to support Edge’s Careers Footsteps event last week at Northlands Primary School in Rugby. When Edge launched the initiative last year, we wanted to do something tangible to support schools and help them share the best careers information, advice and guidance with their pupils.
Since then, together with our partners at Inspiring the Future, we have reached thousands of children and young people as professionals have shared their experience and insight of their own education pathways and careers.
The staff and children at Northlands certainly got into the spirit of things, dressing up as their chosen professional for the day. There were lots of doctors, police officers, a few footballers, reassuringly for an industry with a significant skills gap there were a number of construction workers and surveyors, an artist and even a very young aspiring accountant.
It was enormous fun, but most importantly the event introduced the children to professions and industries they would not have thought about, raised their curiosity and their aspirations. For the most disadvantaged youngsters this is so important; your chances of becoming a doctor are increased exponentially if you know a doctor as a family friend, a family member or if a parent is a doctor.
Gary Taylor – the charming mechanical engineer referred to at the beginning – loved Formula 1 from a very early age. Gary left school to do an apprenticeship at a local garage and that was his pathway to a career which has taken him all over the world in one of the most exciting and glamourous of sports. Hopefully some of the youngsters at Northlands will at least be open to the possibility that they could – if they wanted – do just that.